Poem – “The Underground”

The Underground

A kingdom of eternal stairs
Tilting precariously beneath the earth
Our castle’s turrets, bladelike stalactites
And our sky is the sea of fire
A labyrinth of ancient chaos alive
Unsteady, ready to fall at the slightest
Magnetic upset into its own blazing atmosphere

©2018 S. M. Shuford
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Poem – “Deep Sea Blue”

Deep Sea Blue

Drift do they like the dried blood of Atlantis
Ever deeper in green fluorescent murk
Eventide closes its eyes to ghostlike darkness
Para-natural phenomena

Shipwrecked patterns, skeleton of the galleon
Eager but disturbed bones rise from sleep
Awakening aglow in the sea’s base epidermis

Black waters bring the rattling cries,
Litanies of ancient, bacterial animals hidden
Under the ruins, under the ships, under the light
Eternal and blind as the eldest life

©2018 S. M. Shuford
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Book Review – Glimmerglass Girl by Holly Walwrath

★★★★ 4 Stars

Genre: Poetry / Dark Fantasy
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2018
Publisher: Finishing Line Press

A paradox of piercing and delicate, like a tendril of blood dripping down a shard of crystalline ice, an homage to Alice and her looking glass illusions.

Glimmerglass Girl is a realm in a globe of femininity and both the knives and hearts it bears, or the knives puncturing hearts when worse comes to worse, as it does.
Never faint, but it’s like a symphony cut short at the intermission – it ends all too abruptly, but doesn’t it glisten while it lives?

Quotes

  • “I am night and a thousand stars hurtle through my skin, punching through the ether. I crouch, prehistoric, in the space behind clouds, my volcanic heart attracting lightning, sympathetic interstellar.”
  • “I tell my sisters: cultivate loneliness like you might care for an orchid, turning it gently towards the light, serving it water like wine; aerated, purified, filtered.”
  • “When others see me, they will see a woman unhinged. I will crawl out of my skin, leaving it all heaped behind me and the naked me will walk home alone in the darkness; a disciple of shadows, an acolyte of the moon”

Poem – “Forsaken Touch”

Forsaken Touch

Something the god of swamps would abandon,
I love him not, nor the sound of his touch
Harsh like a weathered tongue against asphalt
Sharp as sunburn, jagged as the moon’s flesh
Something the monsters in dreams couldn’t bear
I want him not, nor the touch of his voice
A violation of all sound that dead musicians weep
Rotten as mildew on a nameless grave,
Something the forsaken and evil would hide from

©S. M. Shuford 2018
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Poem – “Black Acid, Blue Scar”

Black Acid, Blue Scar

Burning the reality off a plastic midnight
Laughter hidden by shy hands won’t hide the
Acid that comes out, electric black like the galaxy
Careless and resigned, the dying girls go out
Killing another set of hours with neon lights
Abyssal and inhuman we become beneath
Concealed like a razor on a lost body
In the garbage – we’re not far from it now
Dreamlike but barren under the bones

Berry-indigo is what I seek in the machine
Lurking just under my nightmares I see it
Underground, even below the squalor we see
Every night when the stars unveil its truth
Somewhere I need to be is the indigo blue
Cold and locked in the depths of forgetting
All along, suffering the wrong time, try to
Relax as fluorescence dims down to black

©S. M. Shuford 2018
Follow my poetry on Tumblr.
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💖Loverboy & Absolute Heaven💖 – Poetry to be Published Late 2018

Loverboy

A fever dream of romantic grotesque, Loverboy is a heart-piercing dance of love and hatred. Dark, classy, and sensual as a forbidden fairy tale, this collection of poems paints its phrases directly from raw fear, bittersweet fantasy, mental illness, broken heritage, gender identity, obsession and nightmarish visions.

Absolute Heaven

Absolute Heaven is a dream-infused omnibus that captures the darkness of the heart in its palm and never lets it free. Devilishly blurring the lines between romantic hate and grotesque love, it spans emotions of the mind from wistful clouds of fantasy to the abyss of occult fears.

Loverboy and Absolute Heaven are two companion compilations of mine that are going to be published later this year. Due to a wait on publication rights for a few individual poems, the dates can’t be set officially yet, though they should be out by December in any case. I’m lobbying for October 31st (Halloween, of course!) as a date for the first one.

They are both brimming with poems and art, and pretty large for poetry compilations. I believe in rather full-figured compilations that look beautiful on a shelf and are enough for a total experience. Loverboy is a traditional book and its sister Absolute Heaven is experimental, collecting all of my haiku books and more conventionally-styled poetry as well.

Both will be available at most major retailers, though I am giving away ARC’s to book and poetry reviewers for a limited time (ARCs will be sent out July 28th if you sign up for one) – which you can read more about on their Goodreads pages below. Feel free to inquire, though I ask that you have done at least 5 book reviews that I can see publicly on any book-blogging platform. Covers and samples should be out soon.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40205210-loverboy

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40201442-absolute-heaven

Examples of my work can be found, well, everywhere on Blood Red Velvet, as well as on my Tumblr blog.

Book Review – The Chateau by Tiffany Reisz

★★★★★ 4.5 Stars

Genre: Thriller / Erotica
Series: The Original Sinners
Publication Date: June 5th, 2018
Publisher: 8th Circle Press

Enter decadence through a gilded looking glass…
The Chateau is like rich gâteau and jazz in the hours of the night when all sin is absolved, and a sensual-sinister echo of the Decadent Movement with modern sensibilities. Mostly.

Lieutenant Kingsley Boissonneault is tasked with infiltrating a secretive cult when his commanding officer’s nephew has been drawn into it, whether by will or force he’s not sure. The cult itself seems to Kingsley like a reverse garden of Eden, a haven of open decadence that is his ideal, if he’s honest, but it’s no stranger to a deeper darkness, and he knows there has to be a catch that both the officer’s nephew, himself, and the other men living there have fallen prey to.

It’s not my usual genre, but I liked its colours as both a mystery-thriller and darkest romance – it spares neither blood nor honey. I’m a sucker for the paradox of opulence and torment, and this has it in spades, especially with Kingsley, who could be its posterchild. A flawed and selfish protagonist, oh yes, but a bad protagonist he’s not.
The ice-blue, nightmarish dreams of his one past love are absolutely haunting.

The pace drops to a brisk walk in the second half, but its language is as luxurious as gold always, even when it’s rolling in the worst gutters of relationships. I think that more erotica should be like this – unafraid but intricate. The Chateau is a wink laced with twisted secrets and gleaming with an overdose of paradise. It sticks to your thoughts like sugar.

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]