I want to thank my fellow bloggers John Ormsby for being the Imaginarium’s very first featured poet, Angela Wilson (AKA poetisatinta) and Noah Sweet for contributing to the Imaginarium’s very first group poem, and (Gypsie) Ami Offenbacher-Ferris, andDiane Puterbaugh for participating in the Imaginarium’s very first open mic. I have decided not to repost the entire International Imaginarium here on this blog as I have often done with previous editions of the Virtual Poetoriums because I feel that it is probably too long a read and thus far too overwhelming for most of my readers (as a result, some really excellent poetry might be skipped, and that would be a real shame). So instead, I will just post the poem that I closed this month’s Imaginarium with. With the Virtual Poetorium, I normally would close with a poem of my own, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my mom and dad recently, especially since their 63rd wedding anniversary would have been just a bit over a week ago on July 19th. They both passed away quite a few years ago, my father in 1993 and my mother in 2013. Although I don’t know if my father did (he was fairly secretive, and might have hidden it from me), my mother wrote poetry throughout her life and was a big influence on me becoming a poet myself. In fact, she was often my co-host when I ran my first poetry venue The Poet’s Parlor. So I decided to close the first Imaginarium with what was probably my mom’s most popular poem (and one of my own personal favorites) with many people fondly remembering it and requesting for her to read it at The Poet’s Parlor throughout its thirteen years of existence (I hope you will enjoy it as much as they did and I still do):
My War on Slugs
I have declared a war on slugs, not bugs or drugs, but slugs. You know those nasty things that look like snails without a shell? At least, you can eat snails (if you like that sort of thing). I can’t see much purpose for slugs. They leave a slimy goo behind them everywhere they go. Even on your hands if you touch them. It won’t wash off, even with soap and water. The stuff has to be scraped off. Every time I pick cherry tomatoes, I get a handful of slime & slugs, and have to throw away all the tomatoes that they touched. I tried picking the slugs by hand into a tin can, but it’s real messy even with a plastic bag covering my hand. One day I picked over 250 slugs, but there was still hundreds crawling around. I figured there had to be a better way, finally deciding to try a friend’s advice. “Get a quart bottle of the cheapest beer” She said. “Go to the discount liquor store, it’s cheaper there than the grocery store. Put the beer in a pie tin, and watch the slugs go at it.” So at the age of 72, I bought my very first bottle of beer. I didn’t know what to ask for. Rather embarrassed, I asked for the cheapest, biggest bottle they had. I tried to explain what it was for, but the cashier, a young man, just stared at me A customer told me where the beer was. I picked up one bottle, paid for it, then got out of there fast, my face burning. First I tried a couple of shallow pans. The slugs soon found it, drank & left. It seemed to me they were much happier. Then I used narrow deeper bowls, sinking them down into the ground. This time they drank, fell in, and drowned. In a couple of days, the little bowls were packed like sardines with dead slugs. I then needed more beer. This time I marched into the discount liquor store, my head held high. I went right to the beer, picking up two bottles. Two young men and several customers were at the check-out counter. When I paid for my beer, I didn’t even explain what the beer was for. As I was leaving, they said “ Have a good evening, Lady, have fun!” I really didn’t care this time what they thought because the beer really works! Although the battle isn’t over, I’m sure I’m winning the war:
“The slugs ate my tomatoes. They just ate and ate. Because of that, they sealed their fate. I threw a party and served them beer. So now, the slugs are no longer here.”
Here is the link to the February 22, 2022 edition of the Virtual Poetorium posted last night on the Poetorium website for you to hopefully peruse and enjoy at your leisure. I want to thank my fellow bloggers Melissa LaFontaine, Diane Puterbaugh, Ken Ronkowitz, and tommywart for graciously accepting the invitation to participate which I previously posted on this blog. I have decided not to repost the entire Virtual Poetorium here on this blog as I have often done with previous editions because I feel that this one turned out to probably be too long a read and thus far too overwhelming for most of my readers (as a result, some really excellent poetry might be skipped, and that would be a real shame). So instead, I will just post this month’s Poetorium group poem (which is always one of my favorite segments of the Poetorium). I must confess it was really looking like that for the very first time since the Virtual Poetorium began, the group poem wasn’t going to happen this month due to lack of interest. However, happily, a pair of last-minute contributions from first-time participants Melissa and tommywart rescued it from the sad fate of never being created. So here it is, a bit briefer than usual (I sincerely hope you like it as much as I do)…
The Top Secrets of Gastronomical Pleasure
The secret to a good cup of coffee is heat. Coffee, bitter, bold, and steaming hot is naturally a bit too much, you see. You can tone that down with a cool splash of cream, So you can drink it fully, without sucking it through teeth.
The secret to enjoying an ice-cold can of Moxie, Like a true veteran Northern Vermont Yankee, is to learn To embrace the bitterness of the gentian root with its vague Hints of dandelions gathered from sunlit fields, savoring The acrid aftertaste of your first swallow, and the strange sensation In your tongue as if it was sensuously sliding over the nipple- End of a D cell battery, while your entire body shudders involuntarily.
The secret to a fine dessert is how much you will crave it. Warm and flaky, creamy, cold, it must satisfy your palate. Otherwise, so I’m told, there’s no reason to even try it.
I want to thank my fellow bloggers Diane Puterbaugh and John Ormsby for graciously accepting my invitation to participate in the Virtual Scaretorium which I am reposting from the Poetorium website below. It is a rather long readfilled with some wacky, weird, and even spooky poetry and surprises (be sure to check out the time machine during intermission) but I think you will enjoy it…
PAUL: (Spoken in a very bad imitation of Boris Karloff) Good evening, every body!
Welcome to our very special Halloween-themed edition of the Virtual Poetorium which we are calling tonight the Scaretorium. As I scan the audience I spy the usual suspects, but there is one unfamiliar face who I surmise must be our special visitor all the way from scary old England, but I’ll talk more about that later. Unlike our regular editions, tonight there will be no featured poet, but instead, we’ll have an extra-long open mic to be divided into two sections, and since we have eight people on the sign-up sheet, there will be four poets in each. We are also lifting our usual one piece per person limit, so everyone can read up to three poems or stories. But before I call the first poet to the stage to read, I will kick off the show with one of my favorite poems by America’s 19th century master of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe:
The Conqueror Worm
Lo! ’t is a gala night Within the lonesome latter years! An angel throng, bewinged, bedight In veils, and drowned in tears, Sit in a theatre, to see A play of hopes and fears, While the orchestra breathes fitfully The music of the spheres.
Mimes, in the form of God on high, Mutter and mumble low, And hither and thither fly— Mere puppets they, who come and go At bidding of vast formless things That shift the scenery to and fro, Flapping from out their Condor wings Invisible Wo!
That motley drama—oh, be sure It shall not be forgot! With its Phantom chased for evermore By a crowd that seize it not, Through a circle that ever returneth in To the self-same spot, And much of Madness, and more of Sin, And Horror the soul of the plot.
But see, amid the mimic rout, A crawling shape intrude! A blood-red thing that writhes from out The scenic solitude! It writhes!—it writhes!—with mortal pangs The mimes become its food, And seraphs sob at vermin fangs In human gore imbued.
Out—out are the lights—out all! And, over each quivering form, The curtain, a funeral pall, Comes down with the rush of a storm, While the angels, all pallid and wan, Uprising, unveiling, affirm That the play is the tragedy, “Man,” And its hero, the Conqueror Worm.
—Edgar Allan Poe
And now please welcome to the podium, a long-time regular of the Virtual Poetorium, and our featured poet from last Halloween, Meg Smith…
MEG: Inspired by two crows I saw perched on a balcony in Cobh, Ireland, this first poem really speaks to the grief of the pandemic, through the Irish observance of Samhain. Being first-generation, I’m speaking of the authentic cultural context — rather than the pop culture notion that Samhain, Beltaine, and other Celtic holidays are whatever the observer imagines…
I praise you, overlooking Cobh from a wrought-iron balcony; the bones of trees at Hampton Court; pumpkins in their rows of snarls in the dry grasses of Simeone Farm, I love you in your laughter, and gossip, and flashes of night in a year’s worth of Octobers. Call back the lost. The year is filled with wailing. Call back the lost, through the falling veil.
I participated in the “Ghosts of Pawtucketville Night” tour offered by the Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! festival. Jack Kerouac’s Lowell of his upbringing is filled with ghosts, and the haunted presence of those lost before their time. This includes a neighbor of the Kerouac family, who now has a square named in his honor…
At last, a sign, to mark the crossing in the blue street lamps — shouts in nighttime basketball games, but only one poet will catch every shade, every spirit walking, shouting in the twilight of the floodplain.
My final poem of the night was inspired by Valda Hansen, who was an actress who appeared in Night of the Ghouls, a film by Edward D. Wood, Jr., most famous for Plan 9 from Outer Space. In the film, she masquerades as a ghost as part of a con artists’ scam. But she is actually quite ethereal and poetic, a muse of horror camp…
In memory of Valda Hansen
Enough to frighten the kids making out in the sedan by the edge of the marsh — but more, still to love your dance without breathing, through your shadow house — not of this world, but casting threads through its night
PAUL: Thank you, Meg! Next up is our Virtual Poetorium’s featured poet from last November, Howard Kogan…
HOWARD: Halloween is not a topic I have written about, so here is an October poem instead:..
On an uncommonly warm October morning mist-shrouded mountains dream of the Song Dynasty crows stand in mid-air conjuring Canada geese, who appear and disappear along ridgelines apricot-colored leaves drift from quaking aspens
Last night an immense moon rose through the trees like a spaceship glazing the world silver by morning it was gold.
—Howard J Kogan
PAUL: Thanks, Howard! We actually have three previous Poetorium featured poets with us tonight (the third, Diane Puterbaugh, will be reading in the second section), but now I’d like to read a wonderfully charming Halloween poem written by a fourth, Carl Sandburg, who you may recall we brought back from a hundred years in the past using a time machine I borrowed from my cousin Dwayne so he could feature for us this last June (more about that time machine later)…
Theme in Yellow
I spot the hills With yellow balls in autumn. I light the prairie cornfields Orange and tawny gold clusters And I am called pumpkins. On the last of October When dusk is fallen Children join hands And circle round me Singing ghost songs And love to the harvest moon; I am a jack-o’-lantern With terrible teeth And the children know I am fooling.
Now please welcome a good friend of the Poetorium, and the host of the monthly open poetry share at the Booklover’s Gourmet in Webster, Massachusetts, Bob Perry…
BOB: Hello Poetorium. Everyone knows that Halloween is when the computers become little gremlins. Caught this one on camera…
Both my parents passed on in early October, 11 years apart. On the second anniversary of my dad’s passing I sat down at work and this became an insistent poem. It felt like they were there when I was writing it. What a gift…
In October my ghosts don’t wait for Hallows Eve They come early to check out this year’s foliage To talk of times that were, reinterpreting memories As we walk through the forest, each moment A grace I could not see while they were alive They tell me nothing is ever wasted, ever lost Pay attention to the way things come back to you Spend yourself extravagantly, like these trees Let everything go and you will discover You have had everything you needed all along.
—Robert Eugene Perry
Bodhicitta (Attaining great compassion for all sentient beings, accompanied by a falling away of the ego)
shards of glass, blue red lights road slick with rain, viscous river of fluids wailing sirens; other wailing, others waiting staring deep not seeing not feeling gurneys odd angles holding fractured forms shouting rushing figures smoke inhaling crying out help is coming just hold on gasping overwhelming fumes vision blurring, drift to void –
hovering ghost or angel soaking up your pain bleeding out compassion remaining present, keeping intention holding on and letting go simultaneous heartbeat separation is the illusion
rubbernecking tourists grumbling at the logjam, making the sign of the cross as they pass – sacred and profane are abstractions to the dead and dying – which in fact every body is.
—Robert Eugene Perry
Here is something new…
I’m including this next one because it is the Scaretorium and this has the word “Hell” in it. Sorry, that’s as scary as I get…
Roadmap Out of Hell
To look within and own your sin – your past with all its demons A fearless search for truth will hurt but only for a season.
To stay awhile with all the guile digging through the layers It may seem vain but from the pain will blossom earnest prayers.
Beneath the mire your soul respires despite the suffocation Dung unearthed will prove its worth becoming your salvation.
With no regret, you place your bet and sing your darkest song The truth will out, there is no doubt you’re here where you belong.
—Robert Eugene Perry
PAUL: Thank you, Bob! And here is the final poet in the first section of the open mic, the host of the brand new monthly Poetry Extravaganza poetry reading series at the Root & Press Bookstore and Cafe in Worcester, Joe Fusco Jr.
JOE: This is an older piece that I like to put out every Halloween…
My wife never buys enough candy for Halloween.
The family gathers at our house for sandwiches then everyone goes trick or treating except my 86-year-old mother and me.
“She didn’t buy enough candy again,” I lament.
“Just give one piece per costume,” my mother replies.
I feel like a gas attendant during the Carter administration distributing a Twizzler and Snickers to the more mature participants, but only one or the other to the adorable, naive little ones who won’t vandalize our property over my frugality.
By 7 p.m., I’m stuffing my hand into their pillowcases like a penny-pinchin’ Christian at Sunday Mass, so they won’t discover my meager offerings.
(Let me digress: Years ago, when we first moved into the house, on a dark rainy Halloween night, just returning from a cruise of the Caribbean, not a stitch of candy in the cupboard, I was forced to give boxes of store-brand raisins for treats. For years after, kids avoided our house like lice and I received sly death threats in late October with Sidney Poitier analogies.)
By 8 p.m., Mom and I are running on fumes, tossing quarters into their sacks from my son’s silver collection, then Long-Island potatoes, finally just dispensing sound advice from our porch like “Don’t be a fool, stay in school!”
When the family returns, all the house- lights are off. Mom and I are huddled in the back-bedroom over a candle listening to FDR on the radio.
“Is it over yet,” I ask my wife sheepishly.
“Yes, you moron,” she gently replies.
I gather my manhood and shuffle to the kitchen where I rifle the kid’s bags for Kit Kats and Nestles Crunch bars.
Happy freakin’ Halloween.
—Joe Fusco Jr.
PAUL: That was great, Joe! I thought it would be fitting now to close out the first part of tonight’s open mic with a poem I wrote as a sequel to the one I opened it up with — “The Conqueror Worm” by Edgar Allan Poe. The poem is written as a Cascada Viente, a poetry form invented by Brad Osborne, who coincidently was our featured poet for our One Year Anniversary Edition of the Virtual Poetorium last March…
The Return of the Conqueror Worm (A Sequel Set in Current Times)
Behold! The conqueror worm Returns again to the stage In the guise of a vile germ, Its audience in a cage,
As it heralds in the age Of Zoom (with us quarantined, Trapped like words upon the page). This strutting, villainous fiend
Having our lives guillotined, Cut off from family, friends Forcibly being pulled, weaned From them til this madness ends-
Tragicomedy that blends Mournful pathos with jest, A sick farce that all depends On its denouement. The rest,
Just exposition at best And a bad plot twist unseen: This play has no hero, lest It’s truly Covid-Nineteen…
We’ll be taking a short intermission (something we haven’t done for a long, long while) in a couple of minutes before we begin the last half of our virtual open mic, but now it’s time once again for me to present this month’s Poetorium group poem as well as our final Poetorium monthly form writing challenge. This month’s theme was “This Halloween…” with people being asked to email us one to eight lines starting with that short phrase. All contributions were then compiled into the following poem which I’m afraid is rather short this month since we only received submissions from just Bob Perry and Diane Puterbaugh besides myself:
This Halloween people hope for no snow in Syracuse and that the temp. is under 80 in Memphis.
This Halloween Jamie Lee Curtis will star in Halloween Kills, but perhaps after twelve films and four decades there are some horrors that should just be left behind in adolescence and others that should be faced head-on.
This Halloween night I will mourn the Halloweens of childhood past as I wander the streets alone, passing by trick-or-treaters wearing masks under their masks beneath stars like pinholes punched in a perfect plum-hued sky.
This Halloween, just buy 2 bags of Snickers, because you know you will eat through one of them before the 31st.
Thank you both Bob and Diane for contributing to tonight’s Scaretorium group poem!
And now it’s time for me to present, as I mentioned earlier in the evening, our very last Poetorium monthly form writing challenge in which for the last year we invited you to write in a different flash fiction or poetic form. I am sorry to announce that this will definitely be the final one due to dwindling interest but don’t worry, we will have something different to replace it starting next month. You might recall that last Halloween, we challenged you to write a six-word story? Well, this month’s writing challenge was a variation on that. We invited you all to write a six sentence story or poem, preferably one with a Halloween theme (it could have included a title or not, the choice was up to you), but unfortunately only my cousin Dwayne Szlosek took up the challenge and submitted the following untitled poem:
Dracula’s a blood-thirsty fiend… Frankenstein is the first to be the living dead… Wolfman becomes a gypsy curse… Mummies can be ruled by evil… Witches can be ruled by the Devil… They are all classic Halloween movies…
To tell you the truth, I was a bit disheartened by the lack of responses to this month’s challenge, and almost ended up not writing one myself but since I was the one who issued it, I felt it was my duty to present to you for your approval, the following hopefully chilling brief Halloween tale:
The Open Door
Arkham College photography student George Allenby was walking home from a Halloween photoshoot at Hope Cemetery along Webster Street at dusk when he first noticed the faint strains of “Radar Love” drifting from the century-old brick building in the distance. As he walked closer, he recognized the familiar voice of the early evening disc jockey of a local classic rock station blaring from the wide-open green wooden door of the Whitechapel Chemical Distribution Company. He thought “how strange, this is something you might expect to find on a warm summer evening in July or August, but not in the cool brisk weather of late October.” His first instinct was to call the police and report the incident of the open door, but he had forgotten his cell phone in his dorm room. Although he knew deep within his gut that it wasn’t a good idea, curiosity got the better of him, so he poked his head through the darkened doorway and yelled “Anyone there?”, but there was no answer. As he unwisely entered the pitch blackness of the premises, the last thing George heard was the sound of ‘Stairway to Heaven” being cranked up to an ear-deafening volume as if to drown out any possible screams…
I hope you enjoyed this month’s submissions and want to thank Dwayne for being the lone submitter (besides myself) to our very last form writing challenge. As I said earlier, we will have something different to challenge you all starting next month.
Now I have a bit of a treat for you all. We will be taking a short intermission so you can check out the photos on display courtesy of Diane Puterbaugh and myself in a special Scaretorium photography show. Also, do you remember my cousin Dwayne’s time machine? During the break, you will have the opportunity to use it to travel back 45 years into the past to Edgar Allan Poe’s home city of Baltimore and attend a Halloween poetry reading held on the night of October 31st, 1976 at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Don’t be afraid to dawdle there and enjoy the poetry since you have a time machine and plenty of time to get back here for the second part of our open reading. By the way, you may notice the time machine looks very different since you saw it last June. That’s because while programming it for tonight’s adventure into the past, I accidentally hit a random button on the console and it morphed into a somewhat familiar-looking British blue police call box… Anyway, have fun and we will see you when you get back!
The Scaretorium Halloween Photography Exhibit
Dwayne’s Virtual Time Machine
Click Here to Travel 45 Years into the Past to Attend a Halloween Poetry Reading on the Night of October 31st, 1976 at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore Maryland
PAUL: Welcome back, everyone! Hope you all had fun during the intermission…
When we think of Halloween, we usually think of ghosts, witches, and monsters. And what kind of monsters? Usually the classic ones such as Frankenstein, werewolves, and vampires. Well, I’d like to kick off the second part of the open with one of my previously unpublished poems about one I doubt you ever heard of before…
The Ballad of the Goo Goo Ga Ga Monster
At the age of three, I died constantly in my sister’s dreams. Each morning, she would wake and regale me with her nocturnal visions of my demise, explaining how the night before the vacuum cleaner had ambushed me on the stairs and thrusting its crevice attachment down my throat, had slurped my insides out.
Or how as I ran across the lawn to greet her home from school, her yellow school bus suddenly swerved and pounced upon my measly form, reducing me to just another oily stain upon the grass.
Much too young to be bothered by the fact that to my sister these were not hideous nightmares but pleasant dreams, I waited anxiously for the next installment of my death, soon learning that these were not just random exterminations by machinery gone haywire, but masterminded by the dreaded Goo-Goo-Ga-Ga Monster.
Yes, the infamous Goo-Goo-Ga-Ga Monster with a face of pablum mush and breath putridly sweet like baby burps, patron saint of sisters with bratty baby brothers, the Grim Reaper of the toddler set.
As weeks passed, my deaths became less frequent, my sister’s subconscious slowly ceasing its hostilities until Mister Goo-Goo-Ga-Ga vanished without a trace from her morning tales. So I was forced to scour my own dreams, hoping to glimpse his festering face, but he would never show. I was cursed with sweet dreams of chocolate choo-choo trains, fuzzy-wuzzy bunny rabbits, and puppy dogs. The Goo-Goo-Ga-Ga Monster could not be induced to make a guest appearance amidst such nauseatingly wholesome company.
So here I am fifty years later, still obsessed with dreams not my own. Perhaps I just want to stare him in his eyes, and recognize my own mortality. Every story I ever heard, every movie I ever saw has had an ending, either happy or sad, but my life, so far, has not. I just want to be assured there will be a grand finale, a slow fade into blackness, and the credits will roll because how can you enjoy any story, no matter how satisfying if you never know the ending.
Each night as I drift into slumber, I continue trying to conjure up the image of the Goo-Goo-Ga-Ga Monster, but each night, I fail. Yet one evening in the (hopefully distant) future, I will not. I will finally grasp his disgustingly slimy hand and exclaim like some star-struck fan “I’ve heard so much about you. I am so pleased to meet you, pleased to meet you at last!”
As some of you know, I have a poetry blog called “Paul’s Poetry Playground. About a week ago, I wrote a post inviting my readers and fellow bloggers to participate in tonight’s Scaretorium. Our next poet accepted that invitation, traveling all the way from Manchester, England to be with us tonight. So please put your hands together for a big first-time Poetorium welcome for John Ormsby…
JOHN: Hi! My name’s John Ormsby and I’m an aspiring poet with a WordPress account: MrOrmsbyAtLarge. Anyway, here are my poems:
The female spider dines alone For reasons chilling to the bone Perhaps more dates would turn out right If she could curb her appetite
Should I love you Take hold of you Our first kiss would be your last Blood pulsating Seeping, sating Taking more than I had asked. This lifeless life out of the sun Exiled from God’s own plan Its beastly feast that’s fit for none Was not how I began. Still, you near me Don’t you fear me? I can pull you down to hell No I’ll leave you Let me grieve you In that place where monsters dwell
Watch Your Tongue
When canny cannibals suggest You call round as a dinner guest You’re right to feel suspicious They’re hoping you’re delicious And if the book next to the pan Is ‘How To Serve Your Fellow Man’ It’s time to quit the venue ‘Cause guess who’s on the menu?
All three of these poems appear on my blog: MrOrmsbyAtLarge.com. Cheers, Mates!
PAUL: Thank you so much, John. And now please welcome a long-time Virtual Poetorium regular to the podium…
My First Halloween
My first Halloween started when I was young so very early in life, all I ever wanted to do is die like in all of those Halloween movies on FREAKY FRIDAY’s all of us wanted to be that way even if they were all boys, mothers, fathers, sisters or brothers for bringing us too, this planet and I just want you to know good luck and have a safe and Happy Halloween one and all.
Kids passing out candy, kids passing out candy and party’s, parties that we go to always invite us there. Great costumes that I didn’t even know who they were judging the costumes, bobbing for apples, playing ghetto games and Halloween masks that become us.
Trick or treat the smell my feet give me something good to eat. Goes out to every doorstep for candy and parties for goodies and pizza. Some wear costumes or make-up.
Later at night those who walked home would seal their doom. You could feel the slash felt real good to your sick descended souls. The shuddered screams of Horror as the blade crosses the thoughts of boxes yet to be opened while you finally get home you’re only tired of giving up the fight.
Looking at your goodies in your goodie bags that you got from each and every door. Some surprises and toys that you can share with your family and friends. It’s past midnight and you can feel the evil lurking at your own door. You can hear the moon scream while all the while you shudder every thought about the THRILLER NIGHTS.
You can go to your room just because the sounds you hear can make it. Watching the screen. While Freddy and Jason take the terror off the screen. And all the while you are watching and you feel something hit you hard.
Freaky Friday just before you change the number on your dial “What” Let me take you home. O.K. Micheal just one thing though I’m not like the other boys? The shrill of thousands screaming sounds and while you both are laughing you walk through the woods and it is very dark you are suddenly paralyzed. HA HA HA HA HA.
I hear the dogs howl, The voices scream, And all the while The pitter patter of little feet Saying Trick-or-treat!
PAUL: Thanks, Michele! John isn’t the only poet to come a long distance to be with us this evening. Please welcome our last month’s feature, trekking in all the way from the great state of Tennessee, Diane Puterbaugh…
It’s Autumn now the sun moves faster slanting through the back door at 7:03 then the kitchen at 11:11 and finally the laundry room at 6:15
Celebrities ride in rockets gravity touts itself as a tourist destination satellites zip across the Corona Borealis- a rush-hour of shooting stars
Orion, raised in perpetual aim toward a target orbiting down range long shot moon shot covid shot
PAUL: Thank you so much, Diane! And now last but not least in the Scaretorium open mic, my cousin and the man who loaned us his time machine for tonight, Dwayne Szlosek…
DWAYNE: I hope you are all doing well and a Happy Halloween to you all! Due to the holiday Halloween, I thought I would give Nine Gun Billy a break this month and give you two Halloween poems on this October evening instead. I hope you all enjoy them both…
Make Me Rich
Open your door. Put a green bottle in the threshold. Just say these words six times and six times more, and just to be sure say it six more times in front of your door:
“I’m not rich, I’m not poor. I welcome all spirits to my front door. Make me rich instead of making me poor. I will let you stay in my home forevermore. I will cast a spell so no one can break or can Make you leave my home. Oh, hear me spirits at my front door, Make me rich instead of making me poor…”
—Dwayne Szlosek (Copyright 3/29/2021)
It Is Halloween Night
You’ll gasp with delight in every bite You make on Halloween night. Because you are a vampire living in a neighborhood, Looking out your window, Seeing those sugar-sucking Little monsters going to every house Looking to pluck that sugar-sweet candy From the bowl and put it into their bag. They will say “Thank you And we will not egg your house.”
On this occasion, As they look up at you, You look down on them and say With a snickering laugh “Thank you, and I will Not bite you tonight, My pint-size little snacks.” And smile with delight, Making them all wonder What does that mean? It means it is Halloween Night…
—Dwayne Szlosek (Copyright 8/23/2021)
Thank you all for coming tonight and have a safe and happy evening!
PAUL: Thanks, Dwayne, that was a lot of fun! As most of you know, Ron Whittle, my regular Poetorium co-host and cohort, is battling the return of his bladder cancer and can’t be with us tonight. But before I close out the show with a poem of my own, I’d like to share one of Ron’s with you. The following poem is the one he read to open the Virtual Poetorium last Halloween…
The end of Autumn howls in the dark of the night When shadows take flight to wrap themselves around tombstones, trees and such A time for the dead to reappear as ghostly mortals to haunt the imaginations of whose who challenge the night near the old town cemetery Lights flicker wind chimes ring out a scary tune and a fog appears out of nowhere An erie sight to see as caskets lay opened behind the veil of night Creaking gates Tomcats screech and church bells ring out a warning at every step taken beware the ghouls behind you and the specters in front of you As doorbells ring and door knockers rap Fear what is on the other side of that door as treaters descend onto sidewalks full of tricksters in full regalia planning to trick you into giving them sweets in exchange for safe passage into the night
The final poem of the evening is one that I wrote many years ago. It is both a 26-word abecedarian and a magic spell. I hope you will enjoy it (and it doesn’t work)…
A Bloody, Creepy, Definitely Evil, Frightening, Ghoulish Halloween Incantation