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Entries:

1st Place: Dances In Hell
2nd Place: Requiem
3rd Place: Mirror's Reflection

Runners-Up:

Beautiful Darkness
Nightjar
Flagellated
Sacrificial Ghosts of Love
A Beautiful Evil
Murder Mystery
Emotions
Life Not Worth Living
24 HOURS FROM TUSCALOOSA
Nocturne of Dead Cities
Nocturne of Menace and Magic
Nocturne of Chthonic Dark
Nocturne of Virtual Gaslight
Pixellated
I Will Not Mourne
Where Love Once Shared An Hour
Death's Requiem
Demigogs Dream
Dreams
Just A Dream? Or Maybe Reality?
Poisoned Lineage
The Dream Remains
The Pen Is Mightier
Somewhere...
Dream Murder

Dances In Hell
David Bowlin

Throughout the night, the faeries scream
their discordant pleas
Their broken bodies bent asunder, hell's fury
smiting them down
Pain and rage dance in their eyes while glorious
fire lights heaven
Thrashing in anguish so clear and bright, they defy
every mortal man
"Patience" they whisper one to another, voices
cracked and crisp
"For tomorrow he comes, our Savior and friend,"
scorched eyes pleading
Fear gives way to hope as the angels cry from above,
balming their pain...
... The rain has come, the fire is dead, the faeries released
into the dream of another while the dragon sleeps on...

REQUIEM
Michael Pendragon

The church bells cry a mournful knoll
The lychegate opens wide
An icy chill engulfs my soul
My one true love has died
The willow bends above the grave
The parson bows his head
Still I can think of nothing save
That all I love lies dead
Thorough the vale a mournful sigh
Rings o'er the dew-fraught mead
Dark clouds hang bleak on winter's sky
My heart's true love is dead
How can I greet the coming dawn
From out an empty bed
Why must I duly linger on
When all life's joys have fled?
The years drag on with hollow mirth
And when I too have died
Consign my spirit to the earth
And lay me by her side

Mirror's Reflection (the story of my life)
David Bowlin

Surrounded by everyone I love, yet I'm alone.

I'll always be this way, I've come to understand that, though I don't accept it because acceptance is an admission of weakness and I'm not weak.

Surrounded by everyone I love, yet I'm cold.

There's nothing I can say to describe or explain the emotions raging through me, this complete and total annihilation of my soul, a waveless pain.

Surrounded by everyone I love, yet I'm forgotten.

Burning inside, a fire so intense my heart has been scorched from Honor, Duty, Loyalty, and Devotion, wishing only for a release I can never possess.

Surrounded by everyone I love, yet I'm damned.

Time cannot comfort the torment of a lost son of perdition, a son without hope of redemption, for Time is the one river I can never sail, a river forever lost.

Surrounded by everyone I love, yet I'm dead.

Release, blessed darkness would be my most welcome companion, my lover and the sweetest kiss from the Princess, a treasure to be coveted beyond Salvation.

Surrounded by everyone I love.

Yet. Dead.

Inside. Inside, out.

Mama, take this gun, toss it far from me, for I won't use it this side of the Gates or Gate, pearls or chains, I'm gone, surrounded yet shrouded, bleeding, broken.

Surrounded by everyone I love, yet I'm unseen.

Alone.

A reflection, there, gone, a mirror's breath.

Alone.

Forgotten.

BEAUTIFULL DARKNESS
Arthur J. Starr

Maggots crawling from split open flesh. And my pouring, squelching entrails tighten around my neck, my eyes they bulge and bleed and with immense pressure they pop like squashed bugs, and dribble down my face .My brain is on fire within my head, and scarlet fountains pump from my ears, my entrails now they hang me high, like Judas from a tree I am hung, my legs they dangle and twitch as if possessed.

But that night with the milky moonlight illuminating my corpse, I look somewhat beautiful, I glisten, and parts of me dangle and sway in the delicate breeze, and leaves from the tree float around me like confetti, and the night slowly wraps around my frail bloody body like a long flowing elegant robe, greedy flies they buzz around my head forming a dark halo or a bloody crown of thorns, and my shadow it gently moves as if in a slow dance silhouetted against the background of the wrinkled ancient tree which is now coated as if with red rouge.

Tonight I behold beauty like a rare twinkling precious stone within the darkness of death.

NIGHTJAR
Arthur J. Starr

The Nightjar awaits my precious soul, as death stealthily approaches my bedside, dark excitement   begins to pump through this small bird filling it to the brim and eventually spilling over as a ghastly familiar whippoorwill song of great anticipation, of what is surely nigh, for I feel I have endured my last day of hell on earth, and I pray that very soon, I will be greeted by my feathered friend, who will pluck my soul out of dark forbidding   skies, and thus deliver me to my ultimate resting place.” can you hear him “, he is screaming for my soul, for my time has come,pray prepare nightjar, prepare, for my ordeal of life is ended, for the  serenity of death I now seek.

FLAGELLATED
Charles A. Gramlich

Mouths of Sorrow Tasting of Pearl
Ivory Coin Lyre Winds
Voices are Torn White with Fear
Drum and Kiss Whips of Wind
blood
sutures tongues
bones
Lace and Silk Wet with Love
Caress to Sweat Spent and Empty
Black Lips Whore Eyes
Fail to Oblivion Sweet rotted Red

SACRIFICIAL GHOSTS OF LOVE
Charles A. Gramlich

I saw her eyes there
whispering ghosts of love
and yet I never noted
how her mandala gaze was stained
with bloody, broken angels
with blackened wings from which
silver betrayal dripped
She offered me an easy choice
take my own bullet or take her kiss
and oh that kiss was sweetly warm
sharp as any venom
with forever promised in her lips
It was years before I knew
I should have taken the bullet.

A Beautiful Evil
Dave Bowlin

Rain falls in my heart, a broken clay pot that holds
only the soft echoes of remembrance
When laughter ruled the day and the soft warmth of
her bosom was a comfort and sighing breeze
In the darkest hours of the maddening night when
the Faceless Stranger purred outside my door
Her beating heart in tune with mine a comfort greater
than cherished ambrosia and sweeter than honeyed wine
Cherished beyond measure and adored above the
heavenly spawn was the Lady of my Dream

...

Gone, gone in the cruel and unrelenting light of Reality
and once again I am left alone to face the certainty
That my Lady, my Love has faded beyond the reach
of mortality and answers to a call I cannot hear
For such is the breadth of one life, so long yet so swift devoid
of all but pain until memories fade to sleep once again
And I hold her, my Life, my Love, once again this side of all that's
unknown and uncertain except her nightly embrace

...

Sleeping with the dead is a beautiful evil that cannot be learnt or known
except by those left behind to remember and to dream

Murder Mystery
David Halliday

Two lovers are fucking each other to death. In a house
on a point jutting into the harbour. The small
peninsula sways like a wooden dock with the motion of
their bodies. Small waves flee across the bay. The
lovers watch indifferently as their bodies near
exhaustion. Their voices rise up to clash. I, the
woman begins. Never, her lover responds. Boats tied up
at the dock become suddenly startled. A new planet
passes in front of the moon. The lovers accidentally
catch a glimpse inside each other and flinch. The
woman's back arches as the male's chin rises. And both
collapse into each other. And sleep. And retreat into
their corpses. Later that morning she slips out of bed
and phones the police.

Emotions
Hanna Fosh

emotions run though me, deeper I cry,
forever you hold my mind, my body, my soal,
my life needs no-one in it, with you i die,
i feel no pain when i'm near you,
i feel no hurt when see you,
all i say is your name,
all i see is blood,
all i need is your life,
if i breath again its because of you,
if i ever lose my away,
if i find my way though pain and hurt,
with you my life is durt.

Life Not Worth Living
Hanna Fosh

A life not worth living,
A day to make it right,
Nothing will work,
No-one can save,
A tear in my eye,
A dagger in my soal,
Forever in your soal,
We've never been apart,
Lost in a world of anger and hurt,
Never see you face again,
The worlds a better place,
Unfound savouirs,
Lost in lies,
Dreams and pasts,
Haunt the future,
Future no better,
Only gets worse,
A life not worth living,
Faces haunted by the past.

24 HOURS FROM TUSCALOOSA
Hertzan Chimera

I wake up next to Miles Davis, in a coffin full of sound. In my eyes, bronze stakes unplug me from the horror of mindsight, the synapses lift away from each other as the brain turns to sagging folds of cloth on the operatic streets of Saskatchewan.

things have gone wrong so many times following these wretched ‘local’s

then there he goes –

I follow the young Chinaman onto the Tube

Headed east, remember a room

A lonely room where he plays his game

Operatic breasts lifted by her concert pianist’s sweating hands

He slopes off, ear fucked by Miles Davis, think of Tutu, think of Aura, think of…

White noise, an open armed invitation to dine on the fire breather.

The way his ebony hair moves.

The way the trumpet stirs in me something tainted, something –

I watch him for hours lying in his fragrant decay

Beautiful flower of the east.

But that is not why I send you this – a silent line missing from reality. Blood hits the fog wet cobbles. My man servant kneels by my head and shows me a picture of a child in chains. Tongue whipped to death by grief. The lake of blood, flowing.

NOCTURNE OF DEAD CITIES
Joseph Pryce

Mad Mahler melody, intense Adagio,

Swirls through the pale thin mists of my own Bruges-la-Morte,

Majestic moonlit realm where buttress forests freeze

Like coalescent slag from night’s unplumbed abysses,

Till congenial visions pall and yield their plunder

To the dismal day’s ennui.

Perfervid pilgrimage within a scholar’s steel-barred study:

Dead Viollet-le-Duc's grand elevations scanned

In moldering fat tomes, long-orphaned prints, frail photos

That enmaze the fevered mind, till carillons announce:

Go, gather shadows fleet and summon silence pure!

Soon darling demons throng the halls of nascent twilight;

Fleet, frail phantoms reel athwart the azure’s fading vault,

Now dimmed down almost to a phosphorescent demi-monde—

Come forth, full-fledged for flight, Astarte Syriaca!

Queen of Gothic Night, proclaim: no life without the dream!

NOCTURNE OF MENACE AND MAGIC
Joseph Pryce

Squirming, panting, painterly hot-orange
Of our day’s-end star—
Above sleek chariots
Whose contrails weave tight patterns of slate-gray
And wispy white in hypnotizing skies
Now leaking a proleptic lead—
Relumes, as with a dying man’s last breath,
Wide walls and wasteground,
From that final palette-patch
Heaped high with gouts of amber-gold…
But twilight spreads, invincible, through worlds
Where hustlers swarm; in motley,
Louche assassins lurch from doorways,
Stride like prating pirates
From the heaving cardboard mansions,
Throb to eerie rhythms
Spawned in sadique side-shows.
Garish store-fronts bray and brag,
Pimps pistol-whip recalcitrance in working-girls,
And rancid rat-face shunts the swag,
Arrays the fleshly folderol, fatidic firearms,
Wondrously emollient potions
Birthing bliss that glimmers and seduces
Through the florid neon's Monster-Concert…
And when it seems one might explode—
Descends cool veiling mist,
A moody prelude pirouetting on the ghostly ivory,
Symphonic conflagrations melting midnight,
The prismatic fountains raining clear refreshment,
Lunar carousels, kaleidoscopes on holiday—
Obligatory barcarolles—
Fatidic revelations teased from sempiternal dragons...
All these wondrous things, and so much more.

NOCTURNE OF THE CHTHONIC DARK
Joseph Pryce

The forced march down black hours to three A.M.,
Past puffing, heaving piles of refuse
Barricading back-streets, blunting frosted winds;
Down hell-holes consecrate to Ashtoroth they pour
Until the coiled and creeping tunnels
Spew the fresh consignment midmost of the maze
Where leering ghouls already batten on the finger-food
Which flecks the wilderness of prison-bars.
A monstrous, manic organ wails,
Beyond baroque, exceeding dark excess,
Till prowling passage-work ascends from whispers
Through the wail of writhing modulations
Roaring, raging, savaging,
A predator upon the verge,
Eruption’s temblor yearning for release.
Then back downtown,
Where, noting well the ragged, glinting edges
Of the brandished menace,
I deploy my stained-glass piece,
A pilgrim changing places
With his murderer.

NOCTURNE OF VIRTUAL GASLIGHT
Joseph Pryce

Cool gaslight flares discreetly,
Rousing tints on Gothic glass.
In unmolested slumber rest
The monstrous spires aloft;
Through autumn evening's laggard mist,
Canzonas thrust their startling staves;
Mad music rages 'round the nave arcades,
Till weary echoes seep through Royal Portals...
Lost souls line the weed-choked gutters,
Grunting sagely through frail globes of spittle...
Shadow pipe-dreams, phantoms, when official night
Illumes the Monster-City's desolation...
Muzzled cretins foul the flooded roadways...
Puddles shiver, ordure drowning star-points.
Withered blossoms perish on the curtain
Of the Kalpa falling on our dearest night.

Pixellated
Michael A. Arnzen

A boy spent his life
watching TV -- his eyes
so close to the screen
sometimes his eyelashes
crackled with static
as he did the dot crawl.

He thought he could see
the truth in the pixels
the way a kid might find
his secret self hiding
in the pores of his palm
with a magnifying glass.

In the hotspots of the tube
the colors were brilliant
dazzling white red green
while he was gawking at
a Baywatch bathing suit
or behind some bad news.

No sex, no violence
could distract him from
scanning the grain of
dancing dots until all
the power went out and
he found himself peering
into the blackest of blacks
trying to see behind nothing
the way the blind do at night.

And when the electricity
returned and the TV still
remained pitch black
he yanked the cord out
of the tube's back like
some horrifying umbilicus
torn free of the baby's belly
and plugged himself into
the wall to turn back on
the lightshow in his eyelids
if only for a second
before someone on
the other end decided
to change his channels
just like that.

I WILL NOT MOURNE
Michael Pendragon

I will not mourne for thee, my love
Tho from my side thou'rt torn
To pass into a world above
Where ev'ry Sorrow born
Of Earth-wrought care
And Timeworn strife
That strove to wear
The joys of Life
From out your chill and wasting bed
Doth fade before your cold, closed eyne
And all the tears you've ever shed
Have fled like dreams from Summer wine
- They shall not be revived by mine
I will not grieve for thee, my dear
Tho thou art stiff and cold
Death's lamentations wound my ear
When I can never hold
My life and comfort in mine arms
Through all the endless death-fraught years
The maggot-throng around me swarms
Instilling Time's relentless fears
Within my weary, stricken heart
'Til I would sure be torn apart
In tearing up the earthen veil
That hides a body, deathly pale
From which I cannot fail to part
No, better shalt thou be forgot
I'll bury thee without a stone
Within some Time-forgotten spot
Your hallowed plot shall stand alone
-- My Earthly lot is drear enow
But thine is now Eternal Bliss
Thus o'er your corse I gently bow
But to bestow a parting kiss

WHERE LOVE ONCE SHARED AN HOUR
Michael Pendragon

My years like long abandoned railroad ties
Roll back beyond some dim-remembered dawn
Where stolen tears, from childhood's stillborn eyes
Wash spirits from the chill, primordial dust
As I hurl paeans at the bone-blanched skies
And curse the demon-god who deems I must
Endure 'til all I've loved in life have gone
Grey Time, with blacken'd footstep, drives the hours
Like brindled cattle 'cross a dying plain
And we, like faded scents from last year's flowers
Dissolve in snowflake lacings from night's ceil
And I would kiss your lips 'neath moonlit bowers
But like this morning's thoughts, no longer real
We two shall never pass that way again

DEATH'S REQUIEM
Michael Pendragon

O' Death, Thou'rt gone!
Thy peaceful dream of sleep
Wast riven from my heart --
Life's cares push on
Whilst I forever weep
My Soul's Immortal part
Fond Death, Thou'rt gone
No more to die!
Thou dear departed dream
In youth I did embrace --
Thou didst belie
The horror of God's scheme
With promises of Grace
Sweet Death, goodbye
I dream in vain
Of Thy forbidden kiss
That set my Spirit free --
Never again
To know of earthly bliss
For Thou art lost to me
Yet I remain
Fair Death, Thou'rt gone
No corse Thee've left behind
To wither neath a stone --
With each new dawn
I wake once more to find
That I am left alone
O' Death, Thou'rt gone

DEMIGOGS DREAM
Matt J. Hewitt

In the milky moonlight moving stealthily amidst the stripped skeletal like trees, hordes of fiery demons lurk, glowing like orange red wisps of fire, they search for the one who has been reborn, for the one who has lived amongst them like one of them for many a year, the one of great disguise, the one named the headhunting beast by many a foe, the one who is silence, the one who is as dark as the deepest night, the one who is death itself, must be hunted down, and slain, laid low, as an impostor, a cheat, and a fraud , the one named Demigog , must drown in a river of his own blood .He alone that night prays to his new Gods, the gods who have tamed his wicked side during one of his deepest dreams, and then he returneth as changed in mind, and body. In this deep coma like dream he squints through the brightest of lights, and he can see things that fill his heart with exultation, lifted his spirits high, so that he can fly with the ravens of the night, and visit the many temples that lie to the south faraway, and which are sacred to all. It is said that in these temples many a great fearsome beast has been laid to rest, just by one icy stare of the ancient temples fare guardians, and these same fare guardians have now tamed the great once merciless one, who is now as soft as the sacrificial lamb. But of all this he knows that his once friends the evil others will never understand, they could not, and will not, ever believe the story of his dream. So now he prays with all of his might, he seeks the help of the dream guardians to slay his once friends, now enemies, just by the stare of his own crimson eyes, this the miraculous stare is what he seeks, but no where amongst his prayers can this miracle be retrieved, for the only place it can ever be found again, is within the deep dream world of Demigog, which lies buried within his subconscious. So now he must sleep, and he will talk, and reason, with the guardians, and he will, he must, return with the secret of the stare.

Or he will without any doubt be slaughtered.

DREAMS
M.J.Hewitt.

May I tell you of my dreams?

I dream of the heavens being besieged by fiery demons, desperate for revenge,

I dream of ancient sepulchres torn open, releasing trapped hungry spirits to wander, and wander, constantly having to shield their eyes from the bright light of day, praying for their ally night to arrive quickly, so that they can wallow in the cool darkness.

I dream of hells legions meeting and discussing their battle plans against the great white army of Christ, who they seek with an insatiable appetite to overthrow, and destroy, thus reducing the white army of Christ to be servants and slaves

I dream of the coming of Christ, and of his decision to send us all to the bubbling, bone melting depths of hell, for in his eyes you see we are all sinners. I dream of the devil rubbing his hands together, licking his lips, unable to wait a moment longer for our arrival, his excitement almost beginning to rupture his scaly serpent like body.

You may nod your head and disagree but I can tell you that all these dreams have been laid before me, and they slowly unravel behind my closed eyes, at the moment remaining a secret to all of mankind, but not for long I fear, not for long, I think soon they all will be reality, just wait and see, not long, for the time is nigh.

JUST A DREAM? OR MAY BE A REALITY?
M.J.Hewitt.

Shrouded by darkness I am drowning in the decadence of a familiar dream, floating over fields of decaying frozen corpses, glassy eyed, dead hands grope towards the angry looking skies, as if trying to capture their fleeing souls, or beckon to me for help, pleading with me not to let them die. Empty human shells they rest in silence, today no birds will sing in the skies, an unreal morbid silence reigns, until Suddenly a jagged sharp flash pierces the belly of the gloomy looking clouds, and a blood red rain begins to pour down onto the dead, and quickly they become islands resting amidst bloody seas. I begin to cry, for my heart it aches within me, to see all these innocents dead, tears of blood fall from my eyes, and mingle with the blood that is falling in rivers from the gloomy looking skies. Quickly I float away from this carnage, for I can not bare a sight such as this any longer, up, and up through gloomy blankets of clouds I fly, but I am cloaked in a dark suit of grief, that hangs around me, still, up and up, I travel, until I enter a total umbra darkness, which lies far above the sickening scenes that are now far far below, but even here there is no escape from the darkness of death, for glowing, wailing souls soar past me in every direction, searching for loved ones who they will never find,searching for any god, searching for any glimmer ,or morsel of hope, but their seems to be nothing , I wish I could help them, but to them I remain totally unseen, they are in one world ,and I in another, is this the future I observe through the cloudy window of my dreams, or just a mere ,sick ,depressing fantasy ,created by a warped, over stressed brain, the answer to this I suppose I will never attain, or may be one day my dreams may unfold in front of me in reality,of this only old father time will tell.

Poisoned Lineage
Monica A. Caples

His father's shadow -- the curse,
Venomous hiss, in his name.
King, for better -- or worse.
Victim to Fate's cruel game.

Well of shadows with writhing souls;
Hall of captive spirits -- here.
Pit of torments, paying tolls
To screaming mouths, ringing fear.

Ferremortis, soft Thanatos,
The lord of shadows, sunlight sees.
Stronger he is, more than those --
Power-hungry, deities.

Chilling touch like threads of frost,
Outwards reaching for the fire.
Aching heart, lonely -- lost;
Distant freedom -- his desire.

Kingdom held in youthful hands;
Tortured souls belong to him.
Lightless.  Empty.  Haunted lands.
Future decision, by whim.

Mighty death-bringer, the sire.
Desolate.  Heartsick, the son.
Shoulder'd the realm of the liar.
Unfair, still, duty done.

His father's shadow -- the curse.
Venomous hiss, in his name.
A King, for better -- or worse.
Victim to Fate's cruel game.

The Dream Remains
Rie Sheridan

...on the edges of the senses
like the taste of blood in the
back of the throat.

Fingers ache from broken nails
shredded on concrete paths
under a scarlet moon.

Clothes pool in ragged puddles
at the foot of a bed
muddied and leaf-strewn.

Vague shapes swirl within
black and white memories
tinged with crimson.

She huddles at the foot of
the wreckage, clutching her knees
as shudders rack naked limbs

what has she done to leave
strands of golden tresses
caught between her teeth?

The Pen is Mightier
Rie Sheridan

It sits on my desk
Like a welcome lover
A wisping black curl with
A golden tip bloodied
By India ink and
Poisoned words.

I have killed thousands with
Its innocuous aid
Murdered the innocent and
Punished the guilty.
Its innocence is tainted
With a despot s power.

Heads have rolled
To rest at the feet
Of drunken warlords.
Children have screamed
In baths of fire
I am a writer, and
My pen rules the world.

SOMEWHERE...
Sarah Crabtree

in those dark recesses
of my mind,
deep inside,
I hear a tap
drip
drip
dripping.
Echoing
within
white-tiled walls
and urine-stained
bowls...I open my eyes to the ten o'clock news.
Two policemen
in profile
stand silhouetted
against the wall of the
House of Death,
On the day a woman is condemned to ten life sentences.
As I push the button
the screen image
disintegrates
through its starfield
to a single
dot.

DREAM MURDER
Steven L. Shrewsbury

I've killed my dream
It lies bleeding on the ground
Torn asunder, rent to the spine
Having perished at my hands
From the digits of its creator
They came for my dream
Moreover, I refused to let them burn it
Like witches or albums so dire
What I gave life, I can destroy
I killed my dream last night
Pink eyes look up at me
From amidst bloody pages
Wondering why the life is gone
The dream cannot ask me why
For I have taken his tongue
I killed my dream last night