Poem – “Difficult Places”

Difficult Places

In the corner, a famine of mind
Patiently waits for the situation to change –
The dreams he wastes creep up the walls,
Delusional strings of white datura metel
Creep into the holes in his soul and decay
All the pleasures that he keeps there,
Like murky water spoiling worn-out books

We pass by him slowly, calculating
Whether or not we noticed him dying

Copyright ©2019 S. M. Shuford
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Poem – “Always in Mourning”

Always in Mourning

When I grow up, all I want to be
Is the rift in the devil’s logic
Nothing to trip me but the stairs to hell
That I’ve always been playing on,
Always in mourning as if whoever I love
Is always in the throes of dying

All this self-inflicted torture,
Reliving a trauma that never happened,
That never existed on the plane of existence,
Yet it is easier to swallow than any joy,
All the memories that matter

Copyright ©2019 S. M. Shuford
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Poem – “The Mercury Drops”

The Mercury Drops

And the fever refuses to subside

I have engulfed the tundra,
An iceberg of blood and plasma
Enormous bones lost beneath the water,
Too small for the palm of the angel

Ten minutes on the seafloor
Are a hundred repetitions of the cycle
Where the world ends as it is born
The nightmare of a burgeoning apocalypse

Copyright ©2019 S. M. Shuford
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Poem – “Tied Up”

Tied Up

Cannot be counted on the devil’s palm
The arrows embedded in your chest
A sacrifice on the eve of child warlocks
Boy premonition, blood slave to a sorceress
All tied up on the skin of a juniper man
Weeping, gleaning the eyes of faerie youth
Spinning blood into his web of ropes
Keeping you hostage, a blasphemous bondage
Configured in riddles of the cell, without answer

Copyright ©2019 S. M. Shuford
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Poem – “Hanging From the Juniper Tree”

Hanging From the Juniper Tree

A noose for a basket full of aspirations,
Wicked dreams that sliver through the hooves
Of horses decomposing in the plains of night

A weeping tragedy, ten headless kings
Hanging from the juniper tree
On the path of the prisoners’ walk

The crying red moon is bleeding tender
Over the forbidden waters of the dead
And not one drop penetrates a severed soul

Copyright ©2019 S. M. Shuford
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Poem – “Black Aura Mystery”

Black Aura Mystery

I know you didn’t even try to save me
When my black aura mystery
Infected the vein and left be decaying
Wreathed with barbs from the inside
One for each hour my suicidal self
From the past before mine awakens
To find he’s never become healthier
His black aura mystery fails him all the time
I wasn’t beyond an embryo then,
I know you didn’t even try to save him
Green eyes necrotize in the grave’s hearth
Tears of blood and a black aura mystery

Copyright ©2019 S. M. Shuford
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Poem – “In Agony”

In Agony

Tremulous tendons, strung like piano wire
In the valve of the heart of anxiety
Little spectres in agony, fitful dying dreams
When they wake, a field of eyes follows
What thoughts might lie behind that cluster
Of prying eyes, it is what keeps them haunted

Copyright ©2019 S. M. Shuford
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Poem – “Thirteen”

Thirteen

Pleading with time to halt,
The hours only spin by faster –
Yarn unraveled in a crumbling house
Thirteen rooms, a palm full of dreams
Scattered on the bloodstained carpet
Minutes that can’t have passed the spectrum,
A paranoia that leads to superstition –
Salt in the eye of a monstrous black cat,
And cremains on the roses of a witch’s crown

Copyright ©2019 S. M. Shuford
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Poem – “A Time for Rainfall”

A Time for Rainfall

A time for rainfall dawns when poison flowers bloom
In the cracks of the windowsill in an enclosed cell
Glaring with ferocity at the indefinite darkness

Do you see the vision concealed in the seed? I do, too.

A satisfaction of the heart teases the spires of reason
And soon we will forget the fruitful days we bury alive
Do you see the mist as it parts to reveal a barren dream?

Where am I? Well, I am in that darkness, too.

Copyright ©2019 S. M. Shuford
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A Commentary on Cosmic Love

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+Cosmic Love is free to download on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and Smashwords. Get a copy worldwide in any format here. Add Cosmic Love on Goodreads here. A paperback is also available.+

Genre: Poetry / Dark Fantasy / Romance

Commentary: Cosmic Love was unceremoniously plopped out as a miniature chapbook of haiku in early 2018. Its second half, Parasite of the Sun, was also supposed to be its own separate book, but the two were so thematically similar and short that I conjoined them to save time.
The project began namely as an experiment to test myself, to see if I could handle the rigors of publishing a piece of writing. Spoiler: I couldn’t! The initial “beta” version was not that good, and it still brings shame to me just how many people read it! I suppose it shouldn’t. I mean, there must have been something salvageable about it that I didn’t see, or there wouldn’t have been nearly over a hundred downloads by the time I took it out of print that fall.
I feel like, no matter what I write later on, Cosmic Love will always be my most popular poetry book. At least now, I can be somewhat proud of it! In both cases, I was determined for the cover to be pink. And it is certainly pink.

The new version was developed from February to April 2019, off and on and in snippets. The haiku are still present in the final, or what I like to call the “real” version, but cleaned-up and strung with the freestyle poems in a more coherent way, to form working themes of tragic love, cosmic horror and cosmic beauty. The oldest poems are “In the Land of Rust”, “System Time” and “Patchwork Tower”, which are all out of a notebook I kept in high school. They have been cleaned up heavily from the source poem, don’t worry! They aren’t that old, but it’s amazing to see how your writing changes and, hopefully, improves in just a few years.

Some of the inspirations for this collection were the science fiction novels Double Star by Robert Heinlein and Dune by Frank Herbert, and various sci-fi horror films like Sunshine and Fantastic Planet. Retro sci-fi in general, with a blend of Eastern philosophies served as kind of the building point that Cosmic Love grew from. One poem that might be intriguing is “Wandering Melon”. The title, and obviously the poem itself, were inspired by the nara melon, a mysterious fruit that somehow survives and thrives in the hottest, most arid parts of the world, in Namibia.

What ended up being probably my personal favourite poem, “Hidden in a False Sun”, was written on a day, on a whim to enter into a contest. It didn’t win but it did appear in an issue of Radium Piano Band, along with my second-favourite, “In the Land of Rust”.

The passion of sound flares my final dream
I evaporate in the corals of Neptune
Into the parhelia of a hidden sun –
No one else will know what I found there

-from “Hidden in a False Sun”

Personal Fave Poems: “In the Land of Rust”, “Hidden in a False Sun”, “Promenade of the Palm”

“Biotica” Featured in Radium Piano Band

My poem, “Biotica”, was recently featured in Radium Piano Band, along with some extraordinary poems by other indie poets. This poem is the sausage ground up from several different incarnations, was supposed to be in multiple books that it never appeared in, and went by several different titles, including the rather peculiar titles “Biotic Black Hole” and “Dreams of Human Sacrifice”, before landing on simply “Biotica”. The final result is… kind of an insane poem, not going to lie.
“Biotica” will be featured as well in my upcoming multi-medium horror compilation, Haunt Me to Sleep, which I talked (read: aimlessly blathered) about yesterday. That book will likely be published in late September or October.
You can read or download the August issue of RPB here:

Radium Piano Band – Issue #16

Poem – “And a Blackbird”

And a Blackbird

And a blackbird chimes on the willow branch
Ten notes of a halcyon, or perhaps a tragedy
A riddle heard in our playground below,
Whose answer we can never acknowledge

And a blackbird dies on the willow branch,
Feathers on a skeleton, or perhaps a hollow soul
We’re growing older every moment and soon,
Another spectre unseen in the dawn light

Copyright ©2019 S. M. Shuford
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Poem – “Heart in the Catacombs”

Heart in the Catacombs

Heart in the catacombs, in the valve
A facsimile of the orchard, necrotic
Digital memory of a lifetime, corrupted
Suspended in its nightmare, evolving
In the dark fog, in the core of a plastic apple
Heart in the catacombs, in the valve
In the wishing well of the blue-eyed devil

Copyright ©2019 S. M. Shuford
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Price Drop – Dark Poetry on Kindle

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The Kindle edition of Absolute Heaven has dropped, permanently, from $2.99 to $1.50 (USD)! The price drop is worldwide, so if you picked up the rest of my poetry collection, which is still largely free, by the way, if this is your first time hearing of it, here’s your chance to get this massive volume of cut, altered and early material from it for quite a bit cheaper. I’ve had some minor publication troubles with the paperback and ePub versions of the next book, so maybe this will make up for it in the meantime!
Absolute Heaven is a considerable volume with lots of illustrations, horror and offbeat philosophy, so if experimental works are your kind of thing, can’t hurt to give it a try. 🙂

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Poem – “No Concentration”

No Concentration

You strive to stay mellow, stay chill
A will all-important, an impossible achievement
When a cacophony’s always storming your way
No concentration, no focus, no cerebral strength
An antithesis of thought, you can’t breathe
Your brothers are so afraid of silence, its phantoms,
That their cowardice might be the end of you

Copyright ©2019 S. M. Shuford
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Infinite Summer – Free for Kindle and ePub

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For the time being, Infinite Summer is free in most regions for Kindle and all regions in ePub, as are the two previous entries in the S.M. Shuford Poetry Collection. However, if you want a print copy, a brand-new ones is around $6USD.
I feel I haven’t done Infinite Summer enough justice as its author, even though from an technical, can’t-really-judge-my-own-work standpoint, it’s arguably the best one that’s been published so far, save for maybe Loverboy. The promotion that went into it in both of its incarnations has been lackluster, which I’m trying to make up for now.
Anyway, feel free to check it and the other books in the series out if poetry interests you. There’s a little something for everyone’s tastes in my ever-growing library.

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“Sunshine Weeping Demon” Featured in RPB

Avant-garde magazine Radium Piano Band is back after a brief hiatus, and was kind enough to feature two new poems of mine – “Sunshine Weeping Demon” and “Rose and Thrombus”. These appear in my chapbooks MHz and Infinite Summer as well. A neat little fact about these two poems is that they were both inspired, in an abstract sense, by the creative work of two different horror-film directors – Dario Argento and Shinya Tsukamoto. It might show, it might not.
This issue is a very strong one, and I especially love the first poem, “The House of Blue Lights” by Lee Ballentine. Check it out! 🙂

Radium Piano Band – Issue #15
Infinite Summer on Amazon
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Poem – “Surface Wound”

Surface Wound

Slicing thinner than a cat’s claw
Into sensitive throes of pain
That mean less than they imply
Only a surface wound,
But one infested with parasites
Implacable, coiling where they fall
Never relenting to leave you alone
Amidst your own thoughts

Copyright ©2019 S. M. Shuford
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