Dark Poetry
Of Your Loved Ones
 By Christopher Hivner


They look very happy around the dinner table,
a traditional family
down to little Mary’s pigtails.
He is so moved, the man in the shadows,
that he must commemorate
this evening.
He stretches dad’s skin
to lay flat
on the porch,
dips his finger into the blood pool
and paints.
With a tear in his eye
for his own missing family,
he re-creates the dining room scene,
the smiling mother and children
waiting patiently for father to come home
so the evening meal can commence.
The man in the shadows adds
a flourish to Mary’s cheeks
before completing the tableau
with a self-portrait of his
gutting and skinning dad
on the lawn
while the family was comfy inside.
Finished, he signed his name,
placing the skin canvas
on the doorstep.
The killer and artist
walked away
whistling a snappy song.
Poetry by Christopher Hivner and Ralph Monday
The Crossing
  By Ralph Monday


Like the autumn apples dropping
scarecrow seed amid the grey
winds there is a crossing
in the air, a trussed rupture still
spilling out that even the soon to be
frozen waters cannot contain.

All earth texts speak with a somnolent
tongue, the grass not yet hibernating razors.

I would put my hooks in you to ease the malady.
At every crossing two choices: elapsed or elongated.
A witch straddles the tree and laughs,
knows that the roads are imaginary ogres.

I would know your unvoiced terrors; like a sin eater
consume their burrowing voices, muted earth throbbings,
the secreted mind of beetles, their clickings and clackings,
mad carapaces, writhing interstices, the mud the mud.

I would drink your emotions and spit them back to you
as chords on a glass harmonica.

In the crossing there is neither forward nor back,
no red sea or underworld Acheron. These worlds
are seen now through opaque glass. The still point
at the center shattered. No priestly annunciation,
no penance performed under musty pews,
no spit out sin

Can mute the crossing.
The Bones of May
  By Ralph Monday


Berlin, May 1945, what was once a
woman.
The ghost doesn’t know she is a ghost,
no legs, torso, arms or hands, but a
fashion sense
still remains for the latest
lipstick,  store shop dresses, high heels;
phantom taste buds
long for fresh tomatoes, cool drinks and
Moroccan coffee.

The rubble filled streets that she walks
without legs—this is a desert made by
cold machines releasing yards and yards
of bones.

Once a woman, a spirit now nothing to say.
Nothing to ponder.
Walk this broken concrete made coffin-stones
shaded by varying light, her Führer
a burned mausoleum stretched somewhere
in blue shade.

What is she now—unwarmed staleness, a
voiceless spell scratched on rough stone,
some broken doll from memory. For the
living a thought-form being whose atoms
still maintain form, energy, blown about
in mad waves for priests to make senseless
incantations with crosses and cauldrons.

Condensed to primal essence, this she of
lost atoms, voice particles, song particles,
the moments of love and despair, young
kisses at night
no internet archive can reclaim this vanished pixel.

Not to go backward,
not to watch the soldiers,
the women, the children
reeled in sepia reverse by a
documentary film catching the
edge of the chapel door.

Not to go backward

the bones of May
passing all the forgetful
faces.

She sees herself in the film
walking, walking, foiled with
redness, thinking, thinking—that
girl is not me. That girl is dead, and
she will in her scattered atoms
forget everything by the end of this
shattered street.

Forget history
forget self
forget home
that hurts when turned
to a face lost in a
mangled alphabet

of noise, propaganda
of living and turned to
dig up joy from the soil
from the edge of dirty waters,

found only that the bones would
do, those bones of May
that dissolution of imagery
moving from one door
to another.
Power
 By Christopher Hivner


Held in the palm
of my hand,
you are the petal
of a rose,
delicate, soft, aromatic;
crushed under
my boot heel
you are the same,
but screaming.
I have you trapped
within my power
until your plight
becomes known
and your followers rise.
I have silenced you
but given voice
to the others.
Let them surround me
and I will continue
to grind them
to dust,
and if their voices
still sing
now you
have the power.
Decaf
 By Christopher Hivner


Daily rituals
are like old friends.
Take Danny for instance:
I’ve removed
one body part a day
for three weeks
and it still brings me
more pleasure
than when we used to meet
for coffee
once a week
so he could bitch about his mother.
When you do something every day
it becomes part of you,
something you can’t live without.
Speaking of that,
today is heart removal day
for Danny.
Times like these
are made for sharp blades
and drop cloths.
About Ralph Monday

Ralph Monday is Associate
Professor of English at Roane
State Community College in
Harriman, TN., and has published
hundreds of poems in over 100
journals. A chapbook, All American
Girl and Other Poems, was
published in July 2014. A book
Empty Houses and American
Renditions was published May
2015 by Aldrich Press. A Kindle
chapbook Narcissus the Sorcerer
was published June 2015 by Odin
Hill Press. Website: Ralph Monday
To read other short stories,
click one of the titles below.
Sunday Shades
  By Ralph Monday


Any day will do. One no more holy
than another. All are complete rings
that sustain perished shades where
memory nourishes immortality.
The old poets knew this. Dreaming
not of heaven's hills their songs
walked on water in the boundary
between the living and the dead,
underground realm united only by
the minds of the quick, narratives
on headstones, living lyrics beguiling
the riderless ass. As memory expires
the shade ceases even to be a shadow.
Walk it Off
By Christopher Hivner


Walking in the acid rain
skin melts from my bones.
A smile was not my umbrella
as my lips have disintegrated.
My muscles are burning,
skeleton splintering.
Go for a walk they said,
it’s good for you they said . . .
About Christopher Hivner
Encounters
By Ralph Monday

At night, always when auto lights
no longer shimmer among the trees,
When even mice are stilled from rustlings,
They come like winter settling over
rotten logs.
No bedroom curtain disturbance,
no booming communication through
symphonic tongues, kaleidoscope codes.
Nothing that movie theatrical.
Instead, they slide and probe,
Hook and cut, splice DNA, sniff
at moist, red meat.
Leave unknown alien nodules beneath
the skin that will chatter across
Light years,
a beacon for the return.
For poems by
Christopher Goff, Sara
McNallen and Kendra
Levac,
click here

For poems by Brandon
Jackson and
Tony-Paul De Vissage,
click here

For poems by
Christopher Hivner and
Ralph Monday,
click
here