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Issue 6 • October 2012
Weird Verse
edited by Wade German

Table of Contents

Editor’s IntroductionWade German

Conservatory of Shadows • Jacie Ragan
Dark Revelation • Fred Phillips
Dementors • Richard L. Tierney
Circular Bone • W. H. Pugmire
Eclipse • Albert W. Grohmann
Wolves of Mars • Ann K. Schwader
The Hexham Moors • Michael Fantina
Unwisely Late, and Through the Wood • Albert W. Grohmann
Lime Tree • Michael Fantina
The Exiled Jarl Speaks • Phillip A. Ellis
Wyrd of Vardak • Fred Phillips
Mercy, Mercy • Ann K. Schwader
The Zed in Beelzebub • John W. Sexton
Temple of Nyarlathotep • Charles Lovecraft
Phantom Brain • F. J. Bergmann
Zombie Hamlet • Michael Kriesel
Overmind • Albert W. Grohmann
A Voyage(r) Too Far • Ann K. Schwader
Rise and Fall of the Illuminati • Jacie Ragan

Conservatory of Shadows

Inside these pillared walls we hide our dreams
and insubstantial nightmares, in the shade
that billows out from drapes of green brocade
with ghosts and dust embroidered in the seams.
Hallucinations float toward ceiling beams,
delusions drift, and fantasies pervade
the smoky air, while watchers seem dismayed
by dismal wraiths that swirl in hazy streams.

We hold our painted shadow selves concealed
in galleries no stranger gets to see
in oubliettes whose openings are sealed.
We keep them locked and seldom use the key.
But buried spirits yearn to be revealed
and shatter any shield to flutter free.

—Jacie Ragan

Dark Revelation

Indifferent came they ere the world we know
When out of cosmic dust these spheres were made;
Cast forth whence aeons earlier they stayed,
By Powers that their banishment bestowed.
We hesitate admitting how we found
The crumbling tome wherein the tale is told
That causes blood of sane men to run cold,
Discovered in unconsecrated ground.
We longed to quaff nepenthe to expunge
What should have never drifted into light,
To sear forever any mortal sight
Of depths to which our sanity could plunge,
And blind ourselves to that which might yet be—
Our cold, unalterable destiny.

—Fred Phillips


(After The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling)

They are the foulest creatures known to man,
Slayers of peace and happiness and hope.
In sark-like robes they creep and glide and grope
Down the cold, clammy halls of Azkaban.
Their hollow cowls, from which jet blackness gapes,
Seem to exude a pall of gloom and fear.
Even dull muggles sense their presence near
But cannot see their lean and black-cloaked shapes.

The dark dementors feed on pain and fright
As vampires feed on blood and ghouls the dead.
A cringing victim paralyzed with dread
Is to their taste a morsel of delight,
But worst of all is a dementor’s kiss
Which snares one’s soul down to the black abyss.

—Richard L. Tierney

Circular Bone

My brain is thick with heavy ignorance
As weary dullness weighs my eyelids down,
And thus I struggle for one stupid glance
Of your bleached beams that dress me in a gown
Of gossamer; a ghastly raiment, aye,
A frock of filigree, a phantom robe.
You grimly grin to me from moving sky,
As white as bone, a wan and senseless globe.
Some say they see your face when you are full,
A mirthless visage winking in the skies.
I see a somber disc, a rotund skull
With malformed mouth that aches to taste my eyes.
I shut my weighty lids and fall to place
My hands in earth as your lips touch my face.

As your lips touch my face I strangle scream
And plummet hands into the filthy sod
And blindly claw the turf that I have trod
In crazy dance within your pallid beam.
My feet are still as my hands do their deed
And dig the place that I have seen in sleep,
And sink in earth that I might rightly reap
The booty that I know is here buried.
Blind, diseased, I plunder earth until
I press my touch unto your curve of bone.
I tremble on my knees, possessed, alone.
I tremble to a supernatural thrill.
I clutch the dainty object I have found
And free it from its pit of graveyard ground.

I rise to standing stance and suck the air
That rushes to my mouth as midnight storm.
My eyelids open to your insane glare.
My clumsy feet take flight as I perform
The danse of alchemy that has been taught
By murdered witches twitching on their twine.
And tho’ her face is now a thing of naught,
I speak rare language to your rich moonshine
And watch the web of light in which I’m clothed
Unwind and lift unto her slate of bone.
Death, the final phase, despised and loathed,
Is mocked by magick in the words I moan.
At last, one uttered sound makes my mind flame
As her new-fashioned maw bespeaks my name.

—W. H. Pugmire


I stand, and gaze upon the shattered moon
in dim penumbral light, a last eclipse
before its shape dissolves, its craters hewn
away, while caught by rain, the moon dust drips.
A summer night, a comet in the air;
a tragic orgy of celestial might—
the constellations hidden in the glare
thrown off by impact. Only now, our sight
begins to clear, and after, through the days
that follow I reflect on what has passed:
the rising tides, the changing of its phase.
We walked upon it, once. The glow it cast
      will ever light our dreams, until the day
      its fragments wash the rest of us away.

—Albert W. Grohmann

Wolves of Mars

We never thought about there being two.
Our moons, that is: the terror & the fear
Of their incessant chase on nights too clear
To turn away. This legend we pursue
Pursues us even here, defying shells
We built to shield us from ourselves at last,
Abandoning a planet’s worth of past
In hopes of wiping out some future hell
We packed along.
                                      Now every dawn is doubt
Of neighbor. Lover. Self. Whose eyes caught fire?
Whose tongue knew blood? Each question leaves a scar
Our night-pelts hide … until to go without
Becomes more dangerous than red desire,
Than proof we cannot wall out what we are.

—Ann K. Schwader

The Hexham Moors

Far under the scowl of a winter’s gloom
I stalk the Hexham moors where shadows lie,
Where red-haired lamia for victims vie,
And drag their quarry down to utter doom.
I make my way this eve past Merlin’s tomb,
An ancient cairn with blue stones mounded high,
Beneath this otherworldly, evil sky,
That will, with Time, this ravaged world subsume.

I mark an incandescent moon through cloud heads glare,
One werewolf bays below the abbey’s wall,
Back to their tombs the ancient dead repair,
Sleek undines wail a dismal madrigal ...
My lover rises from her oaken log,
Out of the peat, within this haunted bog.

—Michael Fantina

Unwisely Late, and Through the Wood

(After Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130”)

I only see my mistress on those nights
When fullest moon reflects upon her eyes;
When, on approach, my scent in her excites
A primal urge. Her welcome oft belies
A disposition given to violent rage,
A hunger toward the tense, nocturnal hunt
For innocence; for prey that might assuage
The hollowness she feels. It is her wont
To crouch beneath the undergrowth between
The trees until a traveler wanders by –
The glint of parting teeth, the silvery sheen
Of fur, their final glimpse before they die.
      For me, she waits, for I’m a thing more rare
      By virtue of the wolfishness we share.

—Albert W. Grohmann

Lime Tree

Under the lime tree on the shore
    I mark the cold tide’s run;
It’s here the snowy seagulls roam,
    Below the golden sun.

It’s noon below the cloudy sky;
    The lime tree quivers so,
Here where the lime tree’s shadows lie
    Before the high plateau.

Here I’ll stay till the dusk falls nigh,
    Under this lime tree cool,
These stars like gypsies in the sky
    Above the tidal pool.

And ever I will stay alone,
    Under the lime tree’s shade;
I lie alee under this stone,
    Long where my bed was made.

—Michael Fantina

The Exiled Jarl Speaks

In their barrows, the dreamers remember
and they stir, as in sleep, while thunder
and the rain of the night are both breaking
on the landscape. The land here is verdant,
with a pool that is black with the tannin
of the leaves that have fallen within it.

Of the souls that have fallen within it,
in this pool, I’ve no knowledge; remember:
I am stranger here, written as tannin
that is leached by this rain and this thunder,
though the verse of my heart is as verdant
as the land that is round it, and breaking.

In the light of the day that is breaking
in a dullness, I wonder within it
on the memories supple and verdant
of the holm that I love and remember;
but the sky, it is dark with a thunder
and is cold with a lightning, like tannin,

that has seeped in my heart as that tannin
that has seeped in the water, that’s breaking
with the force of the rain. And the thunder
is as messages uttered within it,
is as kettledrums calling “remember …”;
and the land is serene and is verdant.

But my heart is not supple, nor verdant:
it is sere, it is dark as is tannin
in the pool that once lived, but, remember,
is a waste of a water that’s breaking
with the force of the rain. And within it
are the corpses of maidens and thunder.

In this land and above it, the thunder;
and the land, and its heart, are both verdant,
and the pool of this land that’s within it
is as darkness complete from the tannin
of the leaves. And the day, that is breaking,
is as grey as the days I remember.

With the thunder as dark as is tannin
in the land that is verdant, and breaking
so within it, I ask you: remember.

—Phillip A. Ellis

Wyrd of Vardak

Here lies the stony hill where Vardak bled,
The fate of Murna reckoned by his steel;
None yet have known the numbers of the dead,
And how in vain his cohorts’ last appeal
Unheeded fell where Gods abode in state—
And High Jarrad His face had turned away
From Vardak’s prayer, desperate but late,
Whilst there the blood-red Moon in hauteur lay.
This tale of grief long aeons later seemed
When ages passed o’er Murna’s cold remains,
A judgment that appears in troubled dreams
Where naught in daylight is as things as plain
As mothers teach their sons to be as brave
Whilst armoured spectres trudge near ancient graves.

—Fred Phillips

Mercy, Mercy

None called her heartless while she lived,
& yet her specter roams about
on Chestnut Hill some winter nights
with breastbone leaking stars. No doubt

her neighbors meant well. To demand
three exhumations—& the last
a sanguine horror—argues minds
so blinded by a pagan past

as to be nearly innocent
of what transpired. Strange sacrifice
to offer in this Christian place:
a maiden’s heart to meet the price

of brother’s life. Perhaps he died
still tasting ashes two months hence,
& knowing them for hers. Perhaps
he lacked the local confidence

in vampires & their cure. All purest
speculation: history
will always fall to dust against
the sweeter meat of mystery

on Chestnut Hill. Some winter nights,
one weathered bridge that spans the flood
of ice there hosts a deeper chill …
her scent of roses, sweet as blood.

in memoriam Mercy Lena Brown, d. 1892

—Ann K. Schwader

The Zed in Beelzebub

The tainted soul’s a paradise for flies
that swarm like static from the depths between,
and in their jewelled throng anoint demise.

In clouds of wings they cloak the Lord of Lies
and to his rotting body lend their sheen;
the tainted soul’s a paradise for flies.

In Eden’s hush he said, “Let there be Noise”,
and chaos entered loud, though first unseen.
“Now, in your jewelled throng anoint demise,

and trouble every living thing that dies.”
And hence they came and ever since have been.
The tainted soul’s a paradise for flies

that buzz electric both to dumb and wise
and cover excrements in vivid green;
which from their jewelled throng anoints demise.

Where none mourn, their crowded presence belies
the emptiness of death, proves life obscene.
The tainted soul’s a paradise for flies,
who in their jewelled throng anoint demise.

—John W. Sexton

Temple of Nyarlathotep

The torch I burn in this dark temple lights
The kith of doom. In this black pit the hold
Of daemon forces from beyond makes old
The weathered face that leers. The parchment blights
With spots my eyes of morbidly dimmed sight,
While, older than the slab entombed, the cold
Is fear that bites. The ripping arm of mold
Lifts high the naphtha-heaving breath of night.

But in this tunnel dank and subterrene,
The thing I worship here relates with voice
Not good to hear, with tone beyond all choice,
And rustling things surge closer still between.
Nyarlathotep, lord of the nightmare race,
My favorite god, I cheer—and burn my face.

—Charles Lovecraft

Phantom Brain

He waited to recover. Sense-and-feeling
tests indicated a successful operation.
Two weeks of coma were induced, for healing.
His surgeons exchanged smug congratulations:

tests indicated a successful operation.
Those nightmares are no reason for dismay.
His surgeons exchanged smug congratulations
regarding outcome: a convalescent stay.

Those nightmares are no reason for dismay
after reincarnation. Disturbing dreams
regarding outcome? A convalescent stay.
His nurses all get high-fives from the psych team.

After reincarnation, disturbing dreams,
peculiar smells. He can’t quite grasp the joke
his nurses all get. High-fives from the psych team.
A sunny window. Some clouds. Maybe smoke;

peculiar smells he can’t quite grasp. The joke
is, more intense sensation’s what he wanted.
A sunny window. Some clouds may be smoke
or drug effects. Perhaps his room is haunted?

Is more intense sensation what he wanted?
He’ll try out his new body on the wife—
or drug effects, perhaps. His room is haunted:
shadows thrown from someone else’s life.

He’ll try out his new body on the wife,
convincing her it’s necessary death.
Shadows thrown from someone else’s life?
No fucking way. He wouldn’t waste his breath

convincing her. It’s necessary death:
some criminal reduced to organs, parts.
No fucking way he wouldn’t waste his breath:
he needed a new body, a new heart;

some criminal reduced to organs, parts
his brain tries to rewire. The new connections
he needed: a new body, a new heart.
New memories. Drown out old recollections.

His brain tries to rewire the new connections,
the psyche of the dead man. In his skull,
new memories drown out old recollections
(sometimes an empty glass is partly full):

the psyche of the dead man in his skull.
Two weeks of coma were induced for healing.
Sometimes an empty glass is partly full.
He waited to recover sense and feeling.

—F. J. Bergmann

Zombie Hamlet

Between to be and not to be
I pause on the roof of a mall,
looking down on part of me:

a shuffling, slow-motion sea.
I drop a basketball. It falls
between to be and not to be.

Hitting shoulders of zombies,
it ricochets like an orange pinball
as I look down on the part of me

that’s a meat robot. I’m hungry.
Free me of this constant pull
between to be and not to be.

I float above my body.
Brown eyes dull as nut shells. Null.
I look down on a part of me

that’s almost empty, nearly free.
I fall from me to me, I fall
from to be towards not to be
falling towards the rest of me.

—Michael Kriesel


Consensus reached: the colony approves
your motion. Please retire for a while
until the ringing stops, and sight improves.
If symptoms last, your monitor must file
a short request for aid. This is, of course,
contingent on consensus, as you know.
We understand the vast collective force
of many minds can interrupt the flow
of sensory data. You are feeling well,
for we are feeling well: consensus reached.
Your vision’s clear, the ringing was a bell,
the dissonance you felt has slowly leached
      away. Your motion stands; it has become
      no greater than, nor lesser than the sum.

—Albert W. Grohmann

A Voyage(r) Too Far

It was not meant that we should voyage far,
Nor risk the limits of our sanity
Beyond the fragile light that marks our star.

All ignorant of where—& what—we are,
We launched twin probing blips of vanity.
It was not meant that we should voyage far,

Yet those black seas bewitched us like the tar
That took La Brea’s beasts. Humanity,
Beyond the fragile light that marks our star,

May prove no more than fireflies in a jar
Against the mindless void: insanity
It was not meant that we should voyage far

Enough to taste. What dark god’s avatar
Awaits our first breath of profanity
Beyond the fragile light that marks our star?

Dream-maddened poets know … & bear a scar
Of mind that shrieks His inhumanity.
It was not meant that we should voyage far
Beyond the fragile light that marks our star.

We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. —H.P. Lovecraft

—Ann K. Schwader

Rise and Fall of the Illuminati

A light within the shadows casts its noose,
a silver loop around the ancient throat
of every churchyard oak and each remote,
bedraggled cemetery birch and spruce.
When catacombs collapse so stones fall loose
and no one’s left to worship nor to dote
on dear remains, and no one can devote
a thought to ruins that have no further use,
those unremembered sepulchers still glow
and marble mausoleums still reflect
the gleam of every crumbling graven rune.
Though humans disappeared so long ago,
leaving graves and graveyards in neglect,
one light remains—the solitary moon.

—Jacie Ragan