Tag Archives: horror

Lost Highways and Exit Ramps

I hear Odin drives an old beat up Ford
Primer for paint and two coon hounds chasing smells
From one end of the truck bed to the other
Howling something fierce the whole way down the road
On that unknown highway, chasing dreams, booze and ass
Trucker’s cap tiled to one side, shaded eye
Long Beard
And Mother Mary stands with thumb 
outstretched looking for a ride
Joseph got old, and not with age, baby Jesus come and gone
The excitement a blasphemous memory
We all chase the faith just the same
Even if it ain’t faith we know it by
But some other name

I’ve been down some of those exit ramps, they always
Say, speed up near the bottom, on these darker roads
Construction zone signs are a given, only the danger
Is the drive
Been down them exit ramps on backroads 
In places I don’t know
Chasing the saga of some elder mythology
Some broke down, lint in the wallet, college student dream
Like Poets and bards of yesteryear

But by God, look at them stars, stretching out, teasing fingers
Like man and God, the constellations touch ever so lightly,
Separated by a billion million years
Made in their image, our atoms see their reflection
And in the black void of our being, big bang lets loose
Her sweet song of chaos coming down the turnpike
Promising a chapter two…or is it three?

Let’s hop in the old car, two door handles missing, one
Window doesn’t go down, and see what sights there are
Chasing campfire trails and the thick smoky promise
Old stories, time travel, adventure and a warrior’s game
I know your soul smiles, I see it through your flesh
You remember the old gods well and the rush
That was pagan magic and runes and circles and dances
Wilder days are imprinted on our being

I hear the whispering sound of your life living out
Loud poetry has called, but something more
You’ve awakened what amber promises and beer bottle hope
Was only the first baptism of, what those other things
Teased and promised,
Poetry has revealed.

The lost highways are haunted ways
Of hunger and never being satisfied
Of living best after you’ve died
Not to flesh or paper thin realities, but to concepts
Windows down on that older road, listen to the tree frogs
Hear the wind singing her song to the rhythm of pine trees?
Smell the pond thick with stagnant green algae
The creek is calling, her melody your melody, poetry
Alive. Glory to the gods, a being come alive
Haunted ways are calling
Who will you be?

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Review of The Raven

I recently went to see the new movie, The Raven. I went in with both curiosity and some resistance. Poe is one of my heroes and favorite authors and I was a little worried he wouldn’t be treated fairly as a character of fiction. There is always the idea that Hollywood will be, well, Hollywood, and make things up to suit their endgame. But not this time, not outlandishly so anyway. What I left the theater with was a sense of honest awe, and a shivering case of goosebumps. So, upfront, I easily and readily admit to loving this movie. Let’s go into why.

     The story was one I could easily imagine Poe himself writing. It was, as the last line of the movie said, “A dream within a dream.” That powerful and potent theme was carefully woven throughout the whole tale, and tied a beautiful, howbeit gothic, knot at the end. The Raven was a masterfully told story, one part intrigue, one part mystery, and three parts absolute fun and entertainment. There were layers and themes carefully placed, and never forgotten, wonderful characterizations, a mystery to be solved, and a sense of passion driving the whole thing forward. I felt pulled into something larger than myself watching this, as though I were one of those fortunate people who so long ago first discovered the illicit writings of the dark master when the tales he told were young, fresh, potent, and full of new life.

     Another great force to be reckoned with in the movie was John Cusack. At first I was hesitant to see him play Poe. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of him, but I guess some part of me is protective of my Poe, and so, like a father guarding his baby girl, I wasn’t sure any actor would be good enough. I was very wrong, sorely so, and I openly and easily admit this now. Having seen the movie, I can’t think of anyone else to better portray the man than John Cusack. Some might say that Cusack didn’t play up the insanity of Poe nearly as much as they expected, but I wonder if that need for Poe to be a mad man isn’t more hype than reality. I wonder, if in fact as was portrayed in the movie, that the life and circumstances about the man weren’t some larger part in his own mental strain and taxation than was any other thing. Regardless, I enjoyed Cusack’s portrayal of Poe, and the way he fleshed him out, made him human, down to earth and approachable. I felt as if I had come to know the man I had admired for so long, in a new way entirely.

     I’d recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of Poe, his works, the gothic genre, or who simply enjoys a good bit of play on history. It is entertaining whether you know much, or absolutely nothing of Edgar Allan Poe. This movie is easily a modern classic, and one of my new all-time favorites. Don’t go see it because others love it, but rather, go see it that you may love it yourself!


Into Hades

The old man rowed the boat with a bone weary persistence, but hadn’t said a word. The traveler had ridden in the boat for what felt to be ages already, and grew tired of the ceaseless, repetitive sounds of silence. The traveler felt emboldened by his boredom, and with the fire for companionship, he persisted once more.

“Is it as bad as they say?” the young traveler asked the boatman.

The boatman rowed for answer.

The traveler looked about, his neck tucked in tight to the thick wool cloak he wore about him, the cold threatening to steal the very life from him. He peered as far as the eye could see, but the night like sky of the deep cavern was thick and unyielding. Worse, there was a heavy fog all about them, and the stench of something rotten was growing stronger. He leaned over and gazed at the water. It was no better.

“How deep does the water go?” the traveler asked.

The boatman turned his head, his neck creaking like an old door that hadn’t been opened in many years. His face came into full view of the traveler, an unlikely sight to anyone living for a long and countless many years. The traveler regretted his nervous queries looking into that pale corpse ugly face, lips pulled back exposing full teeth, eyes hollowed out showing dark endless rings about twin orbs of eyes with no hint of pupils end and eye’s beginning.

The traveler looked down into the boat. He bit his lips and willed himself to say no more. The sound of water sloshed about the tiny vessel, the vice like grip of their desperate situation choked in on him. He felt suddenly overcome with claustrophobia, wishing he could leave the boat, wishing he could go back, wishing this evil fate had found another.

And then a new sound came to his ears, an ugly sound, like dry leaves in late October, rustling about on cobblestone just before being smashed under heavy feet. It was the dry sandy sound of the boatman laughing, “Have no wish for answers do you?”

The traveler didn’t want to raise his head, but was more terrified of refusing the lord of the boat. He looked up, and without looking square on, fearful of being sucked into the eternal gaze of the boatman, he looked away just slightly. Then he asked, “How do you mean?”

“All these questions, and yet you won’t even look the one who has your answers in the eye,” the boatman said. He shifted his gaze down toward the travelers hands, “Rub them together anymore and you’ll catch yourself afire.”

The traveler looked at his hands and realized how red they’d become. He pushed them away from each other and forced them to his sides. He licked his lips a few times and felt the sticky dry reality of his fear, and then he spoke, “Is it as bad as they say?”

“Worse,” said the boatman, turning to look into whatever ugly thing lay before them. “They say beyond my border there are lands of fire that never cease, and mountains of ice that never melt. They say there are masters worse than the ancient demons and dogs of unending—unyielding—rage and appetite. And cities with no law but murder, and chaos.”

The traveler licked his lips again.

“But that isn’t what you really wish to know is it?” the boatman asked.

“No,” the traveler said.

“You want to know if it’s possible, what you do, if it’s e’er been done?”

“Aye,” the traveler said. “Has it, sir?”

“Ne’er on my watch. Fools have tried, but none have come back. Not from there. They say a man foolish enough to enter is damned from birth, cursed with the headstrong pride of ill belief and hope. Wise men know their limits, know their bounds.”

The traveler gazed into the ugly darkness beyond their one lone torch. A soft sound came upon an unsure breeze, at first it sounded like a song, but as they grew closer the sound grew into an ugly distinct thing. “What is that?”

The boatman’s laugh came back over the boat like a low cloud just before a storm. Then he said, in a hushed whisper, “That is the land of the dead ye hear boy, the howls of the damned, the forgotten, the desperate fools who paid no heed in life. That is the sound of your own future.”


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