Happy Holidays! I wanted to surprise everyone by packing extra horrors into this special issue of The Goreletter, so I invited friends from several writing communities to send in “holiday gorelets” for publication here, with a prize going to what I judged to be the best submission. Not an easy task! Most are about Santa and Xmas. I did not reject any of the entries — to my way of thinking, the more the merrier. I’ll post the award winning poem at the very end, along with a little explanation why I chose it. Enjoy. And do yourself a favor and visit some of these writer’s websites and buy their books with that gift certificate you got for the holidays. Really: try someone new!
First Christmas at Grandma Lucia’s House
With loving dark arms she reaches to embrace
the children, the kids’ candy apple eyes wide
in terror as the huge hands descend gray
and powerful, fleshly, the thick unnatural lipstick mouth
alive with ancient smiles, behind her the meats
hanging from racks and wires, sausages, lungs,
necks, these are delicacies where she’s from, starving
peasants would scream in the fields for this,
staring into snow-stuffed skies for the face
of Mother Mary, and my kids are shrieking.
— Tom Piccirilli http://www.tompiccirilli.com/
A Sled Parked atop the Roof
A sled parked atop the roof.
Deer grazing on the front lawn.
A man in red breaks into the house
Passes through the front door
Without opening it — amazing!
His hands are empty going in
But his arms are loaded when he leaves
Can you see bloodstains on crimson material?
A shell in each chamber should suffice.
This magic elf won’t rob us twice.
— Bev Vincent http://www.bevvincent.com
Santa’s Got a Brand-New Bag
Cookies and milk shoved into a gaping maw
Guts rumble beneath the big red suit
Pine tree wilts as the mouth opens wide
A gloved finger slides down the throat
Vomit and bile, gifts and gobs rain down
Floor now slick with acid and toys
The fat elf retreats, his job well done
Another holiday worth remembering
— John R. Platt http://jplatt.homestead.com/
Santa is a Cannibal
Santa is a cannibal…what, you hadn’t heard?
Well, his habit isn’t flaunted;
He’s wickedly canny to get what he’s wanted
For dinner, elves are preferred.
Little elfin Leonard brought
Santa cookies and custard,
But ol’ Kringle’s carnivory
got the lad flustered.
“He tried to flee,”
Santa ho-ho-hoed with great glee
“But he was terrific with mustard!”
— Lucy Snyder http://www.sff.net/people/lucy-snyder/
smoke Christmas Eve,
on the hearth the year the fat man
— Deborah P Kolodji http://www.amaze-cinquain.com
Unwrapping The Phantom
The angry Santa weeps lakes of tinsel
packages them in the womb of crystallized sky
then adorns his presents with ribbon-ed clouds
And He sends them to adults in anger
For in this world of antediluvian Gods
he is now a jolly, lobster-red joke
But we know not what we had
when we were ten, and, believed in him
And, what magic was uncreated when
we were given that final gift; the truth…
— J.M. Heluk http://www.jmheluk.com/
‘Twas the Night After Christmas
Welcome to Dark Santa’s manse
It’s time for the midnight dance
Come into his workroom
And seal your doom
Try not to be afraid
Though it’s a very dark tomb
Stuffed with all sorts of toys
To fulfill his twisted joys.
— Ron Breznay
It was Blitzen, I think, who, sick of his damned
lashing, twisted to bite the ropes that bound us
setting Santa into freefall toward no chimney
below but all twelve of us flew down anyway
and tore him to pieces, champing through fat
onto bone and flying our twelve separate
ways and all twelve of us had red shiny noses
the Christmas that freedom was our first gift
to each other
— Michael A. Arnzen, http://gorelets.com
Early morning, and the first awake.
Mom and dad and sister, still sleeping.
The packages look different, are lumpy,
Ornaments glisten. They seem almost moist,
nestled in there among the blinking red lights.
The tinsel looks silky and blond
The cookies are gone from the mantle, and,
The stockings are full. But they’re small.
Little girl stockings.
— Chris Garrett
Please Come to my Solstice Sacrifice
and Tree Decorating Party!
Drink blood ‘til you’re sated,
eat flesh ‘til you’re gorged,
then we’ll light the fire,
sacrifice the supplicants.
There’ll be chanting and dancing,
while decorating the tree:
First entrails, then eyeballs,
carved kneebones, cartilage,
perforated kidneys, and a
— Terrie Leigh Relf http://www.writersmonthly.us/
red ribbony bonus
surprise tucked deep
the egg noggin drip
a dead giveaway
— Kurt Newton http://www.kurtnewton.com/
The Necrotide Spirit
There was a Christmas Tree
in the mausoleum this year.
Saw it when I was placing roses
by old Aunt Matilda’s crypt.
Gifts by the dozen sat beneath the tree,
all gaily wrapped yet dirty.
I felt suddenly festive
and couldn’t help but sing along
with the clogged and raspy voices.
— Kevin Donihe http://users.chartertn.net/mbs/kldwriter/
Super Ate Family Films
the window bloody
smile slit spreading
thankful for this bounty
— John Edward Lawson http://www.johnlawson.org/
Santa Goes Postal
Mrs. Claus no longer speaks, save to complain
of cold and isolation. I find solace
in cable horror movies, watch shooting sprees
on CNN performed by postal workers
with less cause for grief (fewer packages, better
work conditions than my icy North Pole prison).
I scheme to pull children from their beds,
drag them trembling over frosty white
powdered lawns, where (I’m guessing) blood
will make a lovely cherry snow cone spill.
— Norman Prentiss
*** WINNER ***
Nosferatu Celebrates the Season
some chimney but through
he is everything good girls
tall dark & red-suited —
eventually — bearing
the gift that keeps on
— Ann K. Schwader http://www.geocities.com/hpl4ever/
All of these poems were so good, it was impossible to pick one winner in this so-called “contest.” I almost chose Kurt Newton’s “stocking stuffer” because it reads so much like an Arnzen “Gorelet” that it’s uncanny. It’s a damned good horror poem, so I’m sending Kurt a signed printout of my e-book, Sportuary, for taking third place. Tom Piccirilli’s “Grandma Lucia” is the most literary and probably well-written of the batch — truly a dark and familiar poem — but perhaps not as gleefully gory as the others. Tom takes second and wins a free review copy I have of the Monks/Fisher Six Crimes anthology. Although it’s a vampire poem, Ann Schwader’s piece stood out as the most original to me, in not only the Nosferatu concept, but also the way it weaves double-meanings into almost every line, therefore standing up to multiple re-readings. Ann wins a copy of Bruce Boston’s fantastic new collection, Pitchblende, signed by Boston, Simon, and Arnzen (who wrote the intro and edited the book). Ann’s poem wins because it’s written so tightly that it’s truly a gorelet. But they all are and I thank every writer who contributed for their grotesque gift to us all. Happy Horrordays!
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