Dark Poetry
Poetry by Denny E. Marshall, Alison Jones and
Jonel Abellanosa
Eight Halloween Haiku
        By Denny E. Marshall

aliens arrive
for the Halloween party
land on wrong planet

halloween attack
humans think the event is
just part of the show

halloween robot
cannot decide on costume
program is too large

haunted Halloween house
the new owners are hungry
alien werewolves
To read other short stories,
click one of the titles below.
About Denny E. Marshall

Denny E. Marshall has had art,
poetry, and fiction
Recent credit is
poetry and
artwork in
Counterclock #28.
See more
About Alison Jones
Instrumentals (Part 4): Hall of Horrors
                                        By Jonel Abellanosa

Welcome to the poem’s hall of horrors,
Easily mistakable as the hall
Of symbols, for there are neither vampires

Nor werewolves. No spirits of the dead or
Disembodied spirits from another
Dimension. Blood spatter is forbidden.

There are no poltergeist activities,
No levitations. The howl you hear is
Your anticipating mind and its reds.

Knives, blades, axes and Garrote wires have
Been given no display glass cabinets
In a place where silence is de rigueur.

Nor is this a guided tour. All you need
To know is that this poem, here, should be
Internalized as a human body

And you’re in its throat. You’re no longer in
Its center, no longer in the outward
Flow of concentricity. There may be

An all-powerful push that has brought you
Here, you who are a student, I presume,
Of history, whose horrors guarantee

Repeatability, whose sine qua
Non is the cliché of human nature.
You’re not required to name anyone who

Had committed widespread atrocities
But hadn’t written literary texts.
You’re not asked to name a mass murderer

Who hadn’t subjected the most nagging
Questions of existence to the rigors
Of clarifications. They’re asking, too.

Monsters, too, examine life, and live
Out their bloody interpretations to
The fullest. In their spare time they write books.

They expand the cliché in untold ways,
Wearing a two-piece suit while ordering
Hiroshima’s incineration. They

Lift the teacup gently and in measured  
Manners order the gassing of their own
People between sips. It’s banality.

You are thus treated with what you think is
The daily rustle that doesn’t deserve
Notice. You’re shown the quotidian, the quick

Passing, the goblet of white wine that seems
Not laced with poison. The ordinary
Stills like a midsummer lake in a moon-

Haunted night, its surface placid, but the
Transient whiff of decomposition pulls
Reverie into its depths. Fear paddles

For the shore, for intuition is sure.
The ordinary is the bus full of
Schoolchildren on a weekend camping trip.

It isn’t Jason Voorhees or Freddy
Krueger waiting. It isn’t the teacher,
Or one of them bringing Chucky the doll

Along. It’s the cliff that pulls like a throat,
As if the abyss below were stomach
And it’s insatiable, for this isn’t

The first time. They are slowly losing the
Shock factor: school mass shootings, lone wolves and
Suicide bombers, psychopath presidents.

Take a long look, then, at the flowers of
Baudelaire, and see if estrangement and
Anonymity aren’t the city’s

Twin gardens of ubiquity. Beggars
And the blind, the prostitute and gambler –
They’re not recognizable, and they don’t

Recognize. In the streets of their abject
Alienation they see the blooming, but
Without recourse, identified to be

Evil. Hermes Trismegistus is the
Other name of Satan, and boredom
Is a tiger orchid. Rape and poison

Have made destinies their banal canvas.
Look at the hanging fruit, and see if it
Isn’t the day you decide it is too

Much for the househelp to go on
Without your intervention. Look at the
The violet rose, the falcon, and the

Siesta one is allowed to take. See if
A shoe isn’t a lapse of judgment, if
The rosary isn’t the desire to

Make others hungry. Starvation can be,
For others, masturbatory. The sight
Of beggars may be aphrodisiac to

A leader who prolongs the cycle. The
Mind is the sought-after victim of the
Iron maiden, and the lady is your

Mother, your sister, or your aunt, and she
Shows you a pendant and a pillow, the
Sin as your son. She doesn’t show you her

Incapability, not behaving
As though she walks among violets and
Bees. The story she tells is one of grays

And betrayal. If you still doubt her truths,
There’s the complicity of her silence,
There’s the verity of what she doesn’t

Acknowledge. If you still need evidence
The quotidian is more horrifying,
The daily presents itself as the sum

Of all sorrows, and you see a fruit, an
Apple maybe, or a jackfruit hanging
From the crown both “green” and full of “lifeforce.”

You know, from then, that living is the gist,
It is the sap for which no tree dares to
Take back its giving. It’s both the terror

And its palliative, recognition’s shock
And its benevolence. You have the choice
To remain its apprentice or outgrow

Its ruminant glow. But you always know
Shock as the auto-da-fe, the kettle,
The shoelace, the shipwreck you thought wasn’t

Possible. The extreme punishment for
Dissenters is the dandelion in
A vase. And you ask yourself, you subject

Yourself to your own witch hunt, no longer
Seeing a fish as the Christ-sign, something
That should be relinquished to the ocean.

You move to the next hanging picture, and
Hear its challenge to the human notion.
You may wonder if eyes aren’t purposed

For gouging. The dispensable ear is
The painter’s. What should horrify is that
His brother, Theo, wasn’t horrified.

The bystander isn’t horrified. The
Neighbor isn’t horrified. The watchers
Aren’t horrified. They take pictures and

Fill social media with banalities.
It’s up to you if doubt is the tree’s bark
Shaded with blues. It’s up to you if the

Moon is an omen or love’s wantonness.
If this poem is like the body, and
You’re in its throat, it’s up to you if you’re

The lump, or if you’re a pill. But it’s all
Show, the centipedes under your skin gone
With beauty at the bottom of the page
About Jonel Abellanosa
Watch What You Eat
                By Alison Jones

She never believed her mother, and alveoli flaring,
inhaled the seed, lodged it in the casket of her chest

until one day it rooted, and she finally emerged,
no longer barren, germinating, the seed

snaking nutrients from the coils of her veins;
it sought light, reaching for the anglepoise

that perched on her desk beneath the window,
drinking her from the inside, pushing upwards

to break through. One day when she woke,
her lips had sprouted leaves in bud,

her hair a crown of twigs, arms branching upwards,
star seeking. It did not seem strange to consider

heartwood darkening her spine, outer layers hardening
to textured gowns, at each season another layer

bedding in, armouring her against the world,
a xylem danced beneath the widening sky;

at the moon’s nodes, her mother fetched her water,
staked her strong, decked her arms with ribbons.

halloween murder
police find little help in
suspect description

this year since the war
halloween festivities
are held underground

handing out candy
on a cold Halloween night
zombies not excepted

halloween party
later alone pull at mask
she’s not wearing one
Moth Time
By Alison Jones

Paint on paint, plaster over stone,
centuries of living, so many beings grown,
beeswax and camphor, lavender by the bed,
the little old lady with the axe in her head,
a bear on the landing, dogs in the hall,
rotting sheets twisting, the young and how they fall,
the art of the daily, crumpled jeans and shoes,
imaginary goings on, how to win or lose.
Doorways mean nothing, windows gun their lines,
the steps turn anticlockwise and bodies flow from the mines
cobwebs and cold cream, someone touches your hand
dancing through the gaps that you will never understand.
For poems by Denny E. Jonel
click here

For poems by John Grey, James
Keane and James Kowalcyzk,
click here

For poems by Cindy O'Quinn
and Sandro Fossemo,
click here