Dark Lady Poetry - Volume One Number Twelve




Volume One, Number Twelve

October 2010



Timothy Black

Death Raises

Mulatto Mongrel Cliché


Snake as Nigger


Ahmed Adam Shamma

The Feast

sometimes it glares back

The City Augur


JC Crumpton

 A Snack


Under the Horizon


Blake Ellington Larson

Someday When I'm a Hundred

She Smokes Slender


She Speaks To Me


I've Yet to See Your Eyes



Amber Victoria Tudor

My Mortal

Chaotic Evil

Stardust Cowboy






Timothy Black 






Death      Raises      Ghosts 





It is very hard, 

sometimes, to walk 

past graveyards 

with their weeping 

willows and their tall 

stone markers. 

I remember the young 

girl next door 

who is now buried 

there, six feet 

above twelve feet under. 

Her personal 

stone, when viewed 

under reflected sun- 

light shows her 

in rainbows, smiling 

the smile of the forever 

alive. I imagine her 

parents winding down 

their days. Mornings 

at the kitchen table, 

evenings around the fire 

contemplating her, 

and the world’s, 

amazing depth. 

Sometimes when I walk 

past the frozen rows 

I can ignore just 

how deep it is, 

and my own still 

beating heart. 




The dying man 

said he smelled 

baking bread 

when asked what 

dying was like. He 

had a hole blown 

through his heart, 

was gasping through 

hot lungs, was 

staring through 

fresh cataracts. 

The hitch when 

he spoke was what 

really got to me. 

When I was young 

I remember my mom 

baking bread. 

It was an all-day 

task back then. She 

would tell me to walk 

softly through 

the kitchen – said 

any little movement 

could cause the rising 

loaves to fall. 

When my wife asks 

what my youth 

was like, I tell her 

it was like 

the smell 

of baking bread. 




My parents 


a pre- 

paid funeral. 


say it’s 

for the 


so we 

(or they, 

if I am dead) 


have to 


with that 

as well 

as our 




put the 


to rest, 

and spend 

each day 

like ghosts, 


chains, and 


to get their 

money’s worth. 









Mulatto Mongrel Cliché


White child, what’s in your wallet?

Black child, what’s in your heart?

And which line’s longer,

you son-of-a-bitch?

I paid the price

of hailstones and shotgun

shells, bad crank

and great crystal meth

to ask those three questions

to the fucked and the damned.


The hail formed when the wind

whipped rain up and up

through the chill firmament. I press

the black cat down

beside me where he purrs in a great

black mass. Those opaque

balls fall hard on the cars

of the just and unjust alike. The bright

red shells


were sprinkled through the carpet

of tall grass and adorned

with swastikas and racial slurs –

die niggurkind, die

falsetto whiteboy. Die

unholy baritone trinity. The bad


crank glew yellow

and dove down to the devil’s

palace of sulfur and ice-blue

regret. There is no girl

with dirty-blonde dreads

in this one to lighten the load,

no brunette to shoot

a load into anymore. There never

were. Here never is.


And good crystal meth looks like

Japanese hard rock

candy, like the shards

of copper sulfate at Hackberry Lake.

It’s as blue as your baby’s eyes,

but not blue at all. What’s typed

on your head whiteboy? What’s


stapled to your heart, niggerchile’?

What was in your mind,

you filthy cliché?

I could guess, but it’s too lonely

and too blue and too cold

in this fucking rubber room

to think, let alone

worship your left-alone slapstick





Snake as Nigger


Tonight, this very night.

A near-black water

moccasin, with chain-link

marks on his wet back

emerges from the weight of spring

water. He holds a nickel

that shines like a fallen

chunk of moon between his fangs

and the crus

clitoris of his tongue.


In the light of this faltered

day the moon sees this coin

and wants it back. The snake

winds like kite string

through the wet, high

afghan of grass. The moon

can only glower down on the snake,

can only whisper lightly

for its fallen desire.


What is the coin? Out here

there are no books to read,

no discarded condom shells.

The only screams

are from feather-picked night

hawks, stressed at the water’s

furious parting from carp jumping.

We invent these hawks,

just like we invent the coin

and the moon’s undoing

when we summon the words

to fail at its description.


We fancy ourselves masters

of those that would punish us

with poisons. We tinker

with phosphorus compounds

we place in glass pipes. We don’t know


enough to leave well enough alone.

We tread on reservation land,

and hand out tickets to come

see the snake. Come, make a wish:

throw a coin into the lake, and see


what will come of it,

wet, black and angry.












Timothy Black’s first poetic novella, Connecticut Shade, is in its second printing through WSC Press. He teaches poetry at Wayne State College, and is a Cave Canem Fellow. He lives in Wakefield, Nebraska with his wife and two sons. 


Timothy’s work has appeared in the anthologies The Logan House Anthology of 21st Century American Poetry, The Great American Roadshow, and Words Like Rain. He has been published in The Platte Valley Review and at   , has poems forthcoming in Breadcrumb Scabs and has won an Academy of American Poets prize for his poem Heavy Freight



Ahmed Adam Shamma




The Feast


it started at the epilogue

when the scavengers sniffed the quiet air

and the lukewarm blood was their invitation

they came in packs and swarms

the jackals, the worms, the roaches, the crabs

to the charnel paradise that awaited them

in the streets of every town and city


now the flies are fat but always hungry

and the sidewalks teem

with the writhing of maggots

the rats make their homes

anywhere they please

in this vast buffet of viscera

and above it all

vultures dry their wings

atop the hollow buildings

looking down like

judges of the dead


no guns fire

no engines roar

the radio screams silent static

all that is left

is the shrieking of crows

and the laughter

of hyenas and god




sometimes it glares back 


sometimes it glares back at us

the madness beyond the peel

when we are within ourselves the loss of purpose

and the going-under that comes with it


it is the unknown

it is death

it is infinite void

and it is the blurring

of the lines that separate


and all things


like fingernails stuck in the walls

of the Auschwitz showers,

when our screams turn to a gurgling of bile

all we have made will become

a part of the endless absurd





The City Augur




The city augur sees more in the faces on
trains and buses than the seers of old ever
learned from the stars and tea leaves.
She can read the writing on the asphalt and
understands the wisdom in the flight of
pigeons and the entrails of road kill.

Solitude is her snake oil balm, and she
startles at footsteps, the jangle of keys or the
snicker-snack of a door that opens without a
chime or recorded warning.
She can imagine no greater heaven than the
promise of a beer back home, and no greater
hell than the intrusion of other people upon
her lonely meditation.
She might not notice if everyone’s skin were
covered in poison; she cannot remember the
last time she touched another without

She knows the only sane response to such a
boring, depressing world as this one they
have built is to live perpetually bored and
There are little cures for this, little white and
little green pills, and these the City Prophet
fears more than anything else for they are
essentially a cure for sanity.

Certainty is a gift reserved only to the
perfectly lucid and to the utterly insane, a
common trait that blurs the distinction
between the two opposites, and on the
coldest and darkest of nights when sleep
won’t come, the city augur wonders as she
shivers whether there are really any
differences at all.

She appreciates ugliness, almost to the
extent that she is beautiful.
She hates the company of other people,
almost to the extent that she needs it to

She considers sex and happiness both utterly
unnecessary and overrated, constantly
craving both.

The night sky should be an inky and infinite
abyss, the blackness between the stars a
reminder of the extent of our purpose, but
when the city augur looks up, she sees a
vulgar purple veil bleached by sodium
streetlights and stained by neon, appearing
close enough to touch from the tallest office



She knows a secret so great that if she even
tried to whisper it, it would tumble out as a
howl loud enough to burst your eardrums.
She sometimes feels the secret crawling
along the back of her teeth, and, by biting
her lips until she tastes blood and scrunching
her eyes until purple and green dragons twist
beneath the lids, she can, just barely, keep it


The secret tastes like a shaggy beard crusted
in stale sugar, looks like an ambulance’s
flashing lights, sounds halfway between a
scream of agony and your father’s name.

She laughs to keep from crying, and when
she can no longer laugh she will cry to keep
from screaming, and when her tears have
run dry, she screams to keep from shutting
down completely.


When her throat is in bloody tatters and she
can no longer scream louder than a hoarse
whisper, she will do the only thing left in
this world for her to do


Each person, with no exceptions, has enough
blood in their body to write their last and
greatest secrets, and not one drop more or
less than that.


One day she will dip a fountain pen in her
own blood and write down her secret for the
world to know.
The world will find her, white and fragile as
porcelain, a book sitting in front of her open
to the first page, its letters scabbing brown.
It will begin: “Humankind wasn’t meant to
live this way…”










Ahmed Adam Shamma, 21, is a United States sailor currently stationed in Charleston, SC. His work has been previously been accepted by Danse Macabre du Jour.





JC Crumpton



A Snack 




I opened the bedroom door

this morning and thought 

—only for a moment— 

that I saw milk and cookies 

waiting neatly for me on the landing: 

Sylvia? Are you there?  









I hear that winter cry like summer dying echoed 

back and forth 


the hollow spaces of my mind 

wherein run shadows of memories 

hidden like some genetic recalling 


growing further 

—becoming that hidden plan— 

until a seedling sprouts upon my 


taking root in the corners of consciousness 

like a bonsai tree of knowledge. 


Now that reverberated voice has become 

the low hum of life moving 

beneath the ground until it erupts into 

the cacophony of birds singing, 

brooks laughing and wind whistling— 

a phoenix risen from 

the ashes of past dreams. 







Under the Horizon 





I watched yesterday as the sun gasped its last 

before being swallowed up by the night— 

it struck out with rage, lashing across 

the western sky with a wall of red fire, 

a plague of biblical reminders 

that burned the air with its final assault. 

But the inevitability of the dark 

triumphed in the brief battle. 


This morning it had yet to marshal its strength; 

hidden by clouds, the sun did not reveal itself 

and the rains came. 













JC Crumpton is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a BA in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis.  He currently lives in Northwest Arkansas with his wife and two kids, and was a stringer at the Northwest Arkansas Morning News for eight years. 

His poetry has appeared in Outer Darkness and in the anthology On Wings of Inspiration.  His short story "It Just Ain't the Same" has appeared in the (no longer) online Alien Skin Magazine.  This month, one of my poems will appear in the Fall 2010 issue of Tainted Tea



Blake Ellington Larson



Someday When I’m a Hundred  


i’ll remember

how i used to feel so young amongst

the dinosaur crowd

i’ll remember i’m   just an old boy

in a new sweater

that my calm demeanor is really stricken

with sweet sin and marmalade

that  i’m trying

to light enough candles in my heart

so’s   i can freeze up

these   doubts

and   meet a woman that reminds me

i’m trying not to notice

shadows from eyeglasses

red lips



She Smokes Slender 


goes black

'round the edges

in her afterglow i find delight

in the candlelight


cuts the fabric out of night


the movie moves the images


my fingers are negatives




She Speaks to Me  


through microphied phones

that pause like quilts sew haiku's 

she is syllabic in nature

hidden in daylight


her message

is in the bottle

it washes on the shores

that wash over the wires

that sound the hungried spiral strings

that ring 

when i sing with her



I've Yet to See Your Eyes  


stainless pain 


and harmless  

i've yet to hold your 

postmortem smile  

or feel the darkness 

shine through your teeth  

and it makes me want 

to kiss you  








Blake Ellington Larson invented the color pink. He does not collect Care Bears and most certainly doesn't have a subscription to The Believer. On a scale of one to awesome. He would definitely be awesome. He lives in the quiet suburbs of Alameda, California and would very much like to meet you.  

He's been published by, Back Room Live, Beatnik Cowboy, Black Heart Magazine, Bolts of Silk, Cherry Picked Hands and Picaresque.

feel free to visit his blog:  




Amber Victoria Tudor 



My Mortal  


I see constellations

in your eyes

Linking comets

And Gods

To our



If violins laced our


Melancholy notes



Into fireworks





And Future

(like dated shiny pennies)


We believe in reincarnation

And still


The inevitable

“don’t lose me”

It took too long to find you.



Chaotic Evil


Carefully calculated






By neon lights


Star gazers



Northern lights

Are cold


They’ll watch you




Eyes the blackest

Shade of







Stardust Cowboy 


My stardust


Freckled by  






Pull in 







Where we 








In a  


Of things 


To be formed 


A seemingly  









All of which 






Amber Victoria Tudor has been published in Writers Café Anthology 2006 and in the Spring 2010 issue of Glint Literary Journal. She is the founding editor of Dark Lady Poetry. Currently she resides in Redondo Beach, California