BROTHERS OF DARKNESS
The brothers of darkness have fearsome beards
and ogle a swirl of
and love to lurk in overgrown graveyards.
They record their impressions of a world gone
with Scottish hearts and the eyes of the Ojibway.
They prefer forest shadow to throbbing thoroughfares
and consider the wind their uncivilized crony.
Ruins enthrall them more than corporate towers.
They feel at home there to uncoil their verse
BROTHERS OF DARKNESS II
They dwell in the darkest shadows of night,
Scribbling on the vellum of young goat skin,
Their words are drawn in cruel letters thin,
Like their fingers, bird talons, hard and tight,
The poems they sing come from voices broken,
The tune is a hundred thousand dying,
The beat, the sharp sound of babies crying,
The lyrics are cold Death himself, spoken.
Brothers of darkness speak of elder things,
Words so hot their tongues spark with arcane fire,
Old truths they reveal to those who would hear,
Of tentacular spawn and silent wings,
Of creatures who feast on hate and drink fear,
Of lost Ryleh and those who ne'er expire.
Sunlight streamed through the window
to levitate the dust of dead ponies.
The stalls reeked of their presence,
and loft winds whinnied their names.
Only the boy who had owned them
remembered not their nuzzle love.
He was foreman at the slaughterhouse
and drank too much and too often.
Where we used to keep the horses
Where we used to shovel the muck
Where we used to fix the harnesses
Where we used to birth the foals
Where we used to hang the sacrifices
Where we used to hear the squeals
Where we used to visit with devils
Where we used to dance until morning
Where we used to wash up the blood
Where we used to put in clean straw
Where we used to wish for the next full moon.
The clattering rumble of the machine
Wakes the ground to its terrible fate
The blades begin to spin like ninja swords
And the roots of the weeds creep deeper
The man driving the machine thinks of winter
When he can sit at home away from the heat
And wonder what the next year will bring
After he drives the machine
After he brings rape and torture
To the Earth
THE BRIDGE IN THE WOODS
He saw an old bridge in the woods,
Its span crossed over water dark,
Its shadows housed spirits cruel,
Eyes dancing like a little spark.
Those black bridge-dwellers followed him,
Back to his log home by the creek,
Their red-colored stares filled the air,
From every corner did peek.
In the depths of the night they hunted,
His salvation; the light of day.
Shadows of his cabin for their prey,
His flesh they would render and bite,
The fire he stoked with pine logs,
A candle burned on the hearth,
Fell asleep for he could not wake,
His bones lie in the cold, cold earth.
FOUNDATIONS AND TUNNELS
Foundations and tunnels were all
that remained of the once-mighty mill.
An indentured race toiled there,
churning out building blocks and agony.
The town name was stamped on each brick.
Wasted byways choked with briars
are build of these signature stones.
The building had housed
a silk mill, a roller rink,
and a doomed silicon works.
It was built of crumbling brick,
and inside were rooms
of misused machines.
After dark, strange blue light
flickered thru grime-smeared windows.
Maimed men rose again
to manufacture accidents
of extreme decibel death.
Two houses divided by hate
was it hate or love so big it couldn't be contained
did it matter now as the flames curl up
around the first, then the second
the ashes indistinguishable?
EBB TIDE TRAUMA
Beyond the barbed wire
hissed the sea.
It frothed and gurgled
like a strangled thing,
thrashing and splashing.
Fog's cold fingers
around its throat.
Ebb tide trauma
and blue whale alike.
Come cold morning
And wash away the dross
Of another night of battle.
Come cold morning
And burn away the foe
Who tore at us from darkness.
Come cold morning
And heal our bleeding wounds
Won without smiles or cheers.
Come cold morning
And give rest to those
Who sleep when vampires sleep.
The proud Indian head
Stands on the hood
Defying the neglect
Only the blackberries
Worship you now
No pretty girls
Giving it up in the backseat
Their maidenheads sacrificed
To your power and steel.
Mysterious men were dead in a car.
Their faces were cold paste,
and their eyes empty of confession.
The car itself was crumpled accordion steel.
Did the driver die in the crash
or of the bullet holes in the windshield?
His ghost refused to be interrogated
as it gagged on our exhaust smoke.
The combine sits forgotten
Unused now except to house mice
It sits remembering past days
The taste of soil
As it tore into the earth.
The combine sits neglected
Unused now to till the ground
It sits remembering
The taste of blood
As it ripped off Old Man Kinsey's arm.
Sharecroppers can't prosper
on hardpan ground
that dulls plows
and yields harvests
of burdock and poison oak.
Jerseys get dry udders
grazing on drought grass.
Hens elope with coyotes
rather than be barren.
Tonight the winds have fallen low,
And roar and foam are nothing now,
Water lies still about the bow,
Only bats, night hunters, show.
I sit on the dock and dream of
Her golden hair, a sunlit crown,
Her watery shift--silver gown,
Her hand reaching to me above.
But airy depths separate us,
Cold oxygen builds walls between
My wind-blown skin, her fishy sheen,
The waves bind us back like a truss.
I'll join her now in the deep weeds,
I'll give up breath and life for her,
My old ways become but a blur,
On this lover, the small trout feeds.
NIGHT LAKE II
Her spirit came here often
to bathe in the cove.
Translucent as moonglow,
she flitted along the dock
murmuring with mosquitoes.
Whippoorwills welcomed her presence,
and the loon
called her by name.
Her lover had held her under
until her bilge pump drowned his
He escaped to rule the tides.
Doomsday she would meet him
in the watery palace of Hell.
A hiker asked: where can I find the ruin? Showing
me a map drawn by a gas station attendant,
How could I tell him? About a place so dear, so
lost, to me?
I guess I must have been tired, for I told him
it lie over there,
He thanked me with a five dollar bill,
I threw it away without a thought; what was money
to the dead?
Vacant windows leer
from the brush line.
Diseased trees writhe
above a peeled roof,
and a crumbled chimney
croaks no smoke.
The wind stays well
beyond the fence row.
There are many things
spookier than death.
A CAUTIONARY TALE OF THE SHORT-CUT BESIDE
THE OLD UNUSED TRAIN TRACKS
They used a sun bleached skull for their sign--
Spiked to a dead birch tree beside the dirt track
We all saw it clearly, set there with nails
Four of us wanted nothing to do with
Those dark men with strange curved backs
A fifth laughed at that skull
We wouldn't follow him then
We won't talk when
He returns with
The Conquistadors sneered
at the warning skull
posted before the city of gold.
Sunlight bounced off their armor
as they brandished bright swords
crafted of Toledo steel.
Only their steeds sensed danger,
snorting and resisting the reins.
A great glint came
from a tower above,
melting shield and cuirass
and thin bronze skin.
as the scorching beam
bored through the pride
of Spanish invention.
The stench of seared flesh
rose to where the Incan King
aimed his laser orb.
It had been a gift from Sky Lords
who descended with lightning
to teach him their star craft.
These minotaurs would
mock no more!
The snows collapsed
our hunting camp
in an avalanche rush
of rust and splinters.
Squashed were countless
and the cozy scent
of wet wool jackets
drying by the fire.
The roof now kisses concrete--
payback for a century
of slain bucks
by granddad, father,
and woodsman son.
It began with a deer hunt,
His buck dropped in the poplars,
The blood swelling onto the leaves,
But disappearing much too quick,
To be an ordinary stand of trees.
The second time was an experiment,
He brought the neighbor's cat
Which he hated about as much
As the neighbor -- an insurance man,
He cut the throat and watched with delight.
The third time was the last,
He brought his wife in a sack,
But she got free with a kick,
And took the axe to him instead,
Now she watches the poplars feast
The blizzard changed the graveyard
into an apocalyptic ocean
of winter spray.
Tombstones were whitecaps
in a wild sea.
Trees flailed octopi limbs
whenever the wind
shrieked in fury.
SNOW IN A GRAVEYARD
Snow in a graveyard
Acts as a security blanket
--Keeping the Earth warm in winter
--Keeping Spring at bay
--Keeping the dead in their beds
Fall snow -- in white sheets
For the dead like to dig
When warm treats await.
William P. Robertson
William P. Robertson lives in Duke Center, Pennsylvania,
where he hunts, fishes, and runs his own
housepainting business. Bill's
latest audio book, UNTIL DEATH DO IMPART, contains
24 horror poems recited by the author and 4 hard
rockin' tunes by the band ShadowFox. The CD is available online at
Project Pulp bookstore
G. W. Thomas
G. W. Thomas lives in the Cariboo region of British
Columbia. His work has appeared in over
180 different books and magazines including
Writer's Digest, The Armchair Detective,
Black October Magazine and Gothic.net.
His latest poetry collection is PRAIRIE CEMETERY from Kingfisherbooks.com.
Visit his web site at
Poems by WPR: "Brothers of Darkness", "Sunlight",
"ghosts", "Foundations and Tunnels", "Again", "Ebb Tide Trauma", "Code
186", "Hardpan Ground", Night Lake II, "Many Things", Star Craft,
"Avalanche Rush", "The Blizzard". Photos: WPR Cover, #3, 4, 7, 9,
Poems by G. W. T: "Brothers of Darkness II", "The
Barn", "The Machine", "The Bridge in the Woods", "Cold Morning", "Two Houses",
"Pontiac 1956", "The Combine", "Night lake", "The Ruin", "A Cautionary
Tale of the Short-Cut Beside the Old Unused Train Tracks", "The Poplars",
"Snow In a Graveyard". Photos: #1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 10,
Brothers of Darkness Copyright 2002 William
P. Robertson/G. W. Thomas