Season’s bleedings–I mean greetings–to all the residents of our Macabre Republic. The greatest month of the year has arrived at last! I have a lot of fun stuff planned for this blog all October long as we approach the High Holiday, but thought I would start out by sharing a couple of pieces from my 2014 collection Autumn Lauds: Poems for the Halloween Season.
For more on this book, check out the dedicated page here on my website. And for a further sampling of its assorted treats, you can dig into the past posts of these poems: “Ulalume II,” “Fourteen Ways of Looking at Fall Foliage,” “Octoberzest,” selections from the Angry Villager Anthology, and “Shock Treatment.”
By Joe Nazare
Immersive map of autumn,
Sketched by a pictographic tractor
On a sprawling canvas of lank stalks.
Apt metaphor for everyday life:
Byplay of determining paths and personal choice;
Blockages, backtracks, fortuitous turns.
Variously atmospheric, serving as a
Site of rural frolic or nocturnal fright,
Family-friendly agritainment or American Gothic haunt.
Story evoker: the vegetal surround a potential shelter of Shoeless Joe;
Malachi, Isaac, and their idolatrous adolescent ilk;
The annual October Boy, reborn to run a gauntlet of seasonal sacrifice.
A magical labyrinth, no matter what,
Where myriad navigators can succeed in getting lost
Even as they see their way clear.
Opposing the Joneses
By Joe Nazare
A façade boasting a macabre makeover,
A front yard littered with grim imaginings.
Each piece a welcome mat placed weeks in advance,
Beckoning the costumed to the doorstep on the 31st.
House and lawn kept spectacle-free,
Either due to religious inclination or simple disdain.
No orange lights, no dark tableaux,
Nary a pumpkin or corn stalk on the porch.
October transforms, and not only leaves into deserters:
It turns private properties into public statements.
Edifices, like architectural versions of face-painting fans,
Identify themselves by the colors they choose to sport.
Because to decorate–or to refrain–is
To declare affiliation, form alliance even with those unknown.
This holiday of masquerade actually unveils one’s true neighbors;
At Halloween, it’s the spirits of the living that grow visible.