Black Petals Issue #95 Spring, 2021

Leelanau Lake Monster
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Occupational Hazard-Flash Fiction by Doug Hawley
The Definition of Crash-Poems by Paul David Adkins
Ghost: A Working Definition-Poem by Carl E. Reed
Vampiric Threnody-Poem by Carl E. Reed
Leelanau Lake Monster-Poems by Richard Stevenson
Ballast-2 Poems by Angelo Letizia
Pit Bull-3 Poems by Pete Mladinic
Shadow of Sleep-Poem by Teresa Ann Frazee
Microcosmus-3 Poems by Daniel Snethen
The Higher Dimensions-Poem by David C. Kopaska- Merkel

Leelanau Lake Monster

 

Richard Stevenson

 

That ain’t no snag, son;

no severed tree trunk either.

Best you don’t tie up

our little row boat there.

 

That’s all he said to me.

It wasn’t what he said;

it was the terrified look,

the flat, matter-of-fact tone …

 

He turned his paddle gently

and took us on a slow curve

away from the stump.  I shrugged

and mouthed a silent why?

 

He didn’t speak until we

were a good hundred feet

from the stump.  A five-foot-high

coupla foot around scraggly snag?

 

I did that once.  Didn’t fish

this lake for a good thirty years

after the snag I tied off on

opened two big eyes level to mine.

 

That, son, is the famed Leelanau –

named after our little town.

A monster camouflaged as a snag.

That was his neck you’da tied us up to.

 

*


El Cuatlacas

Richard Stevenson

 

Mexico’s Bigfoot – more aggressive

than your Pacific Northwest Sasquatch –

hangs in the old growth pine forests

of the Mexican state of Puebla.

 

It doesn’t take kindly to humans

and will hoot and holler til they leave.

If they don’t, and start chopping down

old forest trees, it’ll go berserk.

 

Two guys, who shall remain nameless,

thought they’d illegally chop down

a few trees in the back country, just off

an old logging road.  Had finished for the day.

 

Built a fire, put up their tent

and had just settled down for the night

when the breaking of branches and

hooting and hollering got closer and louder.

 

The men scrambled to their feet

when a Cuatlacas came crashing

through the trees – an eight-foot

hairy man beast.  The men freaked.

 

Beat a hasty retreat down the logging road.

Didn’t have a chance to hop in their truck.

Luckily, the beast didn’t give chase,

or they may have been torn to pieces.

 

The men came upon a forest ranger’s

cabin in the woods, told the ranger

of their misadventure, confessing to

the pilfering of old forest trees.

 

He drove them back to their camp.

The fire had been doused, tent

and Ford pick-up torn to pieces.

The ranger wasn’t amused but knew.

 

You’ve met the forest guardian –

that’s what Cuatlacas means.

He’s not keen on interlopers, guards

his turf.  If he can tear off doors,

 

imagine what he could have done

to your arms and legs.  Good thing

you didn’t stop to load a gun:

he’d probably crease your skulls with it.

 

Count your lucky stars you left

your vehicle and ran as fast as you did.

You succeeded in distracting him.  Gave him

another target for his rage: your truck.

 

Let this be a lesson to you.  I won’t

bust you for a few pilfered trees.

Your truck is toast – beyond repair.

That’ll cost you plenty to replace.

 

We’ll call it even-Steven.  I’ll take

you into town where you can book a room.

In the morning you can rent a truck.

I’ll let you take the trees too –

 

but I assume you’d as soon forget ‘em.

Let the ranger service use ‘em for

constructing bridges to cross streams,

stairs to help hikers in more public spaces.

 

Leave the deep, dark woods to El Cuatlacas.

You may want to avoid Sierra Norte

and the slopes of PopocatÚpetl and

Iztaccihuatl volcanoes too.  His turf.

 

Sounds like you met a young Cuatlacas.

These guys grow to nine, ten feet tall.

If he’d have given chase, you’d both have

been carted out in a pine box or bucket.

 

*


Nain Rouge

 

Richard Stevenson

 

 

Red Dwarf, Red Gnome:

Detroit residents dread your

presence on the scene.

You mean disaster; dance, grin

when bridges and buildings fall.

 

The night before a

train or plane crash, there you are:

three-foot impish creep

rubbin’ yer hands together,

clapping sides to keep warm.

 

Bad teeth, bad breath –

smell of decay about you,

Nain Rouge you’re no one’s

street corner prophet or

red-haired, red-eyed messiah.

 

What’s yer fancy

on this night, ol’ fiend?

Terrorist attack?

School shooting?  Virus attack?

How do we get rid of you?

 

Nain Rouge, Nain Rouge,

yer bad news before the news

at six, ten, midnight.

You’re the kind of night fright

that frightens fear away.

 

***




Richard Stevenson retired after a thirty-year teaching stint at Lethbridge College and now lives in Nanaimo, BC.  Forthcoming books include a trilogy, Cryptid Shindig, from Hidden Brook Press ( including the volumes If a Dolphin Had Digits, Nightcrawlers, and Radioactive Frogs); a standalone collection, An Abominable Swamp Slob Named Bob, from Altered Reality Press; and collection of haikai and lyric poems for younger kids, Action Dachshund! (from Ekstasis Editions).  He’s hoping to put another edition of his poetry/rock troupe, Sasquatch, together when Covid takes a bow and we can have live music again.



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