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Daniel G. Snethen
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talkytina.jpg
Art by Patty Mulligan 2017

Talky Tina

 

by

 

Daniel G. Snethen

 

 

Christie was divorced, seven years my senior,

had an adorable daughter and loved dolls.

 

Yes, Mr. Sohl, now what year exactly

was it you met Christie and her daughter?

 

1994 at my brother’s church—

she slept too late to attend the Baptist church.

 

And then?

 

We talked in the parking lot for three hours

about nothing and everything. I asked for

her phone number, something I’d never done before.

 

Ask a girl her number?

 

Exactly.

 

Did she acquiesce?

 

Yes, we married a year later—Christie,

Juliette and I and of course the dolls.

Christie collects dolls you know.

 

So you’ve said.

When exactly did they begin talking to you?

 

Not they, just her . . . Tina.

 

I didn’t even know Christie had her.

Many of Christie’s dolls are boxed, stored.

Too many to display.

Juliette turned five one May,

just eight days after my birthday,

and Christie gave her the same

doll her mother gave her when she turned five.

 

When did you begin talking to her?

 

I didn’t. She started talking to me.

The first day when no one was around.

 

“My name is Talky Tina and I don’t think I like you.”

“My name is Talky Tina and I’m watching you.”

“My name is Talky Tina and I’m going to hurt you.”

 

Come on Mr. Sohl, you don’t really . . .

 

That’s what Christie said.

Claimed her stepfather was the same way.

Tried to destroy Talky Tina.

Put her head in a vise, even tried to

burn her with an acetylene torch.

 

He heard a noise in the middle of the night.

Tripped, fell down the stairs, broke his

neck. Christie’s mother found him,

Talky Tina lying at his side.                                    

“. . . My name is Talky Tina and I love you.”

 

How long has Tina talked to you?

 

Eleven years, eleven torturous years.

Always sweet and sugary and nice when

Christie or the girls are around.                     

 

          “. . . My name is Talky Tina and I love you.”

 

But when alone, with a syrupy sugary

voice, candy coated most maleficently.                             

 

          “. . . My name is Talky Tina and I’m still watching you.”

 

And why have you just now consulted me?

 

The unbearable strain and Christie has

begged me for years to seek counseling.

 

Our relationship, mine and Christie’s,

and especially mine and Juliette’s

has been rather tense, you know, rocky.

 

And this morning, before I left for work,

(cigarette trembling in his hand)

she said, while no one else could hear her, she said:

 

“My name is Talky Tina and I’m going to kill you.”

 

 

 


tattooedman.jpg
Art by Ann Marie Rhiel 2017

The Tattooed Man (for Tyler)

 

by Daniel G. Snethen

 

 

Each drama carefully depicted

upon his Californian hide.

 

A black and red

octa-legged creature

precariously perched

upon its webby swing

etched onto his back.

 

A pink rattail wound

around his right buttock.

 

Peanut the homunculus

adorned in an oversized suit,

golf cleats and WWII vintage steel pot

covers his upper left thigh.

 

Statuesque Galatea

decorates his sculpted calf.

 

His tramp stamp,

reads a crimson:  NO EXIT.

 

Alice in Wonderland

weeps upon his chest,

teardrops dripping

from both her eyes.

 

A salmon-colored elastic vagina

surrounds his manhood.

Three goats confront

a rainbow of trolls

upon the bridge

of his hairless belly.

 

All the while a paw-print,

of his best friend, erratically moves

about the tattoo artist’s canvass,

like an electron in a cloud.

 

 

 

 


sanmateoeasteregg.jpg
Art by Hillary Lyon 2018

San Mateo County Easter-Egg Hunt

 

by Daniel G. Snethen

 

 

Easter Sunday 1928, the entire village

of Burlingame gathered for the annual

San Mateo County Easter-Egg Hunt.

 

All the grown-ups were there,

watching, waiting for the loser.

Praying it wasn’t their Tommy

or Jenny or their tooth-gapped grandchild.

 

Old Morris painfully remembered,

as he limped to his seat of honor at the head

of the ring of losers, how they crippled his leg

seventy-two years ago and how he was the first

of a long line of leprose losers to gain

 a seat in the ring of grisly remembrance.

 

Morris hoarsely announced the starting of the hunt,

whilst I and the other children scrambled,

among the dandelions, gathering colored eggs

into our wicker-woven Easter egg baskets.

 

I fought over these eggs at the same time

hoping I would not be the one

who claimed the egg with the mark,

the mark which would send us all into a frenzy,

where we pummeled and spit on and kicked

the little pus-eyed loser, we did not want to be.

 

Morris announced the mark was an orange

dot in a green circle. Relieved, it was not me.

 

That was my third and final hunt before we moved

to San Francisco some twenty-five miles away.

And my mother said we’d never return to that wicked town

where I helped to nearly kill that little Jackson boy

and watched his sister Shirley

viciously kicking him in his pus-eyed face.

 

 

 

Daniel G. Snethen is the owner and publisher of Darkling Publications. He serves as vice-president of the South Dakota State Poetry Society. Recently (May 2017), 10 pages of his poetry was anthologized in Resurrection of a Sunflower, a tribute to Vincent Van Gogh, curated by Catfish McDaris. Snethen's poetry has been published by Bear Creek Haiku; Cover of Darkness; Danse Macabre; Dark Gothic Resurrected; Haiku Journal; The Horror Zine; Miller's Pond; Pasque Petals: Thirteen Myna Birds, and several other publishers of poetry. Snethen also coaches oral interpretation of literature and Poetry Out Loud. He has qualified two high school students for the National Poetry Out Loud competition in Washington DC and has had the SD State Poetry Out Loud runner up on two separate occasions. His favorite poet is William Blake and his favorite poem is “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

In Association with Fossil Publications