Black Petals Issue #72 Summer, 2015

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Brutal-Fiction by A. M. Stickel, Editor
Chaos in Corollary-Fiction by A. M. Stickel, Editor
In Dreams, There Is No Time-Fiction by George Gad Economou
Nuncapisco-Fiction by A. M. Stickel, Editor
Ocean Life-Fiction by Lael Braday
Onward Traveler-Fiction by Kathleen Wolak
The Beach House-Fiction by Roy Dorman
The Weeping Man-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Poetry & Prose by Alexis Child
Poetry by John Frazee
Poetry by Denny Marshall
Poetry by Jeffrey Park
Poetry by Dr. Mel Waldman



By A.M. Stickel: Real & Cliché Horror



By A.M. Stickel, © 2002, edited 2015


Sitting around the campfire one night,

We listened to the pop and crackle,

And watched images conjured by smoke.

As we spoke of all our favorite fires,

The ghosts of past burnings were resurrected:

Mad Nero fiddled above the flames of Rome;

Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked a lantern, and inflamed Chicago;

Krakatoa erupted in a shock that rocked the ocean;

The 1906 Quake shook California, and incinerated San Francisco;

The Burning Man Rally was spawned in Nevada’s Desert.

My mind backtracked beyond pre-Salem witch trials

To the burning of one person in the Middle Ages;

Because her saintly voices told her it was the only way,

A teen-aged farm girl went untimely to the stake

For riding in armor on a horse in front of an army,

Going to war to bring peace upon the Fleur de Lis.

Betrayed by guardians of the fortress of her faith,

Banished to darkness, awaiting a rescue that never came,

The fiery Joan was offered unto and met her King at last—

On a hot date, in an ecstatic interlude beyond desire…

Toasting marshmallows for “s’mores” that night

Reminded me how sweet the perfected passion is

Of a soul whose memory still rises up and melts hate.

No one ever burned like Joan of Arc, no one…


Above, I’ve provided a poetic example of true horror, the kind familiar to most of us. This issue is heavy on the poetry, so this sample of mine came to mind. Turn to BP #72’s poetry section for more (and perhaps, better) examples. Even our columnist, Chris Friend, sent along 2 poems this time.

Movies, however, are another matter. I usually skip the serial killer and chainsaw stuff, and surf for monsters and aliens—especially if they’re out in the countryside. Then, when I arrive, I’m often disappointed because some director told the actors to do all or one of the following when fleeing the scary scene: (1) scream, cry, trip; (2) leave escape vehicle windows rolled down and/or drop the keys, and then stall the engine or back into mud/sand/snow, and/or crash into a tree; (3) stop to bury fallen comrades; (4) pick the creepiest, most dilapidated refuge; (5) enjoy the final minutes of life with booze and tobacco and/or drugs, then have stupid arguments (or worse, act on a love connection); (6) fight each other instead of the monster; (7) fall asleep on watch; (8) cater to picky eaters who would rather starve than eat group rations; (9) don’t change into clean clothes when they become available; and (10) don’t have the haunted house/person exorcised in time to prevent tragedy, since science says there’s a rational explanation. Government/top 1% is always behind whatever horror befalls us onscreen, of course, and that old excuse “for military purposes” (or as a result of developing the ultimate weapon) never seems to grow stale…

Besides Ken Crist and myself, this issue’s sea-of-time navigators are: Lael Braday, Roy Dorman, George Economou, and Kathleen Wolak. Remember, if you submit work and your spam filter is set too high, you won’t get our release request in time to be in the issue. Our featured poet is Alexis Child, and we also have poems by John Frazee, Denny Marshall, Jeffrey Park, and Dr. Mel Waldman. Thanks all!

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