Pleasures of the Damned

April 24, 2020

I am your worst nightmare, and your greatest fantasy.


April 4, 2020

There’s no lock on the door
since the Midnight Men came,
with their pale, grinning faces
their tire-track eyes,
and the sound of the shadows
seems louder somehow,
on the street that runs empty
past Emily’s house.
She still plays there sometimes
on the grey concrete stoop,
with the screen door wide open
to welcome the rays
that spread out from the dish
on the middle school roof –
education for all’s what
the Midnight Men say.
And the grown ups all smile
as they murmur along
with the lessons they learn
in the new, better way,
while they work at new jobs
that the Midnight Men brought
till their finger bones show
white on red, like their teeth.
It’s much safer these days —
no one worries at all
about vandals or thievery —
those things are done,
and if every gaze shies from
the old Northgate Mall
no one says much about it
or questions the smell.
But young Emily wishes
her life would change back
to the way that it was
before fog drifted down
from the cracks in the sky
where tomorrow peeked through,
before Midnight came early
and never moved on.

Marcie Lynn Tentchoff

Irish Viagra

September 29, 2019

An Irish woman of advanced age visited her physician to ask his advice on reviving her husband’s libido.

“What about trying Viagra?” asked the doctor.

“Not a chance” she replied. “He won’t even take an aspirin”.

“Not a problem,” said the doctor. “Give him an Irish Viagra.”

“What on Earth is Irish Viagra?” she asked.

“It’s Viagra dissolved in his morning cup of coffee. He won’t even taste it. Let me know how it goes,” he said.

She called the doctor the very next afternoon. “How did it go?” he asked.

“Oh faith, bejaysus and begorrah, doctor, it was terrible. Just horid, I tell ya! I’m beside meself!”

“Oh, no! What in the world happened?”

“Well, I did the deed, Doctor, just as you advised. I put the Viagra in his morning coffee, and he drank it. Well, you know, it took effect almost immediately, and he jumped straight up out of his chair with a smile on his face, a twinkle in his eye and his pants a-bulging. Then, with one fierce swoop of his arm, he sent the cups, saucers, and everything else that was on the table flying across the room, ripped me clothes to tatters and passionately took me then and there, right on top of the table. T’was a nightmare, I tell ya, an absolute nightmare!”

“Why so terrible?” asked the doctor. “Wasn’t the sex good?”

“Freakin jaysus, it was the best sex I’ve had in me last 25 years, but sure as I’m sittin here, Doctor, I’ll never be able to show me face in Starbucks again!”

loathsome shapes

April 3, 2019

The nightmare corpse-city of R’lyeh … was built in measureless eons behind history by the vast, loathsome shapes that seeped down from the dark stars. There lay great Cthulhu and his hordes, hidden in green slimy vaults.

H.P. Lovecraft
The Call of Cthulhu

This wood is, of course, nowhere near Athens; the script is a positive maze of false leads. The wood is really located somewhere in the English midlands, possibly near Bletchley, where the great decoding machine was sited. Correction: this wood was located in the English midlands until oak, ash and thorn were chopped down to make room for a motorway a few years ago. However, since the wood existed only as a structure of the imagination, in the first place, it will remain, in the second place, as a green, decorative margin to the eternity the poet promised for himself. The English poet; his is, essentially, an English wood. It is the English wood.

The English wood is nothing like the dark, necromantic forest in which the Northern European imagination begins and ends, where its dead and the witches live, and Baba-yaga stalks about in her house with chicken’s feet looking for children in order to eat them. No. There is a qualitative, not a quantitative, difference between this wood and that forest.

The difference does not exist just because a wood contains fewer trees than a forest and covers less ground. That is just one of the causes of the difference and does not explain the effects of the difference.

For example, an English wood, however marvellous, however metamorphic, cannot, by definition, be trackless, although it might well be formidably labyrinthine. Yet there is always a way out of a maze, and, even if you cannot find it for a while, you know that it is there. A maze is a construct of the human mind, and not unlike it; lost in the wood, this analogy will always console. But to be lost in the forest is to be lost to this world, to be abandoned by the light, to lose yourself utterly with no guarantee you will either find yourself or else be found, to be committed against your will – or, worse, of your own desire – to a perpetual absence; from humanity, an existential catastrophe, for the forest is as infinitely boundless as the human heart.

But the wood is finite, a closure; you purposely mislay your way in the wood, for the sake of the pleasure of roving, the temporary confusion of direction is in the nature of a holiday from which you will come home refreshed, with your pockets full of nuts, your hands full of wildflowers and the cast feather of a bird in your cap. That forest is haunted; this wood is enchanted.[…]

The English wood offers us a glimpse of a green, unfallen world a little closer to Paradise than we are.

Such is the English wood in which we see the familiar fairies, the blundering fiancés, the rude mechanicals. This is the true Shakespearian wood – but it is not the wood of Shakespeare’s time, which did not know itself to be Shakespearian, and therefore felt no need to keep up appearances. No. The wood we have just described is that of nineteenth-century nostalgia, which disinfected the wood, cleansing it of the grave, hideous and elemental beings with which the superstition of an earlier age had filled it. Or, rather, denaturing, castrating these beings until they came to look just as they do in those photographs of fairy folk that so enraptured Conan Doyle. It is Mendelssohn’s wood.

“Enter these enchanted woods…” who could resist such a magical invitation?

However, as it turns out, the Victorians did not leave the woods in quite the state they might have wished to find them.

Angela Carter
Overture and Incidental Music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Edo Zollo

She’s been following me my whole life. It started out with a recurring nightmare when I was a child: a strawberry-blonde woman in a long, white dress dragged my Dad under the bed by his hair as he slept. Should I mention she dragged him with her teeth? She moved like she was liquid, like she floated across water.

Then, when I astral travelled that one time, I encountered a blonde woman in a long, white dress, living in a pond riddled with weeds and reeds. She yanked me under and tried to drown me. Luckily, I escaped. I put protection wards up the next day and haven’t gone back.

And last night, I had a nightmare that a woman made out of mist dragged children into a lake to drown them. Yes, it was the same woman.

I’ve heard lots of myths (mostly Irish) about wicked faeries or women who live in ponds and lakes. I just want her to leave me alone.

Garden of Ash and Bone

my own nightmare

October 2, 2017

You have been with me ever since, in incubus, a nightmare, my own nightmare, the nightmare of adolescence, of growing up a female child, of becoming a woman in a world set against us, a world we have lost and where we are everywhere reminded of our defeat.

Kate Millett
The Basement

bits of nightmare…

October 14, 2016


We both wondered whether these contradictions that one can’t avoid if one begins to think of time and space may not really be proofs that the whole of life is a dream, and the moon and stars bits of nightmare.

Arthur Machen
The Terror


Diary 11th May

Rain yesterday afternoon. Heavy showers. Muggy and wet…much too warm for a coat, so out in the rain in a white tee and cut-off denims, looking like the proverbial drowned rat.


Sin pricks me like a convict’s suit of arrows
For here my evil, blue, and moody youth
Has found its old lair…

Watching rooks scrambling under the eaves of the house across the lane. People are living there, so they must be able to hear those big birds pacing across their ceilings…that noise at night will pull the clothes off their souls.

Oh, well. Place looks very run-down. The people there must only be renting. The rooks don’t seem to care about that, though. Better to nest in an attic than the top of a swaying tree…

Time now for breakfast and a large glass of gin…


By the way, talking of darkness, last night I had a dream of electrical failure in the house. I was alone in the dark, which was as black as the cover of a black-magician’s grimoire. Only something was wrong…it was this house, and yet not quite this house. It was a clever copy, I felt, constructed to confuse me. But, obviously, I couldn’t see the differences – so I can’t describe them here…

Then I woke for real and my bedside light worked. Which was a great relief, of course, but my mind started racing, as it’s prone to do in the early hours: looking from the window at the night sky, I was struck by the implacability of the universe and the smallness of humanity. Existence is, ultimately, totally pitiless…

Sweet cheesus. Being awake is more feckin’ frightening than my nightmares!


Today the buzzards shrill cries overhead: three of them flying to kill on the moor; talon and beak, to tear fresh meat…their cries a summoning, one to the others…Over the hedgerows below Crows Nest, blood drops speckling the flowering gorse like a fall of fine rain.

And then the rooks nesting in the trees surrounding the churchyard rise up and attack these three interlopers. They do all they can to drive them off from their nests and their young…who are simply fast food for a hungry buzzard.

Giovanni Boldini, Ibis in the Palazzo Rosa at Vesinet

Diary 6th May

Subconscious echoes followed me from sleep. Uncomfortable dreams, last night, but with no clear narrative thread. Just unpleasant. So now I feel uneasy, jittery, and will spend my day in disquietude.


Beautiful day yesterday. Sun and blue skies. All very summery. Picked up my new spectacles in town and finished reading Georges Simenon’s “Intimate Memoirs, including Marie-Jo’s book”.

Simenon wrote three memoirs: “Pedigree” (1948), although fiction, was obviously based on the writer’s early life in Liège, while “When I Was Old”, is a notebook record kept from June 1960 until early in 1963, when Simenon was nearing sixty. And, finally, “Intimate Memoirs”. In later life Simenon described “Pedigree” as “not really accurate”. He also stated that “When I Was Old” was a book that should never have been published, much of it having been written “to try to keep a woman, my wife, from slipping into the abyss” of alcoholism.

So what of “Intimate Memoirs”?

The work is of little interest as an account of a public life: famous names are mentioned, Pagnol, Duvivier, Cocteau, Gide, Vlaminck, Derain, Picasso, but Simenon gives them nothing interesting to say nor does he discuss their work. They are names on a page, there to impress. Simenon never kept a diary. Instead he relied on his “almost stereoscopic memory for events in their tiniest details, for facial expressions, gestures, and the spoken word,” to fill the book with pages of conversation…


I don’t think so.

While Simenon’s descriptions of the assorted “harem-ish” set-ups needed to accommodate his insatiable sex-drive may hold a certain fascination for the reader, the remainder of the book is, sadly, “a sludgy bore”, the sentimental ramblings of “an uncommonly selfish man”, desperate to justify himself and his behaviour.


It’s looking like the Labour party will end up in third place in the Scottish parliamentary elections, having won only a single seat. The local council elections so far have seen Labour avoid the “catastrophe” predicted in the media. In the by-elections in Sheffield Brightside and Ogmore Labour won comfortable victories with healthy majorities…Labour’s Sadiq Khan is looking favorite in the London mayoral campaign, the results of which will be announced later today. He could well become Europe’s first Muslim Mayor.