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Grant Tarbard

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Existential Joke from Poe


by Grant Tarbard


A man walks into a bar, he is the only one there.

He searches the place and all he finds is a wax


mannequin of himself with a beehive for a mouth,

pins stuck into its eye sockets, hands over its ears.


There are a spare set of pins beside the figure

on a table made of weaved spider webs


and a note: the doors are now locked,

the town is now emptied.


Puncture the needles into your

aperture’s gristle, securely fasten,


go on the journey into yourself

and the town’s folk will reappear.


His mind is a whirl, he runs to the doors;

locked. He stares at the caricature of a man,


beneath the wax there lies a mirror,

he trips towards it to take a closer look.


To his horror the pins are already in his eyes,

the table is empty of pins but there is a mask


that rests on it of his face in agonizing pain,

instantly he was blind and staggering.


He felt a quivering cramp in his belly

and vomited up a hundred whispering drones,


a hundred more followed and a hundred more

after that, he felt a tremble in his throat and


a bulbous lump appeared in his flesh,

bees spewed forth out of his mouth agape with dread.


Then he heard a great roar as if the sea

had burst upon the boundary of the land,


he couldn’t call out. He covered his ears

to prevent drowning in a pond of candle wax.


The vast thunder rose outside and smashed

the town’s walls to crumbs in a tremendous wave


of ear wax. He huddled beside the mannequin

which was all that stood of the town


and got stiffly to his feet and wandered,

he tiptoed through the lost and on into silence.

 

 

Grant Tarbard is the former editor of The Screech Owl and co-founder of Resurgant Press.

He has worked as a journalist, a contributor to magazines, a reviewer, an interviewer, and a proofreader.

His poetry can be seen in such magazines as The Rialto, Illumen, Aphelion, The Seventh Quarry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Bone Orchard Poetry, BLAZE, The Journal, Southlight, Sarasvati, Earth Love, Mood Swing, Puff Puff Prose Poetry & Prose, Postcards Poetry and Prose, Playerist, Lake City Lights, The Open Mouse, Miracle, Poetry Cornwall, I-70, South Florida Review, Stare's Nest, Medusa's Kitchen, Zymbol, Weyfarers, Synchronized Chaos, BLUEPEPPER, Every Day Poetry, Verse-Virtual, Tribe, The Golden Key, New Poetry, I am not a silent poet, East Coast Literary Review, HARK, The Black Light Engine Room, The Black Sheep Journal, Haiku Haven, Lunar Poetry, Decanto, Your One Phone Call, Danse Macabre, Message in a Bottle, Of/with: journal of immanent renditions, Elbow Room, The Mind[less] Muse, Ginosko Literary Journal, Abbreviate Journal, Visual Verse, The Fat Damsel, Earthen Lamp Journal, Wordgathering, and First Time. 

His poems have featured in a number of compendiums, including Dogma Publishing's Miracle at St. Bede’s, Page A Day Anthology, Storm Cycle, Lost Tower Publication’s Greek Fire and WK Press’s Best of 2014. Also, he has had poems exhibited at his local gallery a number of times as well as at the Quayside gallery in Maldon, Essex. He was first runner up at the age of sixteen in Ottakar's National Poetry Competition with a poem entitled “Delicacy.” He was a finalist for nomination for the Pushcart prize and has won The Poetry Box Dark & Horror Poetry Magazine's Sinister Poetry Award May 2014 for his poem “Crow’s Feet.”

His first chapbook, Yellow Wolf, is out now, published by WK Press and his first full collection will be out early next year, published by Lapwing.

In Association with Fossil Publications