Black Petals Issue #80, Summer, 2017

Mars-News, Views and Commentary

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Andrew's War-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Down at the Hardware Store-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Excision-Fiction by Paul Strickland
Rise-Fiction by Mike Mulvihill
Surviving Montezuma, Chapters 9 & 10-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
The Bugbear in the Darksome Chamber-Fiction by Charles C. Cole
The Critter in the Tin-Fiction By K. B. Updike Jr.
Bondegezu, Tree Kangaroo and 3 other poems by Richard Stevenson

Chris Friend-Summer, 2017


Happy summer from Mars!

“No point crying over spilt milk.” While we’ve all heard that cliché, in folklore one shouldn’t waste time in crying over spilled milk because the fairies will lap it up. Fairy lore says that they love milk and are believed to keep magical cattle to quench their constant thirst for it. Other fairies steal milk from the cows of mortal men, sometimes draining them dry.

In Ireland it was considered a good idea to dip a thumb into a pail of milk and make a cross on the cow’s flank as a bane against fairy attack. Some vampires and witches were also believed to drink a cow dry.

Spilled milk being left out for the fairies may be a relic of pouring milk on the ground as a libation for a variety of spirits. It was thought that if these offerings were not made to the fairies, they might even tip over the milk pail. Sometimes it was considered wise to pour milk into rock hollows to feed the wandering fairies and other spirits.

The belief in leaving milk or cream out for house fairies is quite widespread within folklore. Good Irish wives would usually leave some in the churn as an offering. Leaving cookies and milk out for Santa Claus may be related to these beliefs. Occasionally a hot coal was dropped into the churn to keep the greedier fairies from stealing too much milk.

Milk has a long history of being an important food and is an obvious symbol of motherhood. The stars were believed to be milk spilled from the breasts of the cosmic mother. This is the likely source for the name, the Milky Way.

Milk has a clear association with the moon, the moon being either made of green cheese, or even being a great pitcher that waxes and wanes as it fills and then spills its contents. In Russian folklore the spirit of the moon is known as Miesiac or Mesiats; she marries the sun every summer. He abandons her during the winter but returns to her in the spring.


Given the vast popularity of superstar Brad Cooper, I thought I might do a little review of one of his less known films, The Midnight Meat Train (2008, 100 minutes). Based on a Clive Barker short story by the same name, it centers around a photographer who witnesses an attempted assault on the subway. Cooper’s character needs some hot photos for a big show at a local gallery, so becomes entangled with murders that seem to be happening on the subway. Just why the victims are being slaughtered is even stranger. Many film shots are a cold steely blue, suggesting a morgue or butcher shop. And the murder scenes are quite graphic. With its handsome superstar, and based on a well-known author’s work, it is assured a cult following. With Brook Shields as the curator of the museum and British actor Vinnie James as the serial killer, this will definitely appeal to the splatter-punk crowd. I also recommend Clive Barker’s BOOKS OF BLOOD (First Edition), which features this short story. The film was directed by Ryuhei Kitamura. Again, happy summer, earthlings.


The Empress


Nature covers the land

In a green velvet dress

Clothing the contours

Of her voluptuous body

Promiscuous in her growth.


The Temple of Colors


Green is the shrine

Of the frog-headed goddess;

Blue is the color

Of Shiva the destroyer;

Red is the bloody shroud

Of the sun;

Purple is the veil

Between worlds;

Orange is the mask

Of autumn;

Pink becomes

The albino fetus;

White is the

Pearl of the mother.


Chris Friend,, of Parkersberg, W.Va, wrote the BP #80 poems, “The Empress” & “The Temple of Colors” (+ BP #79 poems, “The Marquis” and “My Bloody Valentine”; the BP #78 poem, “The Old Yule Goat”; BP #77’s 4-poem set: “At 50,” “Owls,” “Vintage Halloween,” & “Xmas in the Doll Asylum”; BP #76’s 4-poem set: “Hag Fairy Communion,” “Love’s Sepulcher,” “Night Wanderer,” & “St. Andrew’s Feast”; 2 poems for BP #75, “Angel of the Pagan Dead” and “Churchyard Watcher”; BP #72’s 2-poem set, “Ed Gein” & “Sour Puss”; and the 2008 poem “All Hallows’ Eve”), writes and illustrates our “MARS News” column. He did a cover for Black Petals back in 2000 for the fall issue, and has been around ever since. BP keeps up two websites for him and prints his column in the issue quarterly. Chris has a gallery at and was featured artist in Kurt Newton’s Ultimate PerVersities (Naked Snake) [Jan. 2011].

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