New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

Boo 2! -Hallowe’en poems from Ash Slade, J. Rohr, Beth Copeland, Linda Imbler and Rachael Stanley

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My name is Ash and I’ve been a poet since middle school. I was 12 when I started, and it’s been 13 years going strong. I was first published in the high school paper called the “Eaglet.” My work has also been published in “Circus of Indie Artists: Nevermore Edition November 2016, Edited by Dale Bruner and a writer’s blog “a writer and her adolescent muse” run by Carrie Ann Golden. I live in a small New England town in Connecticut that never seems to change. In addition to writing poems, I enjoy collecting poetry books, and regularly read at a poetry open mic that also hosts poets across the states as features.







big road sign
pick’em from trees like giants
apple harvest
jack-o-lantern orange pumpkins
sip sweet fall cider,
soft crisp crunch
fire engine red, red on green
row upon row, apple pickers pick
fall; composting clay, autumn ambrosia
in a bite
pumpkins overflow
stacked up high.

red barn store
wood baskets, barrels
sweet red paint balls
snatched from outstretched
witch’s hands, cajoling
their symmetry is
like poisonous snake venom
pears, vegetables
root beer logs, peppermint pieces
paper sack, homemade cookies
crumbly donuts dusted in snow
brown bag packed tight
like children bundled for snow
piled in car
headed to cradle.






J. Rohr is a Chicago native with a taste for history, and wandering the city at odd hours. He writes the blog www.honestyisnotcontagious.com in order to deal with the more corrosive aspects of everyday life. His Twitter babble can be found @JackBlankHSH.







Wolf Saleswoman



Grinning wolf wide,

She cares not to hide,

For honey sweet dear

She has no fear here

Of fangs undermining

The thin silver lining

Grandma sells a panorama

Framing deep woods off

As divine trough

Feeding the empty

With joys aplenty,

Though when she sells

Granny never tells

What expects to feed

When wanderers speed

Into tree shrouded hollows

Unaware what follows.

They find

Gran sent them blind.

Her canine gaze hypnotizing

Into not realizing

Woods so full of wonders

Distract into blunders,

Simple failures

Allowing purveyors

Of tooth and claw,

The snapping jaw,

And abyssal maw;

Of nightmares wild

Devouring every child

Grandma sent —

Hear her howl unrepentant.




Cruising a Frozen Road


Cruising a frozen road

Graceful as a drunken toad,

The car skipped on ice

Then rolling dice

Cartwheels into devil deals;

Everything for sale

To save the frail

Meat sack battered black

And blue

Through and thru.

Dripping rubies, stagger

Out from under the dagger.

Unaffected by subzero gales

That clear the mountain trails

Wander an hour, a day, a week?

Prognosis bleak

A solitary soul, frost in bone,

Unaware it’s well-known,

Happy for any who come

Flags a van with its thumb.

Hippie drifter named Peter

Says, “Put ya hands on the heater.”


To thanks offered he replied

Lucky his red eyes spied

Walking along the roadside

Someone in need of a fireside;

And at risk of sounding fried

According to witnesses bona fide

A ghost is supposed to reside,

A bad wreck who froze and died,

Allegedly will hitch a ride,

And leech the heat

From whomever it may meet.


He chuckles,

“Well, that’s what I’m told.”

Reach for him while whispering,

“I’m cold.”





Beth Copeland’s second book Transcendental Telemarketer received the runner up award in the North Carolina Poetry Council’s 2013 Oscar Arnold Young Award for best poetry book by a North Carolina writer. Her first book Traveling through Glass received the 1999 Bright Hill Press Poetry Book Award. Her poems have been published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies, including Aeolian Harp, The Atlanta Review, New Millennium Writings, The North American Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Poet’s Market, Rattle, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Tar River Poetry, and The Wide Shore: A Journal of Global Women’s Poetry. She has been profiled as poet of the week on the PBS NewsHour web site. Beth lives in a log cabin in rural North Carolina.



Tombstone Bingo


We count cemeteries. First, a roadside
graveyard. I hate those fake

flowers, I scoff, and those American
flags. Then, I spot a headstone

display outside a monument
shop. That’s cheating,

you say. There could be
bodies under those stones, I reply, so

grudgingly, you give me
half a point. As you drive,

I doze, then wake
to a sign for Bethlehem

Memorial Park and count it
although we can’t see any

mausoleums or angels, just
an arrow pointing to a narrow

lane. Miles
later, you spy lush

acres of lawn
that go on forever—the biggest

yet—and yell, Cemetery! but I’m
still ahead until

you count a single
tombstone on Route 52. Cheater!

I blurt, but give
you credit because

who’s to say one grave
isn’t a graveyard? We pass a family

plot behind a wrought-iron
fence. I should’ve seen

that one coming since I pass it
twice a day, you sigh. We stop

keeping score, not
wanting to know who’ll

be first to draw a last
breath, knowing no one

wins this contest.



Death Rehearsal


Waking in the dark with hands crossed
over my heart, I coast

back to the high school Haunted House
where I was cast as a corpse. Just

lie there. A girl with black
fishtail eyeliner smeared white

paint on my face. Don’t even
breathe. With eyes closed, I floated

Ophelia-style in the fake
casket. You look

perfect, she said, meaning
dead. Ghosts

wailed, werewolves howled, chains
clanked on the basketball

court. Soon someone’s
breath tickled my neck. She ain’t

dead. Finger poke
to collarbone. Spit gob

shot onto my cheek, but I didn’t
blink. Then a cramp seized

from calf to toe. I tried to
lift my leg, but it was wedged

so tight it wouldn’t
budge. The best

thing about being
dead is you can’t

feel anything, but that trickle
of slaver from cheek

to neck, the jab
of finger on flesh, that shooting

pain jolted me
like Frankenstein’s lightning

bolt to the brain—It’s
alive! But it’s not

my time
yet. Hitting

snooze, I sink
granite-heavy into feathers

for five more minutes of
sleep, immobile, still

perfecting the art
of becoming stone.





Linda Imbler is the author of the published poetry collection “Big Questions, Little Sleep.” Her work has appeared in numerous journals. Linda’s creative process and a current, complete listing of sites which have or will publish her work can be found at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com. This writer, yoga practitioner, and classical guitar player lives in Wichita, Kansas.





Six Feet


Even the larger than life
get no more than six feet down
at the end.

There’s no volcanic snoring
from the sleepers here reposed.
No fanatic cackling from those
who once lived within
now powdery sanatoriums.
Jawbones no longer festive
or with coy wag,
no gummy promiscuity
among once social butterflies.

There’s no loathsome musings,
nor clandestine plots against
those who stand above in trodden woe.

There’s just common rebellion against being disturbed.
They wish only to remain unperturbed,
memories obliterated,
no troublesome stockpile
of who had what or who was most superb.








Rachael Stanley lives in Dublin.  Her poetry has been published in various print and online journals both in Ireland and overseas.  Here themes are fairly broad, ranging  from the natural world to philosophical and existential reflections.






The cloak comes down
spreading its veil across the land.
The earth begins to shift
and silent creatures emerge.
Shadows follow in pursuit
and everywhere predators lie waiting.





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