Falling Asleep to Horror Movies

My vision of sugar plums,
dangling on branches,
purple as prose,
severed by the butcher knife
swung by the man in the hockey mask.
A sweet song sticks in my throat,
Becoming a millipede furred
in concertinaed burrs,
coiled snug from tongue
to duodenum.
My gut, formerly milk-warmed,
now formalin-fixed
for a final necropsy.

If you fall asleep to the camp cult
of 50s scientists
or atomic ants
crawling over Chevies,
your dreams may turn
toward lush shades
of orchestral irony,
like mad monkeys organ-grinding
with stolen theremins.

Dream, however, to something with slashers
and watch how fast
chainsaws zzzaw your zzzleep.

Nightmares potentiate themselves enough
with guilt (that fuel of the day)
without need of interloping
aural intrusions by ugly auteurs
with the minds of Richard Speck
strangling sorority girls
behind the masks their onscreen ciphers wear
(flaccid Shatner flesh,
reflected in the butcher knife’s shine).

I awaken from tortured sleep, Cesare as somnambulist,
escaped from caliginosity de Caligari.
Beat my eiderdown blankets
turned blackwood coffin’s hard outer shell.

Or maybe it’s just
a face-hugging apnea mask
ovipositing me
with alien oxygen?

Either way
I get out of bed
and turn the damn computer off.

Fitter Use for the Flock

Salvage wounded pride behind this castle’s walls,
crawling away conquered, or at least to hide
my face on the other side
of this grated portcullis.
My broken chin mostly beard, time-gathered moss;
the steel of these blades
mostly rusted dross.

Shall I confide strategy to my borzoi, my cross-eyed companion,
and last friend?
I might as well,
for soldiers no longer heed
my broken command.
Nor do I blame them
for Brutus-ing my back with their daggers,
nor the scribes for unwriting me.
Nor my wife’s unwombing me.

All the unborn, cold frogs
never to breach ponds
and become princes.
Peas like stones
destroying deepest sleep.
My poor queen
shattering mirrors with her broken vanity!

While a blaze smolders in the donjon’s fireplace,
I watch gold-orange flame ripple
off grey stone walls, turning cobbles
to icy blue runes, from which, alas,
no daemon might be summoned with chalk.

Shame reigns regent,
where I once sat.
But were I still enthroned,
I’d have that stargazer burned at the stake
for the temerity to set aught but my statue
at our solar system’s center.
Break the fingers of the alchemist
for failing to out-Faust
some unsquarable circle
(to say nothing of his treating my syphilis
with sulfate of mercury).

Call down vultures from ramparts
to pluck eyes
from diviners.
Punish them for being right
all this time,
though bird beaks breaking my tympanum
might be fitter use for the flock,
as I’m the one who lacked
ears for wise counsel.

I contemplate walling off my mistress,
entombing her in drystone;
or setting her in the iron maiden’s
spike-laden berth,
like a brooch in a toothed jewel box,
oh inamorata dentata.
Meanwhile she works poison into her fingertips
to stir onto the rim of my next glass
of reddest Madeira.

Snow falls.
Did you expect it to rise,
like kings?
I think you knew it must fall
like the same.