Black Petals Issue #88, Summer, 2019

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
A Place of His Own-Fiction by Dorian Sinnott
Blood on the Riviera-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Next Stop: Napper's Holler-Chapter 13-Fiction by A.M.Stickel
Next Stop: Napper's Holler-Chapter 14-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Next Stop: Napper's Holler-Chapter 15-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Next Stop: Napper's Holler-Conclusion-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Red Dress-Fiction byTrisha McKee
The Dead Are Not Lonely-Fiction by A. L. Hodges
The Taxidermist is Hatching-Fiction by Michael Mulvihill
This Isn't You-Fiction by J. David Thayer
Love River Forever-Poem by Hicham El Qendouci
Fire Rages from Her Fingertips-4 Poems by T. B. Kelley
Sheepsquatch-3 poems by Richard Stevenson




Compiled by A.M. Stickel


This time around, BP readers and content contributors, I’d like to let one of our frequently BP- published poets, Richard Stevenson, tell us where he’s coming from in his humorous writing. By the way, our poetry selection this summer is emotionally varied and, thus, quite moving. Kudos to all!


When I was a kid, I had the extreme good fortune to grow up next door to a beatnik—later, hippie—who loved rock, blues, jazz, and monster movies. He was also a gifted story teller and kept all the younger kids on the block rapt withal as we sat [under] the big oak tree in his front yard on Saturday mornings and he recounted the plots of the Friday Night Creature Features none of our parents would let us see. He always had the latest Mad Magazine too and one time showed us pictures of the Mummy, Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Werewolf printed in its pages. The werewolf’s slavering jaws and evil eyes looked right out from that page and entered my dreams. I had a recurrent nightmare for a while which started out with a muffled heartbeat that got louder and louder and closer and closer, until that werewolf face would appear, fully-illuminated before my sweat-drenched face and I’d scream myself awake. I loved it! 

I don’t know if that is any kind of an explanation for my fascination with the fields of cryptozoology (the study of unknown, plausible creatures that may have survived earlier epochs), or ufology, or the unexplained, but while I was editing Why Were All The Werewolves Men? (1994) for Thistledown Press and working out the voices for some of my monsters in that collection, I hit upon the idea of using fifties and sixties rock ‘n’ roll, doo wop, and girl group teen angst tunes and basic walking blues structures for some of the environmental and urban legend poems in the book. Well, why not? Hair had long since sprouted all over my body, if not on my palms, and rock ‘n’ roll (“the devil’s music,” according to our distraught parents) was the favored medium to deal with protest, and I had a green theme and middle grade—and middle age!—audience in mind. 

If my tongue seems firmly lodged in my cheek in these nonsense verses, it is only because nonsense, satire, wit, and humor seem to me infinitely preferable engines to gimcrack philosophy and the host of other isms that have got us this far socially, economically, and politically. Alas, Jonathan Swift and Lewis Carroll were right! We may shun the frumious bandersnatchand Homo poeticus!but we haven’t been out of the trees so long and are not so short of tail that we have ceased using our vorpal blades to lay waste to entire forest stands, snicker-snack, and we haven’t given up the habit of pelting each other with our own dung! I hope the Cadborosaurus (Hiachuckaluck), Champ, and the Sasquatch are real, but, more importantly, I hope they can evade us all a little longer—at least long enough to restore our sense of wonder when they finally do show up for rollcall.

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