Kids, if you’re trick or treating
without a parent this Halloween,
keep your peeps open. See and be seen.
Stay close to street lights. Travel
Not all the big kids are kids.
Not all the monsters are scary.
Best be wary. Don’t linger or tarry
with the Ronald McDonalds, Crusty the Clowns.
Some clowns travel in posses
in clownish sedans, some in fake black
clown business vans. Watch out for
clowns in cars passing out cards.
Some may be worse monsters than Pogo—
serial killers in clown drag by day,
out trolling the streets as monsters at
Few try to frighten. Most entertain
They paint their skin whiter than white,
shave off their unibrows. Paint on
oh my! oh my!—arched ones instead;
Cover hairy hands with white gloves or
They cover their sharp beak noses with
red rubber balls, and don’t wear clown
with rows of sharp teeth and menacing
Mostly, they look like kids’ party clowns.
They wear eftsoons pantaloons,
long flappy shoes, and fake boutonnieres
that squirt acid instead of water.
Don’t bend for a sniff at their lapels.
Watch out too for Ronald McDonald,
Squeeze-toy burgers and not-so-fake
rubber mallets or rubber gloves and
watch out for little bottles and hankies.
They don’t keep ‘em to blow their
big red rubber noses. Watch for
Red Skelton, sad-faced clowns with
mascara tears. Those are real tattoos!
They mean they’ve already killed
three persons at least! Don’t fall
for their sad, fake entreaties
to help them find lost puppies in the
Kids, the boogie man is cruel and real.
He don’t care what you think;
he don’t care how you feel.
He’d as soon eat you as greet you!
Best be aware of killer clowns;
they don’t growl before they pounce.
They don’t salivate when they see you,
but they’d love to trick you this
Yo! Bipedal boho bozo in the toque,
that’s real cute! The stripes—so original!
Did you think the look-we’re-related act
would get you in the green room with me?
Sorry to disabuse you of the assumption.
I admit it took gumption, but, look…
Sorry, you’re still on the lunch menu.
Glad you could make it. I’m a bit peckish.
Generally, I first like to disembowel
my prey with these handy razor-sharp claws.
Spread out the guts like Christmas bunting.
It’s so festive! All those shades of
red, white, blue…
Ooo, it makes me shiver! The lovely
of blood, ropey intestines, heart, lungs,
Really, I like to save the savories for
What I really like—the main course (drum
is the face and brain. Yeah, sweet
for me. Yummy yum yum! Ready,
Oh, O.K., sure, take a selfie with my paw
over your shoulder. Send the gif to
There, that’s done. I gotta admit
I too have a streak of vanity. I do.
Don’t you love the way my stripes
stop short half way down my back—
like I was a husky puma trying to leap
right out of my skin, to race my outer
tiger to a finish line ahead of death.
I’m pulling out ahead. That steel
as my leg muscles bunch up and
launch me at your chest… Sigh. Did you
make a video, “Queensland Tiger, Take One,”
to impress your family and friends? Here I
The Turtle Lake
The Turtle Lake Monster
hasn’t had a lotta press,
certainly not as much
as Champ or Ogopogo anyway.
Is he really just a sturgeon
who swam up the North Saskatchewan
and stayed on a few decades?
Bottom-dwellin’, surface visitor?
He doesn’t seem to wanna make a splash
in the papers or social media.
Maybe he’s passed on and his kids
doan wanna hang around his crib.
Could he be a surviving plesiosaur
three to nine meters long with no
dorsal fin and a dog or sea horse head?
Wed once, had some sprogs, and left?
Come on, baby, surface for some kippers!
You’ve got a long time before you need
slide into a robe and slippers, and look at
pictures of the missus on some mantelpiece.
Give us the flipper! Express a little
You can still give Loch Ness Nessie and
a run for their money. Become Canada’s
cryptid cash box critter! Don’t be a
When you leave a wake
across the lake, only pilots
in a Cessna can see you, babe.
Lift your head! Show us a smile!
I wanna see teeth! A bumper
grill’s worth at least! Hell, grab a sheep
before you go on the lam…a cow even.
Prove you’re not some lumberin’ bottom-feeder.
We wanna put money in the meter,
Come and see you swim laps;
jump like a whale, wiggle your tail.
Show us a perfect tumble turn at least!
We’ll give you a better name. How about
Turtle Lake Tortellini, dare devil supreme?
You could outdo Evil Knievel or Fellini
without leaving home. Don’t You Tube surf
Vermont Pig Man
Sam Harris went missing
the day before Halloween 1951
from the hills above Northfield, Vermont.
Those who saw him enter the woods
say he had eggs in his hands and
was looking to commit mischief.
The community combed those woods
and the area around Devil’s Washbasin
for weeks after he failed to come home.
Some folks say the Devil himself abducted
and possessed the poor lad that fateful
that Sam ceased to be human that Halloween.
He took to wearing a hollowed pig’s head
over his own. Now he slaughters
and eats their innards, drinks their blood.
He is responsible for the disappearance
of other children in the years since 1951,
and wanders those hills to this day.
Some even believe the Devil swapped
out old Sam’s head for a pig’s head,
that he’s now a hybrid monster cryptid,
who settled down with a sow in some
cave or underground pig pen out of town
and had a family of pig boys and pig girls.
They not only have stiff bristly hair
but curly tails and pig noses and ears,
and will eat anything a pig eats!
They say a pig is at least as smart
as a pet dog. Maybe we could catch
and domesticate Sam and his offspring.
Put ‘em to work snufflin’ for truffles.
Or maybe we could just get used to their
adorable faces and try not to snort around
Or poke our pointy probosci in their
so much. I’ve seen worse table manners
ordinary kids. We’ve managed to
Stevenson, firstname.lastname@example.org, of
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada , wrote BP #82’s poems, “Killer Clowns,” “Queensland
Tiger,” “The Turtle
Lake Monster,” and “Vermont Pig Man” (+ BP #80’s poems, “Bondegezu…”, “Donkey
Woman,” “Napes,” and “The Yeren’s Complaint”; BP #76’s poems, “Honey Island
Swamp Monster,” “Skin Walker,” and “Ucu.”) From a series called Cryptid Shindig, the poems from this
collection concern cryptid encounters, ET lore, or unexplained phenomena;
others have appeared in three published volumes in the series: Why Were All the
Werewolves Men? (Thistledown
Press, 1994), Nothing Definite Yeti (Ekstasis
Editions, 1999), Take Me to Your Leader!
(Bayeux Arts Inc., 2003), and in a New & Selected volume called Bigfoot Boogie.
Retired from a
thirty-year gig teaching English and Creative Writing at Lethbridge College, the
published thirty books in that time. His most-recently published books are
haikai poetry collections: Fruit Wedge
Moon (Hidden Brook Press, 2015),
The Heiligen Effect (Ekstasis
Editions, 2015), Rock, Scissors, Paper: The Clifford Olson Murders (a long poem from Dreaming Big
Publications, 2017) and A Gaggle of
Geese (haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, zappai, and haikai sequences from
Alba Publishing in the U.K.). Other poems from the cryptid critter series have
appeared in Aphelion, The Literary
Hatchet, On Spec, Liquid Imagination Online, etc. (25+ mags so far) and
in 3 previously published collections: Why
Were All The Werewolves Men? (1994). Nothing Definite Yeti (1999), and Take
Me to Your Leader! (2003).