Thursday, October 28, 2010


When the frost is on the fencepost

and the birch has shed its bark

there won’t be a star to guide you

when it all goes dark

just a rasp of shallow breathing

just a rustle through the leaves

and a fly that’s caught and kicking

and a spider in the eaves

peer into an empty tunnel

slip a penny on the track;

it’s a long and lonesome whistle

when it all goes black.

When the creak is on the hinges

and you find the door ajar

and it smells of something sodden,

vaguely old and cold and far

you won’t need a star to guide you -

there will be a scarlet spark

in my eyes as I enfold you

when it all goes dark.


Julie said...

Sorry I'm slow lately, Joaquin. On the road again but now home for a couple of days.

This is the perfect Halloween poem. Recently, I watched a bunch of the 1930's Dracula movies with Béla Lugosi. I had never seen them before and love them. I felt like a kid watching. Your poem reminds me of that feeling.

I love the creepiness, and the turn of phrases like "when the creak is on the hinges." I love that entire stanza. Well, shoot. I love it all. This should be on a black light poster in a haunted house. Or even over loudspeakers while people walk through the haunted house.

Karen said...

I love the rhythm of this whole thing. It has the feel of something leading until it comes to that first "when it all goes dark." The images perfectly capture the olde world feel of vampyria! I love the creak and the door ajar. Wonderful ghouly work. I vant to read it again -- orally!

Ink Champagne said...

Cool title/timely subject Joaquin :)

You had me gripped from the opening line - and although I love the whole thing (as I have been consumed in vampire-mania) it's the line 'and a fly that’s caught and kicking' that's my fave... Fun to read, but taps into the panic of being trapped and knowing there's something/someone lurking in the darkness.

An inspiration yet again!

J :)

Terresa said...

This reads in a rhythm that enfolds you, sucks you in (pun intended). :)

Have you ever written music lyrics for anyone? You would be awesome.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Love this sooooooo much....great images throughout! Haunted and sinister. (I never met a vampire I didn't like.) The last paragraph is a fantastic ending - in more ways than one, as it evokes a feeling of beautiful & dark desire....

Anonymous said...

At first this had an ominous feel to it, but when I read it a second time, I found it comforting.

I wonder what is the scarlet spark in your eyes? Scarlet represents something, but what? (Don't tell me.)

Before I started writing poetry, I never really understood why poetry readers felt compelled to examine and study the intent of the writer. Then there've been times since that I wished someone would read me, understand intrinsically, and repeat back to me in full psychoanalysis what I meant (or what emotion informed the piece). Then I started a blog and people did just that. And now I wish I'd never started a blog. So I got rid of it. Hermits think they could use a little company until they get it.

A long answer to a short question. :-)


Sarah Hina said...

This is just deliciously dark and wonderful. I had to come by and comment for Halloween night. :)

You know what's really great? From the first stanza, you invoke a chill, an enveloping with the frost, and a nakedness with the shed bark. It so perfectly sets up the rest of the poem, but in such a subtle way, that the spine is tingling to see what comes next, yet the subconscious already knows.

There are too many awesome lines in this to single out, but I love the bookends of the first and last stanzas, and the subtle shift of perspective from "There won't be a star to guide you" to "You won't need a star to guide you." It's thrilling and scary, but also wonderfully intimate, with that scarlet spark, the dark embrace.

Not a bad way to go, all in all. :) Happy Halloween!

joaquin carvel said...

julie - thank you! i sort of imagined it being read by vincet price - over loudspeakers in a haunted house would be even better! (and yeah, bela lugs was the king - it's actually kind of amazing how scary those old movies are just because of him, before the age of cgi and over-the-top special effects / gore.)

karen - i love that you said "olde world" - i was shooting for a mostly classic (bela lugosi - thanks again, julie!) feel with a twist of right now. thank you. it vas a fun one to write!

jane - thank you! yeah, there's something about panic, when it's (or you're) frozen, that seems worse than when you can run or scream, i think.

teressa - that makes me wonder - would "you suck" be taken as a compliment by a vampire? well. anyway. thank you. to your question - not really. not that i wouldn't like to - i think some of these are songs, actually, i just don't know how to play anything (except the radio) or write music. so - if anyone knows an elton john looking for his/her bernie taupin….hit me up. :)

k. - thank you! i think that "dark desire" is why vampires are more fascinating than your average monster. they're not just destructive - they're feeding on something (at least metaphorically) that we all feed on.

victoria - ominous & comforting - i'm glad to know it can be read different ways - i like poems that leave room for a reader's interpretation. thank you - sorry your blog didn't work out, but i know what you mean about hermits. :)

sarah - wow. see, i knew i liked that first stanza - you just showed me why. thank you - i think i tried to be subtle since vampires are so ubiquitous (and, to be honest, because i'm not very hip to vampire lore) - glad to hear it worked out. hope your halloween was happy too!