Halloween By Gas Light - Poem by Doug Stewart
Gaslight haunts the city, casting a warm, if eerie
Glow over the deeds of men, the acts of women,
And the hidden movements of the unquiet stone
Some wizard used to build an awful castle on the hill
A castle meant for one day’s use by the fey and terrible,
By the lost and careless. Mortals, do not venture here.
This single day of the year, the beasties are loosed
To dance, perchance to feast on the dark gizzards
Of men, and no one is immune, not woman, not child
Not priest, not bishop, and never the Satanic Cardinals
Who ordain the Dark Priests hiding deep underground as
If they were normal, as if they were not the instigators.
Their blind eyes ignore the rise of the undead and the
Near dead and the nearly dead. They sip martinis and
Discuss bloodless philosophers as the living dead seek
Brains to sustain them. Then comes the march of the
Horrors. Warty eastern witches followed by werewolves and
Vampires, and then the otherworldly each playing their role.
Lovecraft and Poe watch from the Judgment Stage, all
Sly smiles and trepidation. It is not what they wrote, but
It is close enough for party rules, close enough to wallow.
Sheridan Le Fanu and Oscar Wilde are catching up and
Behind them M.R. James is conjuring up ghosts and other
Dead losers, while in the kitchen, warming up is the one, the
Only All Seasons Mother of Chaos Band, Ms. Isis Lamashtu’s
Cacophone is in a special fine form tonight, although her
Incisors and spotted blouse betray in scarlet her last meal.
Frankenstein is missing as is Voldemort, they sent their
Regrets via Batmail, “previous engagement” and all that,
Truth is Frank lost the bolt, in Acapulco, together at last.
But if you chance across this Castle on a Hill, you will
Know it by your loss of will and the Jack-o-lantern at every sill,
If you can run away, break Free and run! Run! Your very life
Now depends on your legs and your whispered silence!
Listen to screaming echoes as you stumble through this dance
You’ll never hear this song again outside the confines of this manse
Nor do you want to. Zombies move not quickly, but make rigid guards,
Your body sweats with terror, your feet trip down the stairs, leap yards
Of bannister, jump three roughhewn blocks of stone and hit the very
Center of the creek, Vampires cannot cross it and the Zombies are too slow
Splash your way up the outer bank and run. Oh run before they find stolen
Goods, gems, and gold. But mostly that stake bomb on a proximity fuse.
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