Henry [Miller] returns from his wanderings. We talk about America. I said, “Were you looking for something to love? There is nothing to love here, it is a monster, a huge prosaic monster, buying all the creative wealth of Europe at bargain prices, buying it as they buy paintings, giving jobs to the refugees, yes, but only jobs, only money, no respect or evaluation or devotion, devouring with huge, empty jaws. It is nothing, a void, a colossal robot, a commercial empire, made for caricature, all ugly because it is all materialistic. Every artist born here was killed. You escaped and found yourself, and now you have the strength to grapple with it; it cannot swallow you into its rivers of cement. Look at America for what it is: concrete, iron, cement, lead, bricks, machines, and a mass of blind, anonymous robots. It is a huge monster, but made of papier mâché with marble eyes.

Anaïs Nin
Diary entry, November 24, 1940

The Bad Guy

August 20, 2019

We are told in fairy tales that evil always loses and good eventually will triumph. That is what makes those stories so desirable to the general population. They want to believe that karma works and the bad guys are always defeated in the end. But in a world where no one thinks they are the bad guy and everyone plays the victim, it is harder and harder to find the black and the white of a situation. We are all the hero, and we are all the monster.

John Goode
Maybe With a Chance of Certainty

Love

August 17, 2019

And we all know love is a glass which makes even a monster appear fascinating.

Alberto Moravia
The Woman of Rome

Monster

April 13, 2019

Who has not asked himself at some time or other: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?

Clarice Lispector

A Hora Da Estrela 

(The hour of the star)

Halloween Surprise –

October 31, 2018

Is my soul too dark for you?

Monster

October 4, 2018

A monster is not such a terrible thing to be. From the Latin root monstrum, a divine messenger of catastrophe, then adapted by the Old French to mean an animal of myriad origins: centaur, griffin, satyr. To be a monster is to be a hybrid signal, a lighthouse: both shelter and warning at once.

Ocean Vuong
A Letter To My Mother That She Will Never Read

Leyland watched it come crawling through the dirt towards him, making its way erratically around the edge of the dying campfire, shuddering unsteadily on the makeshift legs which had been attached to its flesh by whatever dark magic lay within the vagabond’s book.

As it rounded the last vestige of flame and placed one sharpened leg atop his outstretched thigh, Leyland stared down at the head and felt his brain go fuzzy. The wrinkled lump of pinkish filth suddenly seemed to him to resemble the shape of an unborn foetus, wrapped up tightly into a ball, slowly advancing unbidden towards him like the future he was not ready to accept.

Carl Baker
From Chatterton Hill

face and shadow

Occasionally, I heard the frantic scratches of small, rodent feet upon the stone floor, going about their business. Far away, I thought I could hear the hum of conversation from a group of people – the medical staff perhaps – in their own building. Even further away, the echo of gunfire and explosions reverberated back to me. I couldn’t be sure whether this was real, or just my mind playing tricks on me. Perhaps something terrible had happened to my ears; perhaps I’d always hear the ringing of a bomb blast. And so, when I heard that louder, closer sound, it took me some time to acknowledge it.

Tap, tap, tap.

From where I was lying, it sounded as though somebody was knocking at the front door. I felt the urge to pull the sheet up over my head again but resisted after the embarrassment of being caught like that by Nurse Thomas.

Tap, tap, tap.

This time, the knocking was unmistakeable. My voice rasped as I whispered across at Do-Nowt’s sleeping form: ‘Did you hear that?’ But the poor Yorkie only rattled his remaining leg by way of response. Closer, I heard the rustling from more rodents. I heard them as they passed under my bed. There were quite a large number of them and they all seemed to be moving with a common purpose, as though called by a piper. A quick look over the edge of my bed confirmed that a thin carpet of vermin was swimming across the floor towards a crack in the wall and escape.

Tap, tap, tap.

Why would one of the nurses be knocking at the door? Wouldn’t they just unlock the door and walk in? And surely, none of them expected us to hobble up out of bed and one-leggedly, with flaking, burned skin, answer the door did they?

Tap, tap, tap.

Bullies, they say, only behave in that way because deep down they are insecure. Over the years, I’d laughed at that notion; I hadn’t felt very insecure when I was kicking Tommy in the kidneys had I? But now… Now I felt as though I was completely exposed. Whatever was outside that door could do whatever they wanted with me…Even the rats had deserted.

Before I realised what I was doing, I swung a leg out from under the sheet. Before I understood what was happening, I felt the cold of the stone floor on my feet. Before I could stop myself, I was grasping at the metal bed-head and pushing myself upright. As though in a trance, I walked to the door…

A J Kirby
Bully

A Head

The wooden door burst open and a dark figure flew at them. The sword swung at Mike before he could turn, and it cut through the air toward his head.

Sarah screamed and froze to the spot. Everything funnelled in, like slow motion. The bearded man wearing a long black cloak turned to her. He leered, his manic eyes shining with glee. She looked at Mike and he staggered. His expression was fixed, wide-eyed. His head slowly slid from his neck and fell off onto the stone floor. It bounced, settled and he stared up at her, like a dead salmon. His jerking body crumpled beside her, blood spurting onto her legs from the gaping neck.

Catatonic, she couldn’t scream. Her legs wobbly, she turned to the stairs and clambered up. She instantly heard throaty laughter and felt sturdy hands gripping her ankles, as her bladder gave way. She was pulled back down, slowly, her chin buffeting the steps, one by one. At the bottom, he grabbed her by the hair and an excruciating pain ripped through her scalp as she was dragged past Mike’s head, those eyes still staring, helplessly…

Col Bury
The Writing on the Wall

Sam

July 23, 2017

you are a new
kind of monster
you sure do look awful
good when you’re naked
I dare you to hide
underneath my bed
I dare you to follow me
home from the bus stop
late at night
until we get to my front door
& you reach your monster hand
into my chest
rip out my heart
& replace it with a hummingbird
I think that’s the most romantic thing
a monster could do

Nate Slawson