Poetry has always been an emotional and creative outlet for me. It allows me to express all kinds of things about my life and the world I live in without actually giving away anything too terribly personal. As a rule, I don’t like explaining the meaning of my poems because I want the reader to be able to interpret in his or her own way. What I’ll say about this poem, though, is that it’s truly one of my favorites. Connemara Eyes was written about someone who meant – and still means – a lot to me. Most of it was written in a tiny little room in someone else’s house, and originally, it was very, very long (I probably cut about a dozen stanzas that either ended up in other poems or on the “cutting room floor.”)
Anyway, it really was October and every time I got stumped, I just looked out the window at the frost and the turning leaves for inspiration. The air has an entirely different quality in October, and it seemed to me that subject of this poem really was the embodiment of that season.
Here is an oral reading from Mike Davidson – an excellent poet you can learn more about below. Thank you, Mike, the for the great reading. You can find more of my poetry in the collection, The Book of Strange Persuasions.
About Mike Davidson
Mike Davidson is a writer and poet from Kansas City, MO. Starting in his youth he utilized language to overcome a speech impediment; wielding polysyllabic vocabulary to paint the concepts of love, loss, and awakening onto his canvass. His words are described as powerful, inspiring, and familiar to heart; able to move the soul through pen and paper. He believes that cradling both agony and passion allows others to view the extremes of life in an entirely new way; as a collective, not it’s individual parts. Mike has been featured in publications from Impspired, 300 South Media Group, and Open Skies. His debut self-publication The Arsonist’s Manifesto released in 2020.
Some of us
Are destined for emptiness
Custom-made to crave
Only that which cannot be obtained
Like those hearts already ruled
Those games already played
And those lands already conquered
Gingernuts of Horror has just published a wonderful and scandalously fact-filled interview with Tamara Thorne and me. You’ll find out how we met, how we work, news about our horror novel,Grandma’s Rack, and our erotic serial novel, Belinda. You’ll see news of Tamara’s Candle Bay sequel, and my solo novel, The White Room.
We also give the skinny on how we met, what scares us, what influences us, our favorite brands of breakfast cereal, our preferences in shoelaces, and what makes us fight like cats and… cats.
And at least some of the above is true, we swear it.
You see something you want… something that seems always to exist on The Other Side from wherever you stand now. So you push, you pull, you learn to make your way through the crowd, giving them smiles… smiles and smiles and smiles… in spite of the quietly clucking tongues, the sorry sideways smirks, and the daggers cast on behalf of the particularly unpretty ascent to… well, anywhere.
You shine for the believers and avert your gaze from the naysayers. You make peace with the critics, strip bare the saboteurs, and disarm the prophets of doom with more of those smiles, more of that feigned happiness ~ as unholy war is waged upon your direst doubts and deepest fears. And all the while, you’re trying to get better and better at what you do. Better, better, better. Good enough to one day finally make it to the ever-elusive Other Side. And the hours go on and on like a chain of echoes down the jagged walls of a fathomless canyon.
The smiles are as thin as the armor now. The whipcrack-quick glints of the eye faded to dead stars before they had the chance to fall. The weaponry sits in a rust-covered heap. Your heroes are dying.
These are the days they’ll tell you you got lucky ~ that Fate, in its brute favoritism chose you as a representative for diligent daydreaming while they, the Forsaken and the Forgotten, were left behind to keep the cross warm. Fuck them. They don’t know you. They’ll first fall silent and they’ll hate you for their own cowardice. Then they’ll actively seek to dissuade you, to divert you, to dis-entitle you. They’ll tell you now, as they always have, that there is no Other Side.
You’ll shut your eyes and cover your ears… but you’ll keep walking because for each of them comes a believer ~ someone who recognizes the truth of who you are ~ someone who has walked the same thin line ~ someone who, when the sounds of empty lust and ill-will have been muted by proof, will turn to you… and welcome you to the Other Side.
© Alistair Cross
For more: www.alistaircross.com
After a grueling couple weeks of getting everything together in order to set my website live, success has been obtained. It’s been over a year since I decided I really needed to get one, and almost nine months since I’ve been been actively working at making it happen. Naturally, there were bumps in the road: domain availability complications, changes in SEO, design delays, and content and development learning curves on my part… to name a few. But at long last, it is done… and it is live.
I’ve lovingly termed my site The Dungeon, and I think you’ll find it fitting. My vision was to create a little online haunt where lovers of horror, dark humor, and maybe even a little kink could kick back, browse around, and feel at home… and with the help of many hands, I am satisfied with the outcome.
I’ve included personal photos, a library of my work – including my poetry – a collection of interviews and guest posts, a page dedicated to future works where you can view the cover of the upcoming novel I’ve been working on with Tamara Thorne, and an “Ask Alistair” page, where I will answer readers’ questions.
Many thanks to all the people who advised me, worked on the design, and devoted their time to making it happen:
and Heidi in the “slicing” department.
To visit The Dungeon, go to http://www.alistaircross.com, or click on “The Dungeon” above. Have a look around. Stay a while. Become one with the darkness…
Another horror month has come and gone, and as it is for all writers of the macabre, it was a busy month for me. I had a lot of interviews, guest blogs, and other Halloween-related events, and between them, my collaborator Tamara Thorne and I worked diligently to stay on top of our work-in-progress.
We not only stayed on top of it, but we got ahead… so far ahead, in fact, that this “little” project isn’t so little anymore. Chances are good this will end up a full-length novel instead of the 40-60k word novella we originally planned. And we are okay with this. We talked to our publisher earlier today, and the plan is to get the manuscript in by the end of the year. From there, it will go through a series of revisions, and probably be available to purchase by spring ~ but the point is that the length is a non-issue.
Tamara and I had a very specific vision for the cover art of this book, and luckily, we’re able to use it. The cover art is now under the knife, somewhere in the editing process, and although I haven’t seen the final product, I have seen drafts of it, and I love it. Shortly, Tamara and I will be revealing the cover (in its entirety), as well as a brief synopsis of the story, to the public. We’re very excited about that.
Meanwhile, aside from writing with me, Tamara was busy making the front pages of eight Southern California newspapers with her “Thirteen LA Ghost Stories by Tamara Thorne” feature. If you missed it, here is the link: http://www.dailybulletin.com/lifestyle/20131030/claremonts-haunted-school-13-la-ghost-stories-from-author-tamara-thorne
While she was doing that, I was working on an interview for The Arts and Entertainment Magazine & THE EERIE DIGEST, which will feature me in the November 11th issue. I’ve heard rumors that November’s issue will be spotlighting some pretty amazing folks, and I’m excited to see who it is. Till then, check them out at: http://www.taem.us/ and read about the other people they’ve been showcasing, such as actress Jona Xiao, film composer Cory Perschbacher, and Sons of Anarchy actress, Eileen Grubba.
Finally, I will soon be blogging about a woman named Belinda, who has Tamara and I very excited for the new year. Right now, no one knows who this Belinda woman is, but keep coming back and soon you will find out.
Till then, I have compiled my online October events for anyone who missed out on the horror-month fun. The links below will take you to my October events.
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This was a fun little Halloween feature I did at Defending the Pen, where I talked about monsters, Band Camp, Halloween, scary movies, and oddly, Madeline Kahn:
For Flash Fiction Friday at Deadly Ever After, I revealed an excerpt of my solo work-in-progress, The White Room, which will be completed sometime in 2014: http://deadlyeverafter.com/2013/10/18/flash-fiction-friday-the-white-room-excerpt-from-alistair-cross/
On my guest post at BDSM Book Reviews, I discuss the pleasures and perils of life behind the blindfold, and what it’s like to write kinky: http://networkedblogs.com/QqoXi
At the Little Blog of Horrors, I gave an interview about the ins and outs of writing, and specifically, writing horror: http://tamarathorne.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/thirteen-questions-with-alistair-cross-2/
Just before October, I also did an interview for Delisha’s Place at: http://delisha1964.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/interview-with-alistair-cross/
And, also at Deadly Ever After, the feature Haunting Poetry from Alistair Cross showcases a few of my darker, more horrific poems for those who like a little fear with their rhyme: http://deadlyeverafter.com/2013/10/20/haunting-poetry-from-alistair-cross/
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All in all, it was a great month, and I’m sad to see it go. Luckily though, at least for those of us who write horror, there’s a bit of Halloween in every holiday, and we have several more coming up.
Till next time, stay scared…
(Image taken from Google images)
A couple of days ago, Deadly Ever After did an excerpt from my work-in-progress, The White Room. Now, the same Undead Duo has posted four of my creepier poems in the spirit of Halloween. To read these, follow this link: http://deadlyeverafter.com/2013/10/20/haunting-poetry-from-alistair-cross/
As I read over these poems, I thought it would be kind of fun to very briefly discuss the back stories of each of them ~ in the order they appear at Deadly Ever After ~ as some readers like to know where certain pieces came from.
So… I’ll start at the beginning.
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The Wooden Box
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The wood of the coffin in this poem signifies the susceptibility of rot. A wooden box would provide only temporary obstruction from the open air and the insects that hurry decomposition along. The coffin itself, because it is made of wood, represents the vulnerability of the subject within it, which in this case, is a dead woman. And she is the ego personified. The red dress she wears signifies passion, lust, fire, appetite; dangerous indulgences. So, “The Wooden Box” is about the fragility and death (wood coffin) of the ego (the woman) at the hands of its own passions (the red dress). Notice that while the ego may be present, its passions can be removed, much like a “red dress” can be removed. Clothes are no more an actual part of who we are than our ego’s fleeting desires.
In this poem, every physical quality that the woman possesses is mediocre at best… however, there is a contrasting adulation behind every truthful description, i.e. “she wasn’t really beautiful/BUT she exuded such a grace”. That’s how the ego works… it is a dishonest thing.
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My Lover’s Face
* * *
My Lover’s Face is about how we “freeze” someone into the past. This poem is saying “Let it go… people learn and grow as they go along… let them”. It is about how we, if only in our own minds, hold a person to the things they did five or ten or twenty years ago. An individual is not the same person they were that many years ago.
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So, the “Dark Hotel” story is a recurring dream I have had for as long as I can remember. I don’t know what the dreams means, but I would love to have it interpreted. The feeling I always wake up with after the dream is one of hopelessness and resignation, so I assume it is representative of some sort of loss, but I am not an expert. I have written several poems about dreams I have had, and of my “dream poems”, Dark Hotel is probably my favorite. It is all true, and I tried to get every image from the dream into this poem.
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This is a very old poem. On one hand, I wrote this in honor of a dear friend of mine who died abruptly in 1994 at the very tender age of seventeen. On the other hand, I wrote it in regard to the guilt of never having said goodbye. I was living in New Mexico at the time of the death and was unable to fly back home for the funeral. I really believe that I went a little crazy during that time, and that is where the final facet of this poem comes into play: the “Madman” part of it all. Also, there is an old horror movie titled, “I, Madman,” and although I hadn’t seen the movie when I wrote this, I loved the title and wanted to use it. Fuse these things together and the result is this poem. It’s messy, confusing and opaque… but then, so was I at the time I wrote it.
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Thanks all, and have a great Halloween. It’s a-comin’…
Good evening, Cross Talkers,
I have finally gotten around to spending a little more time on my Facebook page. For anyone interested in upcoming events, new releases, or just kicking back in an irreverent, twisted little place, go to: www.facebook.com/crossalistair and give me a like.
Thank you again… and sweet screams.