Yesterday at the riverfront, the water rose so high a man washed his socks from the rubble placed along the bank to guard the walking path. His socks were filthy from slogging through the Quarter during the morning’s flood. As hot as it was, those socks must have felt divine on his feet, like a river of cool breeze carrying him to his next shady spot. He did not rush the washing. He had no need to leave any of the river behind.
grandpa’s lips are always moving, praying. panting after silence. he says breathing is a type of hunger; he is tired of its pangs & sits facing the window, daily waiting his turn. last of his friends, he speaks only to angels now. at a funeral, he lifted hands when the priest, with sarcasm said, who’s next?
grief will do that to you. the year I lost Tessy—my dog—I became a cat person. amnesia is how we handle loss in this house…
death is a type of amnesiac spell, I crave it too grandpa.
Pamilerin Jacob is a Nigerian poet & mental health enthusiast. His poem was shortlisted for the Ken Egba Prize For Festival Poetry 2017. Author of Memoir of Crushed Petals (2018), Gospels of Depression (2019) & Paper Planes in the Rain (Co-authored, 2019); he is a staunch believer in the powers of critical thinking, Khalil Gibran’s poetry & chocolate ice cream. Reach him on Twitter @pamilerinjacob
In 1978, punk rock vocalist Sid Vicious stabbed his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen to death. A copy of Vicious’ confession to New York police, titled; Voluntary Disclosure Sheet Supplement: People v. Ritchie aka Vicious, describes in detail the events as Vicious recalled them. Almost every line in this poem was taken directly from Vicious’ confession, with very little deviation. The poem, like the confession, is a lie, that is also the truth.
During my tenure as BHP’s Guest Editor in March 2018, I was lucky enough to publish many gifted writers. One of these was Kate Dlugosz, whose mythic poetry stayed with me long after my editorship was over. Earlier this month I invited her back onto Burning House Press for a gothic Halloween special. She agreed. Take note, this interview is merely masquerading as an interview. What follows is a gorgeous helping of dark prose poetry for those of us who have October in our bones. Enjoy! —Amee Nassrene Broumand
In your poem “Springtime,” you write: “If nothing else, I know owls come from flowers.” Tell us some more origin stories. Where do bats come from?
Bats come from song, as the shape of music from the cords formed of autumn constellations played by the wind upon the harp of the waning crescent moon. It is from the stars and the moon that the bat took flight from the night sky, the space between the stars where they learned to see by shape. And released by moonlight, through the darkened canopies of wine-red treetops they fly as hordes of poppy seeds, scattering over the moon as grey clouds, and the world below them becomes strange and wild and unknown in the dark. The bats echolocate the moths and the beetles in the night, and in the blindness of their own vision seeing with clarity the worlds of ghosts and spirits that pass over our own. You feel the first chill of autumn is the hiss of the bat as it grazes your neck. At times the bats hang down from the banisters of old barns, the wooden planks slicing the moon to shreds like a white moth between their fangs. And sometimes they sleep hanging from the limbs of oak trees by their claws before taking flight into purple dusk in search of blood, the moths and monsters prowling under moonlight. Bats suck the red from apples and rosehips and would consume the sun if they could sink their teeth into flame. Should you stare into the vast night sky on a clear autumn night, you are stargazing through the blackness of their wings. Continue reading “The Wolves Ripen: A Gothic Halloween Interview with Poet Kate Dlugosz”→
When I first visited my father J in Berkeley in the 70s, Jerry Brown was governor, and he gave a state address, in which he said “I was thinking about the problems we are facing so I decided to listen to whale sounds, which I will play you now.” I laughed with J and his second wife, but was uneasy. A Northeastern teenager surrounded by palm trees and a whale-sound-playing governor. Continue reading “Memoriam by Julia Lee Barclay-Morton”→
For as long as I’ve known him, my father has been the strong one in the family. He was indefatigable; during my teenage years, he worked several jobs, survived on three hours of sleep daily, and still had enough patience to deal with an ailing wife and a mildly hormonal teenager.
My father never fell ill. While most of my early memories of my mother are linked to hospitals and needles and antiseptic cream, my early memories of my father are of tireless hard work, and the absence of any kind of disease.
When I was younger, my father would carry me when I was sleepy. I was tall, even as a child, but that never stopped him from swinging me onto his back, hoisting as gracefully as one could a gangly, all-arms-and-legs kid, and striding to wherever it was that we had to go. He would never utter a complaint, he would never say I was heavy, and he would never turn me away.