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  • Writer's pictureLuke Ramer

Guest Poet - John Grey

Dark Fiction Factory welcomes back guest poet, John Grey. Please enjoy his following poems.


The reader of minds is in your head.

He advances, slowly, carefully,

into the crawlspace of your brain,

where your thoughts brood in the dark.

He’s unafraid

of your murk, your corruption,

the snakes that slither in and out

of the cracks in your cranium.

The reader of minds

is right at home in your evil.

He doesn’t need maps.

Your insidious judgements

draw him to them.

Same with your nefarious plans.

And your cruel unspoken opinions.

Your venom, your malevolence.

is laid open to him

like a meal on the table.

He’s a hyena ripping into

the raw meat of your mind.

He’s a cockroach nibbling on the crumbs.

And he is the inspector

of every sickness, of everything heinous and malicious,

of all of your vile bile.

Then, when he’s done,

the reader of minds gives you the go-ahead.

You’re corrupt.

You’re a degenerate.

You’re diabolical enough

to make your way in this world.



Yawn long and deep enough

to suck the bats off the cave roof.

Rubs eyes

and the red comes loose.

Dank breakfast,

left over ice-caked beast.

Claws snap. Skull crunches.

Flesh disintegrates

like dandelions.

Morning. Light crawls

through crevasses, fissures,

like snakes, illuminates the moss

a vile green, bends through crystals,

buffs the dark brown walls.

Crawls out of coffin.

Sun. Blinks. Hands to sky

in broad, unconscious prayer.

Stumbles on rocks, on shiny gravel.

Warmth thaws the wary.

What's this greenness? Vile.

And the stabbing of bird song.

Blood trickles from the ears.

Wind smells toxic fresh

And the flowers...

kill with color will you!

And what are these strips

crisscrossing the plain.

And signposts hammered into earth

Names? Only God is named!

Scratch at these pathetic trails.

Rip up the stakes but the damn

things won't budge. And writing.

Like the creatures scratched into

cave walls by the dead.

What's next? Humanity?

Cackle. Scream. Wail.

Noise braces the jaw,

fires up the muscle, balloons the chest.

Dots on the horizon.

Perspective wires imagination.

Not ants. Not busy hills lapped up

with rabid tongue.

Iron and clay and wood.

Movement. Kicking up dust.

And building. Thwack. Thwack.

Hands of fire. Of hammers.

Damnable how dwarves

congregate and make themselves monster.

Huge girder limbs. Giant crane talons.

Up goes this city thing. Blocks lake,

drains river, makes concrete nests in mountains.

Thumbs to forehead. Press.

Toe to rock. Kick.

Mouth to landscape. Spit.

The end of the world is at hand.

Armageddon. And it's wearing blue overalls.

And there...a three piece suit.

And chatter like teeth gnashing.

Stomach growling. Lips salivating.

Talk like hunger. No sated growl.

Just the beast put on notice…there will be more of us.

More of this.

Grab a few worms. Some hunks of grass.

No drink. Too dangerous. Thirst can lick

the walls of cave. Leave no sign.

Bad dream three nights back.

Cry of the hunter. Dogs.

And blood. Catacombs of blood.

Underground rivers of blood.

Don't go out again.

Live off tiny scurrying animals.

No more light.

Go blind like fish.

Slink farther and farther

into the labyrinth.

Adapt to breathing the foulest air.

Become a shuffling noise, a strange panting,

an unseen terror to those

who wander from their path.

Go to the deepest pit of the inner world,

crawl down into the bottoms of the

gurgling wells.

Pretend to love. Pretend to care.

You are a heart.

Beat you bastard.


I don’t complain

but nor do I take pride in the way I live.

All day, I smuggle myself into

the wooden jaws of my rest.

At night, I become this

untethered underworld god,

minor but bloodthirsty.

I am protected from feeling,

am immune to the tears

I leave in my wake.

And I cling to the past,

survive in the present,

have no concept of future.

I exist in the moment:

either peaceful,

couched in dirt from the grave,

or violent,

as my needs make muster.

Mine is a life

that must prey on other lives.

It can be used in no other way.

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