“Just Take One”

Here’s a brand new poem–an impish take on impersonal systems of Halloween candy handout.


Just Take One

By Joe Nazare


Beneath the porchlight’s warm harvest moon glow,
A cauldron of a candy bowl sits brimming,
Luring nocturnal beggars from the thoroughfare.
The arrangement is annotated by a weathered plank
With dripping red letters, spatter accented,
Imploring the costumed to remain honorable.
That sign I read as invitation, not limitation,
So now I crouch down low, chocolate-cloaked,
My musk masked by the saccharine reek.
All awful hunger this All Hallows Eve,
I await the unwitting plunge of grubby mitt,
Relish this singular opportunity to satisfy my meat tooth.



“Paranormal Inactivity”

This one was born of my own boredom with the horror-movie franchise whose increasingly formulaic installments hit theaters annually in October.


Paranormal Inactivity

By Joe Nazare


Tonight I won’t do the flying dishes
Or the mood lighting of random rooms.
The furniture can remain precisely arranged
And the dog’s chain unrattled.
To hell with the low but baleful moaning,
All the tossing in beds and snatching of covers.

Why bother
When there’s always tomorrow (and tomorrow and…).
Time ultimately grinds the edge off the most spiteful grudge,
Turns the vastest repertoire hauntingly familiar.
Restlessness, I’ve realized, isn’t a sustainable state;
Even the ethereal can be weighed down by lethargy.


For further sampling of Autumn Lauds: Poems for the Halloween Season (the complete 62-poem volume can be purchased on Amazon), check out the book’s dedicated page here on this website, and these past posts:

“Ulalume and Ulalume II”

“Fourteen Ways of Looking at Fall Foliage”

“Seize the Season”

“Angry Villager Vocals”

“Shock Treatment”

“Lauding Autumn Once Again”

“Gunpowder Plots”

“Autumn Lauds Anniversary”

“At Hand”

“Haunted Attraction”

“Patch Match”


“From Scratch”

Menu script…

From Scratch

By Joe Nazare


Forget the ham, eggs, and food cake, of course,
Items too trite by now to even be tried.
But remember, the recipe always calls for decadence,
And distastefulness will perennially prove savory.
Take note: dark hints satisfy my harsh palate–
Slaughtered lamb basted in sizzling spittle,
Lordly flies floating atop a soup of human woe,
Swiftian meat pies with crunchy baby-knuckle surprise.
Restraint be damned: become a Caligula of catering,
Let imagination run wild (but keep gluttony ever in mind).
Know that there’s no shortage of groceries here,
So shop with abandon the aisles of lost souls in stock.
All the while, resign yourself to a fundamental rule:
You no longer live, yet exist to serve, in one form or another.
Apprehend, then: there are never enough cooks in this kitchen;
When the whole underworld’s an oven, your ordained part is to bake.



Want to wash such foul fare down with vintage wickedness? Then might I suggest pairing this poem with some “Occult Beverages”?

“Patch Match”

From my 2014 collection Autumn Lauds: Poems for the Halloween Season, a selection about selection:


Patch Match

If the pumpkins picked us,
Who would they choose?

The still-ripening
Or the fully-grown

The flawless-skinned
Or the distinctly grotesque

The dull and unassuming
Or the imaginative and ambitious

The butchers eager to cut and gut
Or the more pacifistic painters

The ones who would leave them be
Or those who would let them become?


For more on/of Autumn Laudscheck out my website’s dedicated page, this previous post, and the Look Inside feature on Amazon.

“Pardonable” (original poem)

Transitioning back into society can be a tormenting notion…



By Joe Nazare


The mythologists have it all wrong–
Hell isn’t repetition, maliciously cyclical for eternity.
Instead, damnation’s a transient state.
Sinners suffer exquisitely but within limits;
Every Tartarean inmate is eventually reprieved,
Or more accurately, granted a work-release.
Their infliction sufficient, the downcast return overworld
To become living, seething embodiment of old adage,
The prophetic now echoing as terrible imperative:
Hurt people hurt people.


“Haunted Attraction”

From my 2014 collection Autumn Lauds: Poems for the Halloween Season


Haunted Attraction

By Joe Nazare


He brings neither date nor friend, walks Rancid Mansion alone
Remains mute throughout, emits not one whimper or groan

Isn’t phased when menaced by hammy actors in macabre disguise
Fails to flinch when seeming statues lurch in animatronic surprise

Doesn’t grimace at the various simulations of butcher shop grue
Has no gag reflex when he scents the hag’s cauldron of noisome stew

Doesn’t panic when the walls of the black labyrinth squeeze coffin tight
Merely grins at the scene of the lupine choir, musical children of the night

Isn’t chilled by strategic breezes, cobweb snares don’t make his skin crawl
Upon exiting the exhibit he doesn’t appear delightfully frightened at all

But when he wings himself home before sunrise strikes him full dead
Exciting new decorating ideas swirl within the crypt of his centuries-old head


Autumn Lauds Anniversary

Back on 10/14/14, I published my collection Autumn Lauds: Poems for the Halloween Season. In honor of today’s seventh anniversary, here’s another selection from the book:


Hardly Martha Stewart

By Joe Nazare


A jack-o’-lantern avalanche at the foot of the front steps;
Licorice whips and chains dangling from the threshold;
The Dead-Headless Horseman draped in a tie-dye shirt;
Hitchcockian flocks perched atop cabinets and curtain rods;
A human-hand candelabra, its five waxen fingertips flickering;
Pitchforks and straight rakes in a barrel labeled VILLAGE DEFENSE;
Tabled trays of sand-witches topped with conical black hats.

And pallid Alexandra the “ghostess” for the evening.

The party guests all delighted at her macabre décor,
Remarking upon their new neighbor’s ingenuity,
Her wonderfully morbid wit and punny ways.
No one realized that Alexandra was actually a literalist,
At least not until drinks were served and the presumed straw
Periscoping from each mug full of her Spider Cider
Proved to be both thick-bristled and twitchy.


For more on/of Autumn Laudscheck out my website’s dedicated page, this post from last year, and the Look Inside feature on Amazon.


“Statuesque” (original poem)

A sword-and-sorcery fantasy poem (sporting an allegorical base):



By Joe Nazare


The barbarian’s regimen borders on the religious
In its tireless devotion to hypertrophy.
From morn to moonglow Arod tests his physical limits,
Adrenalized by an unrelenting hatred.

His muscles drawn taut as the towing rope,
Arod hauls uphill a massive marble pillar–
A scavenged memento from the sacked civilization of his people,
Who’d refused to be taxed by an avaricious despot.

Next he seizes and envelops the thick, yellowed skull
Once shouldered by notorious brawler Durrell the Obdurate,
Squeezing until his own cranium seems apt to shatter from the strain,
All the while imagining it’s King Giles subjected to such crushing grip.

He cuts wide crescents in the riverside silt with his broadsword,
A training maneuver that eventually manages to stir up a dragling.
Always ready to intensify, Arod impales the vermicular scourge,
Lofts and swings its writhing form in torso-scorching arcs.

Lining up before the stoutest tanium tree he can find,
He launches determined, alternating blows with his spiked club,
Chopping, chopping away, swelling the muscles of his arms
As well as the mound of woodchips at his feet.

With the audacity of a madman, he tracks down a ‘warebear
And baits the behemoth into hand-to-paw battle.
A gory victory over his grisly opponent achieved,
Arod feasts on its roasted, protein-rich flesh as reward.

His daily labors earn him a fantastic physique,
Make him the envy of every underdeveloped man,
Cause him to impurify the thoughts of the chastest maiden,
Yet incredibly, he deems his own gains insufficient.

In Arod’s embittered mind, such growth is still
Not enough to embody his prodigious wrath.
So he locates the cave of the banished court-sorcerer Anabola
And solicits the concoction of a special enhancement elixir.

When questioned about the results that can be expected,
Anabola promises the barbarian that he’ll become rock-hardened.
Though no doubt misleading, the wizard’s claim proves true:
Overnight, Arod turns absolutely–not positively–granitic.

A dozen guardsmen are then summoned to deliver his sculpted bulk
To Giles’s stronghold, to serve as a cautionary figure,
A stony trophy unceremoniously entered into
The king’s ever-growing Hall of Thwarted Warriors.


Some More Gore D’oeuvres

In honor of tomorrow night’s return of The Walking Dead on AMC, here are five new pieces of zombie haiku that I have added to my previous “Small Bites” post in the Publications/Free Reads section.


Unfit Bit

Never enough steps.
Tracked down by a cadaver.
Measureless progress.


Shakespearean Tragedy

Merchants of menace.
All-too-pursuant Shylocks
Exact pounds of flesh.


Morning Death

Gross halitosis,
Like something died in his mouth.
His pecked bedmate does.


Unhealthy Skepticism

News reports dismissed:
Nothing but a can of bull.
Now: a cannibal.


Nights of the Walking Dead

Carnage as homage.
Romero-ghoul Easter eggs,