Black Chaos II Received; Ekphrastic Poetry Take Two, Take Two — a Lagniappe

For he being dead,
with him is beauty slain,
And, beauty dead,
black chaos comes again.

And so came the anthology BLACK CHAOS II, from the back cover of which comes the quotation above, to my mailbox.  Edited by Bill Oliver, this is Big Pulp Publications’s second zombie anthology — with a darkly humorous twist.  To let them black chaos2_finalexplain it:  “Black Chaos comes again in 25 MORE frightful — and frightfully funny — tales of the zombie, from the wilds of 19th century Canada to the farthest edge of the galaxy, and from college dorms to Wal-Mart.  You may think you know zombies, but not these!”

My zom in this zoo is called “Cold, Lifeless Fingers,” originally published in GC MAGAZINE for Halloween, October 1999 (cf. April 21, 10, et al.), of a zombie hailing from Port-au-Prince, but finding itself in a gated community in the US and, possibly, taking a yard sign it sees more literally than had been intended.  For more information, one may press here.

Then, on Facebook, we have a wrap-up of last Saturday’s THE ART OF POETRY / THE POETRY OF ART II, a presentation of poetry inspired by paintings at the local gallery, the Venue (see May 23; also for the previous week May 17).  My poem is titled “Animal Eyes” and is based on a piece by Ray Perigo depicting two theatrical masks called “Hangers On,” picking up on the theatrical theme in a nostalgic tip of the hat to Paris’s le Grand Guignol (1897-1962).  The poem itself appears below while “Hangers On” may be seen by pressing here (look for the picture of the two masks in the second row, far left).  Or for a more general look at the event, check the Venue’s wall by pressing here.



Animal eyes were best for gougings,
they bounced on the stage
while an actress screamed,
distracting the audience
who thought them hers.   
This was one of the tricks
of the Grand Guignol.
A disfigured Henri pouring acid
on his ex-lover, Jeanne’s, face —
it’s water, of course —
in Le Baiser dans la Nuit,
her hands secreting coagulated paint,
red, as she claps them over her pain,
leaving streaks of burned gore.  
Mutilations, slashings,
a lighthouse-set orgy,
a woman thrown down to the rocks below  
to avenge a wrecked ship,
another set fire before voyeurs’ eyes,   
this all on a 20 x 20 foot dais,
practically in the laps of the playgoers
packed into a less than 300-seat room.  
But it did not survive, the theatre of blood
given way to worse horrors,
the horrors of real life;
the players in masks now of human flesh,
no longer distorted
as those of the stage,
but, beneath, what thoughts hoarding?


  1. Love this gruesome poem, Jim! Also congrats on finally getting the Airships (steam punk) collection –mentioned in today’s bloggie.

  2. Hi Marge, thanks! It was a pretty good day for the bloggie, to be sure (and Saturday a good day for reading poems). Also with the arrival of AIRSHIPS, a sort of relieved feeling of closure — not to mention a couple of good stories as I’ve started to read the book! This gives me three that I’m reading now though, the film book REEL DARK (picked up at WHC) and, and as of yesterday, both steampunk AND zombies. Who can say it’s not a full life?
    : )=

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