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 – Ginger Root

Ginger Root

Tell me your treasury of terrors,
I’ll heal you to keep you sleeping
What floats in the stratosphere of the heart
Can never hurt you if you’re never there,
Where they skulk in the endless pit

Nestle down in the belly of the planet
And I’ll make you safe for the first time

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 – Comatose Awake

Comatose Awake

Comatose awake, dead alive
Retreating into the clouds that bore us,
The windswept plain of a childhood
Passed like water through the palm’s grooves

A signal delayed, a synapse broken
Forgetting how to function on a day
If you suppose it’s sorrowful, consider
That maybe bliss of the fog is better

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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Haunt Me to Sleep Preview!

“Float far out into the Pacific. Follow its surface in any direction you want, whenever the anxiety gets to be overwhelming, whenever there is no treatment left for the black clot that forms a body-wide cancer. Adrift in the crystalline sea, you will come upon a cavern, whether you intend to or not.”

One of the prose pieces from the upcoming horror-dark fantasy collection Haunt Me to Sleep, “Grotto Siren”, was published in Radium Piano Band. You can read it for free at the link below. Haunt Me to Sleep is a mix of horror “atmospheres”, ranging from dark humor, to fairytale, to existential horror, to grotesque. It was difficult to place a specific sub-genre to its name.
I had originally intended for this book to come out around October 7th, but due to the massive rush on horror during that time, I’ve decided to move it closer to Halloween itself, when, believe it or not, fewer horror books are published. The final date for all versions, at least, will be between October 21st and November 9th, the ePub version coming out slightly later than the paperback and Kindle ones.

Radium Piano Band – Issue #17

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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“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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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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“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
Infinite Summer on Smashwords

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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