Black Petals Issue #82 Winter, 2018

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
A Nowhere Friend-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Broken Image-Fiction by Andrew Newall
Monster-Fiction by Paloma Palacios
Salvation_Fiction by Scott Dixon, Featured Author
Scream-Fiction by Anthony ('Tony') Lukas
Surviving Montezuma-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist, Chapters 13 & 14
The Foundling-Fiction by Roy Dorman
The Girl Who Isn't Talked About-Fiction by James Gallagher
Beggar's Curse-Poem by Alexis Child
Marco-Three poems from Christopher Hivner
In Line at the Terminal-Four poems by Michael Keshigian
Ghost Poets-Four Poems by Jerry McGinley
Killer Clowns-Four Cryptid Poems by Richard Stevenson

Killer Clowns


Richard Stevenson


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 with teens.


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 night.

Few try to frighten. Most entertain and delight.


They paint their skin whiter than white,

shave off their unibrows. Paint on surprise—

oh my! oh my!—arched ones instead;

Cover hairy hands with white gloves or mittens.


They cover their sharp beak noses with

red rubber balls, and don’t wear clown masks

with rows of sharp teeth and menacing frowns.

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 syringes;

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 three-drip

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 woods.


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 Halloween.




Queensland Tiger


Richard Stevenson


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 plash

of blood, ropey intestines, heart, lungs, liver…

Really, I like to save the savories for last.

What I really like—the main course (drum roll, please)—


is the face and brain. Yeah, sweet meats

for me. Yummy yum yum! Ready, son?

Oh, O.K., sure, take a selfie with my paw

over your shoulder. Send the gif to Mom.


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 tension


as my leg muscles bunch up and

launch me at your chest… Sigh. Did you wanna

make a video, “Queensland Tiger, Take One,”

to impress your family and friends? Here I come!




The Turtle Lake Monster


Richard Stevenson


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 attitude!

You can still give Loch Ness Nessie and Nestor

a run for their money. Become Canada’s

cryptid cash box critter! Don’t be a quitter!


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 just yet.




Vermont Pig Man


Richard Stevenson


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 day,

that Sam ceased to be human that Halloween.


He took to wearing a hollowed pig’s head

over his own. Now he slaughters animals

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 them.


Or poke our pointy probosci in their business

so much. I’ve seen worse table manners among

ordinary kids. We’ve managed to domesticate them.


Richard Stevenson,, 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 poet has 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).

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