Archive for October, 2022

Monday, 31 October 2022

Halloween by Arthur Peterson

Out I went into the meadow,
Where the moon was shining brightly,
And the oak-tree’s lengthening shadows
On the sloping sward did lean;
For I longed to see the goblins,
And the dainty-footed fairies,
And the gnomes, who dwell in caverns,
But come forth on Halloween.

“All the spirits, good and evil,
Fay and pixie, witch and wizard,
On this night will sure be stirring,”
Thought I, as I walked along;
“And if Puck, the merry wanderer,
Or her majesty, Titania,
Or that Mab who teases housewives
If their housewifery be wrong,

“Should but condescend to meet me”–
But my thoughts took sudden parting,
For I saw, a few feet from me,
Standing in the moonlight there,
A quaint, roguish little figure,
And I knew ‘t was Puck, the trickster,
By the twinkle of his bright eyes
Underneath his shaggy hair.

Yet I felt no fear of Robin,
Salutation brief he uttered,
Laughed, and touched me on the shoulder,
And we lightly walked away;
And I found that I was smaller,
For the grasses brushed my elbows,
And the asters seemed like oak-trees,
With their trunks so tall and gray.

Swiftly as the wind we travelled,
Till we came unto a garden,
Bright within a gloomy forest,
Like a gem within the mine;
And I saw, as we grew nearer,
That the flowers so blue and golden
Were but little men and women,
Who amongst the green did shine.

But ‘t was marvellous the resemblance
Their bright figures bore to blossoms,
As they smiled, and danced, and courtesied,
Clad in yellow, pink and blue;
That fair dame, my eyes were certain,
Who among them moved so proudly,
Was my moss-rose, while her ear-rings
Sparkled like the morning dew.

Here, too, danced my pinks and pansies,
Smiling, gayly, as they used to
When, like beaux bedecked and merry,
They disported in the sun;
There, with meek eyes, walked a lily,
While the violets and snow-drops
Tripped it with the lordly tulips:
Truant blossoms, every one.

Then spoke Robin to me, wondering:
“These blithe fairies are the spirits
Of the flowers which all the summer
Bloom beneath its tender sky;
When they feel the frosty fingers
Of the autumn closing round them,
They forsake their earthborn dwellings,
Which to earth return and die,

“As befits things which are mortal.
But these spirits, who are deathless,
Care not for the frosty autumn,
Or the winter long and keen;
But, from field, and wood, and garden,
When their summer’s tasks are finished,
Gather here for dance and music,
As of old, on Halloween.”

Long, with Puck, I watched the revels,
Till the gray light of the morning
Dimmed the lustre of Orion,
Starry sentry overhead;
And the fairies, at that warning,
Ceased their riot, and the brightness
Faded from the lonely forest,
And I knew that they had fled.

Ah, if ne’er can be forgotten,
This strange night I learned the secret–
That within each flower a busy
Fairy lives and works unseen.
Seldom is ‘t to mortals granted
To behold the elves and pixies,
To behold the merry spirits,
Who come forth on Halloween.


Date: 1900

By: Arthur Peterson (1851-1932)

Sunday, 30 October 2022

The Phantoms for Which Clothes are Designed by Chase Twichell

Sewing patterns are designed for imaginary
people, based on average measurements
taken in the 1930s by the WPA

and adjusted over the decades by the Industry.

I sew a Misses 14, designed for a woman
5’5” to 5’6”, 36/28/38,

which is to say no one,

so I alter the pattern to fit a phantom of me
instead of a phantom of her.

She doesn’t need any more dresses.


Date: 2017

By: Chase Twichell (1950- )

Saturday, 29 October 2022

The Vampire by Delmira Agustini

In the bosom of the sad evening
I called upon your sorrow… Feeling it was
Feeling your heart as well. You were pale
Even your voice, your waxen eyelids,

Lowered… and remained silent… You seemed
To hear death passing by… I who had opened
Your wound bit on it—did you feel me?—
As into the gold of a honeycomb I bit!

I squeezed even more treacherously, sweetly
Your heart mortally wounded,
By the cruel dagger, rare and exquisite,
Of a nameless illness, until making it bleed in sobs!
And the thousand mouths of my damned thirst
I offered to that open fountain in your suffering.
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

Why was I your vampire of bitterness?
Am I a flower or a breed of an obscure species
That devours sores and gulps tears?


Date: 1910 (original in Spanish); 2003 (translation in English)

By: Delmira Agustini (1886-1914)

Translated by: Alejandro Cáceres (19??- )

Friday, 28 October 2022

October by Frank Dempster Sherman

October is the month that seems
All woven with midsummer dreams;
She brings for us the golden days
That fill the air with smoky haze;
She brings for us the lisping breeze,
And wakes the gossips in the trees,
Who whisper near the vacant nest,
Forsaken by its feathered guest.
Now half the birds forget to sing,
And half of them have taken wing,
Before their pathway shall be lost
Beneath the gossamer of frost.
Zigzag across the yellow sky;
They rustle here and flutter there,
Until the boughs hang chill and bare,
What joy for us—what happiness
Shall cheer the day, the night shall bless?
‘T is Hallowe’en, the very last
Shall keep for us remembrance fast,
When every child shall duck the head
To find the precious pippin red.

From: Sherman, Frank Dempster, Little-Folk Lyrics, 1892, Houghton Mifflin and Company: Boston and New York, p. 25.

Date: 1892

By: Frank Dempster Sherman (1860-1916)

Thursday, 27 October 2022

Invocation: Topography by Julie E. Bloemeke

This yearning scours my bones,
the swift friction of loss, the yellow
light roiling through each cell,
tourniquet to all I run from.  Because
at this prick, a pin through the black
page to insist on a heaven, I am bitter

consolation, hung rainsoaked out to dry.
At the corner there is a match,
claiming sulphur, rooting through
the cellar of betrayal, and then:
feigned projection of assurance,
my own two knees clacking in song.

Oh plot, do I keep you, noun everlasting,
no verb to suggest your heavy head?
I want only the delicate feet of a wren
to stop me: weathervane rusted
into the future, your bold blue eyes

rising over the hills, making this land
that I believe, the rivers begging
for swim, the rocks to sun on, millions
lined like lost letters, the times you longed
for me but could not say.  Look, I am a fish

in this river, I am the glint of a silver fly,
tied by your hand.  Look, we are lying,
now as sand, spread over the rock,

our numbers released, our dials broken,
taking the scar of this day and mending
it with the cool promise you place at my neck.


Date: 2022

By: Julie E. Bloemeke (19??- )

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

How to Paint in the Dark by Rebecca Schumejda

After the hurricane took away our electricity
we open the curtains, sit at the kitchen table
pull out acrylic paint, brushes and canvas.

There are crickets chirping and it is daytime.
I overhear the neighbors to the left of us
discussing the possibility of meat going bad,

pounds and pounds of venison and pork chops.
They will grill it all and invite family over.
Our neighbor, to the right, talks about losing

a bid for a job; this is the third consecutive time;
he just can’t charge any less. He has to pay for
insurance. Now this, the high winds blowing off

shingles, flood waters engulfing cars, seeping
through foundations, collecting and sitting
stagnant, growing foul. Our neighbor behind us

is beating his dog because his wife left him.
My daughter looks out windows; she wants
to see thunder. As soon as I tell her that you can

only hear it, she looks defeated. I wonder why
humans steal each other’s faith. The dog cowers
in the bushes that separate our yards and I know

even if our phone worked, I wouldn’t call the police.


Date: 2012

By: Rebecca Schumejda (19??- )

Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Ahoy in the Neighborhood by Tim Suermondt

A cruise ship is docked
two blocks
from Spiro’s Apothecary,
yet it feels galaxies away.

A man comes home
with a bag of groceries,
a pack of light bulbs—
and some travel brochures

that will quickly find
themselves in the drawer,
plopped among the ever-
growing clutter the years

have lazily ignored.
The man will sit in his
tattered but faithful chair,
readying himself

for another passable night
and try to ignore
the city’s parade of sirens,
including the blasts

from the cruise ship
slowly plowing out to sea,
under a stark, lobsters
on ice-colored moon.


Date: 2013

By: Tim Suermondt (19??- )

Monday, 24 October 2022

Forsake of Naming by James Hannon

Pretend that I charge you
to name all the creatures,
great and small, leaf and limb,
so you can feel in control
of your outer world when
so much inside is unnamable.

Your numberless descendants
will count and classify
kingdoms they think they rule.
Dominion they will call it,
like one of their orders of angels.

Always with them will be
the orders and ranks
columns and rows
greater than and less than.
Until some learn—
that which is named is no longer itself.
Then will begin the unknowing.


Date: 2017

By: James Hannon (19??- )

Sunday, 23 October 2022

Almost Cha-Cha by Brett Elizabeth Jenkins

I tell people that when I was born, my mother
was on drugs, and so she named me Brett.
But what I don’t tell them is that she almost
named me Charlotte and wanted to call me
Cha-Cha. My almost-name seeps with sugar
and sequins, a dancer with a nicotine
patch slapped over a half-sleeve tattoo
of a big-tittied mermaid with a Fu Manchu.
If I were Cha-Cha, I swear to God I’da had

all the boys in my sixth-grade class smoking
Parliaments with me under the bleachers.
Ryan Goldstein woulda never knocked the books
out of my hands, and the girls woulda lined up
at my locker to get a look at my new Chuck Taylors.
My mama woulda wanted to rename me
in high school when I started going God-knows-
where at two in the morning with Jason Wheeler,
knocking back Miller High Lifes and throwing

the cans at speeding trains. Cha-Cha is my id,
the girl in the purple dress at the funeral.
The hot-lipped, fuck-you-very-much fast-talker
selling fake IDs out the back of her pop-up camper.
In my dreams I’m her, a goddess in ruin, a red-
lipstick, denim-jacket pool shark with a taste
for whiskey. Who don’t take no shit. Who lets
the cares of this world slip through her hands
like air, like dust, like something impossible to hold.


Date: 2021

By: Brett Elizabeth Jenkins (1986- )

Saturday, 22 October 2022

The Kiss by Neil Carpathios

By freezing passion at its blossoming
perhaps Rodin knew he challenged
Sophocles who said as lover you want
ice to be ice yet not melt
in your hands. How stone,
implying permanence, might let us believe,
a moment, the seated figures are beyond the leaf
that cannot keep from letting go the branch,
beyond even stupidly purpling grapes
that do not understand the process
by which they darken; darken nevertheless.


Date: 1999

By: Neil Carpathios (1961- )