Slightly Haunted Houses

Digital illustration: Transmitter

Perpetual Haunts

Children always know where danger lies—the goblin in the corner who’ll surprise

And bite you on the ankles as you pass—grownups forget to fear it, though, alas!

For in the passage of the years they’ve grown to fear only the earthly, and bemoan

Mere politics and taxes, while a child retains the wisdom that the brute and wild

Still hides among the passages of day, waiting to snag unwary young at play.

On Halloween, adults recall but faint and humorous details of ancient taint

And treachery, the light dust, if you will, of ghostly tracks upon the windowsill

Or campfire tales meant less to warn than joke at quaking children by the fires’ smoke,

Forgetting that what was, remains still here: the monster that can swallow all is Fear.

Digital illustration: Receiver

Haunted Youth

digital illustration from a photoThat House on Our Street

The doorway was a toothy maw, the casement was an eye,

and all the children crept in awe each time they must pass by,

regardless what they heard or saw; they knew that they would die

if anything at all should draw them in, no matter why,

For bogeys, fiends and ghastly ghouls inhabited the place,

entrapping and devouring fools, and set on them apace;

those children who had left their schools and homes without a trace

now lay decaying in deep pools as dark as outer space,

Dug in the basement deep below, a catacomb of holes

filled up with youth who’d tried to go into this cage of souls

and found, not fun adventures, no, but rather, evil moles

of spirit-kind hid here–and so, for them the town bell tolls;

Lost children wail twixt yonder walls at night while moonlight creeps,

and roam like mists down endless halls while all around them sleeps;

no knowing parent ever calls again; the mansion keeps

its secrets tight, and silence falls, far as the deepest deeps;

At least, the children’s fears said so; the legend kept in thrall

the children thereabouts, who’d go timidly past it all

at anxious speed along the row, lest they lose their recall

to safety. As grownups all know: life’s scary when you’re small!

Happily Haunted Houses

graphite drawing

Her Monument

In a strange little homestead lit by electric light

is a passing builder’s fancy floating in the neon night;

the spirit of the artisan flits by, nocturnal blue,

and shoots the moon by swooping through the ashes in the flue;

she drifts in starry glimmerings beyond the crooked room

where comet dust is settling on the folly of her tomb. O,

let lie the tools of wisdom where your little homestead rises,

and cry Hurrah! for moonlit nights

and foolish enterprises.

Whether Discomposed or Decomposing

mixed media + digital imagePardon My Snoring

My lead-lined eyelids will insist it’s time to go to sleep,

So don’t be too insulted if I leave to count some sheep;

I find you fascinating and quite scintillating too,

So please don’t take it wrong if I should conk right out on you.

Your dazzling personality and brilliance are so bright

It pains me to, but go I must, and bid a fond Good-Night!

Pay no attention to the way I’m backing out the door,

And know your super-excellence could never be a bore.

I sigh, I yawn! But, for all that, it can’t be you that tires:

I’m sure it seldom happens that your audience expires!oil pastel on paper

Another Kind of Safety

tree hollow + text

. . . always lurking . . .

It’s not only in the comforting arms of cute-and-cuddliness that I feel secure. While yesterday’s post can hold no shocking revelations for anyone who knows the least bit about me, today’s will have no greater surprises when I say that I am also in love with the dark. Not just literal, opposite-to-light dark as in nighttime and dense drawings made with compressed charcoal and velvety mezzotints. Meta-darkness. Scary stories and crumbling skeletons, underside of reality, unsolvable mystery, doom and despair darkness. Never fear, I am still Miss Goody Two-Shoes and hate the danger and pain that all of those sorts of darkness represent in their actuality.

What I love is the frisson of flirting with darkness through art, at a safe arm’s-length remove, and especially so when I am the puppeteer controlling all of the fun. It might be handled with flat-out gleeful ghoulishness or it might be with a much more lighthearted and jocund approach, depending on my mood, but I’ve long been a known prowler in the territory of haunted houses and haunted hearts.

digital painting

I can sleepwalk these halls or crawl them with wakeful deliberation, but one way or another I always revisit . . .

So whether you diagnose me as a creepy would-be villain or see me as I tend to see myself, a collector of peculiarities and curiosities and the dark inner well in all of us that incubates such things, invents such things–and finds some catharsis in the vicarious observation and manipulation of them. That shallow wading in them and climbing over and out of them unscathed, therein lies entertainment, perhaps–but certainly catharsis and yes, another kind of safety.

night in the park + text

. . . and as she sidled out the door at last, she said in a very soft voice, "Good night" . . .