Characters in Horror Movies

The Babysitter

There's two types of these we've come to know.
    The first is the irresponsible one,
the girl who spends her time on her ass and on the phone,
    inviting her boyfriend over the instant the parents are gone.
She dismisses screams as the wind starting to rise,
    the killer's steps are the skitters of a mouse,
and she's the only one who's surprised
    to learn the call's coming from inside the house.

And then there's the second kind,
    who to me seems the much better hire.
No matter the slasher, she keeps her presence of mind
    and exhibits at least some flustered grace under fire.
She doesn't investigate upstairs, as countless others have done;
    such prudence serves her well.
At the first sign of trouble she grabs the kids and runs
    and lives to die in the sequel.

Some are doomed to get picked off before they can get paid;
others manage to make it through and die another day.

The Hero

He has a name like Tom or Chip or Clay,
    an incredible head of hair and a square jaw,
a smile that could brighten any cloudy day
    and eyes made for close-ups, objects of awe;
the camera's just waiting for his shirt to come off,
    as are the fangirls who flock to the theaters in droves.
He's perfectly built for some gore-laden popcorn fluff,
    plucked probably from the cast of some CW show.

Tom-Chip-Clay is often on a quest of some kind,
    seeking some lost sibling, loved one, friend,
but there's also usually a love interest that he finds,
    and we have to wait and see if they make it to the end.
He's the kind of guy who no matter the danger refuses to waver,
    the kind of guy who's kind to everyone;
of course, the machete-wielding maniac won't return the favor,
    but damn, does Tom-Chip-Clay's ass look nice when he runs.

It doesn't matter by what monster you're being chased
as long as you still look good with blood and dirt on your face.

The Kid

They're either innocent little angels or the spawn of Satan
    (and around here that can be frighteningly literal);
if one suddenly develops an imaginary friend,
    then the whole family's in deep trouble.
They're often the way that evil gains entry
    to the home, preying on their friendship or fear,
and it's not a good idea for them to watch too much TV,
    especially if they turn around and say, "They're here."

Some of them can see dead people;
    others have what they call "the shine."
Sometimes one's head will spin around like an owl's,
    and some hear voices that aren't theirs in their minds.
Some are bad seeds and some are creepy as hell,
    like the ones that live out in the corn,
and though some of them turn out rather well,
    for every rose there's always a Thorne.

No matter the movie, the kid rarely dies,
unless it's Stephen King—what's wrong with that guy?

by Sarah Cannavo

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Sarah Cannavo feels cheated because although she lives in New Jersey, she's never met the Jersey Devil in person. She was always told that sarcasm of hers would get her in trouble someday; now it seems to have gotten her published. She reads a lot, writes even more, and sleeps less. moodilymusing.blogspot.com


Trolls: Three Haiku

     "Remember, there will be trolls who move in. Also remember, sunlight is their bane."
            - Jane Hawkner

In the dark of night,
Trolls gather to celebrate.
Sunlight is their bane.

Bugs under a rock
Are always surprised by light.
Turn the rock over.

Trump is elected.
We have four years of sun.
Pick up the rock now.

by Jane Yolen

Advanced Alt-Rightitis

Twenty and beautiful and already showing
signs of a condition that once started gets
handed down from generation to generation.

I lost my ability to inoculate him when I lost
custody of his father, almost fifty years ago now—
first the son and then the grandson who grew up

far states and the attitudes of caregivers away—
leaving me little room to intervene or quarantine.
I watched as both were exposed, helpless

to stop the judgmentalism that invaded
and spread to their tissues and cells;
the mind infiltrated first, and then the heart—

the males in our family the most vulnerable
to the wiping out of the function of motivation
to budge. No matter how many M.D.s

or clergywomen I might pray to or call upon,
our family's case of advanced, full-blown Alt-Rightitis
Republicaniasis remains a diagnosis real

as an elephant this mother and grandmother
has no choice but to ignore if she wants
to be allowed today's in-home visits.

by Sharon Wood Wortman

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Jane Yolen has published over 360 books. She writes a poem a day and sends them to subscribers. To subscribe: http://eepurl.com/bs28ab. Of her many prizes for her work, one set her good Scottish wool coat on fire. She takes that as a warning.

With four children, 11 grandchildren, a great grand, and a full-time husband, Sharon Wood Wortman faithfully (mostly) attends the meetings of her writing/critique group, 29thstreetwriters.com


Ode to the Bagel Eaters 

hearing the express toaster ding ding
letting the waitress know the bagel is done
time for the cream cheese
spread a schmear so thick
that it looks like a glacier formed
one lucky customer receives the bagel
and takes a big bite
and now has a cream cheese mustache
which he doesn't notice
and no one in the restaurant cares enough to tell him

another one is ready for the schmear of a lifetime
a customer takes the two halves apart
and licks the cream cheese first
as if this were a giant vanilla Oreo
the glacier melted quite quickly
what's left looks like the frothed milk of a cappuccino

a rabbi came in for lunch
ordered an onion bagel
with a medium schmear, not too much now,
because it gets everywhere, but not too little because then
the bread gets lonely
when asked what he wanted to drink he ordered
a smallish coffee, not too large, not medium, but bigger than a small
with half and half, and sweet-n-low
it must be the sweet-n-low because it's sweeter than sugar,
which he can't have because he's diabetic but that doesn't matter
because it tastes like dreck in coffee anyway
the guy behind the counter waited to see if the rabbi
was going to say anything
"nu? what're you waiting for?"

a very handsome man with a black beard came in
had a yen for an uber-thick schmear,
you know, where there's so much cream cheese
between the two halves of the bagel that it looks
like two humongous snow mounds, not made to scale
his beard enjoyed the sandwich as well
he had to beat the crumbs out of his beard,
the way one beats a carpet

a woman comes in asks for a toasted bagel with butter
she shamed the cream cheese
it should be noted that the cheesy spread of goodness
committed no crime
other than to be delicious
the other customers stared at her as if she committed
a mortal sin
she took a bite and all eyes were upon her
she smiled and all the poppy seeds in her teeth
looked like she hadn't seen a dentist in years
served her right

by Lady Samantha

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Lady Samantha (a.k.a. Samantha H. Weiner) is from Long Island, New York. Her book, The Poetry of Emotions, is available at lulu.com. You can find her writings all over, including Songs of Sandy, Bards Annual 2015, cynicmag.com, Poetry Super Highway, Asbestos, and Enigma. Her poetry and short stories would fit into many genres: mystery, humor, science fiction, fantasy, history, and so many more that the editors are unwilling to keep listing.


Fixing Her Wagon

Shall I compare thee to a tinker's dray?
Thou art more broad-beamed and less sensibly ornate.
Bronz'd cowbells that doth swing doth say
the services they vaunt are far more delicate
than your misguided taste you think divine:
thy Easter bonnet seen immensely-brimmed
sets off, for common view, a vacant mind
from which tresses flow by stylists trimmed
to flagrant flaunt the hair you've purple dyed
in Clairol's promise, worthy of its boast,
while nothing that I do can turn your tide
of red-ink oceans washing up my coast.
   So long as mind can seethe at female sham,
   there's nothing for it but a tinker's damn.

by Harvey Steinberg

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At age 83, in Lawrenceville NJ, Harvey Steinberg finally decided he needs a steady career, so he's gone into unremunerated creative writing. He writes in whatever genres he feels like—recently journalism and history with his wife Marcia. He's published poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and whatnot. Whynot?