From Holmes, With Love (and murder)

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Herman Webster Mudgett, alias Dr. H. H. Holmes. *source*

In 2015 I watched a documentary on Netflix titled H.H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer. I took notes, fascinated, wanting to do something with this savagely strange killer…a couple years, an MFA degree, and some publications later, I finally found precious time to sit down and research Holmes for my next poetry collection, The Devil’s Dreamland: Poetry Inspired by H.H. Holmes, which should be out later this year.

So until then, let me offer you some Valentines, H.H. Holmes style, while I continue researching and writing and dreaming in the darkness. Who better to do romance than a serial killer doctor who had three wives at once, courted mistresses, and stuffed some of them into trunks after killing them?

Ah, amour!

Actually, a couple years ago the Pittsburgh ScareHouse featured a Holmes “murder hotel” theme in their Basement that I went to for Valentine’s Day. You had to sign a waiver before entering since the Basement allows the actors to touch you. Thus, I was electrocuted, blindfolded, shoved in a safe, slightly strangled, chained up by the H.H. Holmes actor, and more! It was great!

Please enjoy these love notes from my muse, this strange, manipulatively charming,

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What do you mean everyone doesn’t have stacks of Holmes books and a Holmes coaster? (In my defense, some of these were gifts, ha.)

swindler of a man…or, of a devil, as he would have you know….Try these out on your loved ones and let me know how it goes.

*Roses are red, your lips are blue, I’ll hide your body so well, and poison your daughter, too. For Julia and Pearl

*I want to strip off your clothes and your skin

*With a body like that, you’d make a beautiful research cadaver

*I’ve never met anyone like you. Be my fourth wife? No, it’s okay, I left them alive and only killed the mistresses. I swear!

*Love isn’t refundable, now sign your property and life insurance over to me
-(Holmes was a notorious conman and loved money)

*What’s the key to your heart? *pulls out dissection knife*

*Love is like chloroform, sweet-smelling at first, but then you wake up naked and chained in the basement…

P.s. Artist Holly Carden designed this cool as hell illustration of the Murder Castle here. You should check it out.

The doctor and I bid you farewell, for now. We can’t wait to invite you back into the nightmare dreamland later…

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

“I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.”
-Pablo Neruda, Sonnet XVII

Ah, amour.

What does today mean? It means I work all day in retail later and I’m sure after today I’ll never want to see roses or boxes of chocolates again (*cue the last minute shoppers.* Oh, they will come, believe you me). And today means I have a writing deadline for grad school by midnight. That’s about it.

Valentine's Day means zombie hearts, right?

Valentine’s Day means zombie hearts, right?

Oh wait, it also means I can write you a love poem or two, *says the horror writer as she cackles and slips back into the shadows.*

I love love. Especially dark, twisted love. So much in fact that I wrote a whole poetry collection about it (that I will totally have published someday and share it with you all…right?!)

Anyway, here’s two love-filled poems from me to you. Now go tell someone you love them, even if it’s your cat.

After the Massacre

The candle burned auburn,
and he thought of her hair,
of her lipstick after dessert,
and her red velvet tongue.

He remembered her blood,
how easy cutting her was,
and how she bled like drops
of rain over the flower garden.

He thought of her skin, daisy-
petals painted with scarlet flecks
and how she tasted like Valentine’s
Day, right after the Massacre.

I Am Love

This is me breaking the glass over your head,
watching wine and blood mix together, and
I wonder if you will still want me then, when
the sirens scream and the police kick in the door?
And that is the end of our battlefield romance,
of bloody love in the sunshine state, and god,
your skin smells like smoke and I am inhaling
you until my lungs blacken like boiled tar.

I have found darkness. I have crawled inside its
angry mouth and begged forgiveness, but our sins
had already been slayed, been splintered into red
caskets and buried beneath dirt blessed with holy
water, and I cannot touch it, I cannot dig our lust up
from the cursed soil because our wicked passion
resides in my atoms, my eyelashes, is curved beneath
my fingernails, and how can I compete with that?

I know you intimately, the way sand beneath the ocean
knows its foaming grip, its salted perfume. I know you.
Darling, I am you. I am crawling out of your ribcage,
breaking bones like they are sand dollars disintegrating
between my feral teeth. You can tell me you don’t love
this, but I know better. You can say you are sick of my
kisses that taste like copper, but raw and bloody are
the only ways I know how to teach this lesson.

Maybe we just liked the flavor of ruin too much, and I spent
too long imagining the taste of your marrow dancing on my
tongue, the way I longed to swallow you whole and have your
life marinate inside my veins. Now we are left at the end of
the world, waiting for the bang, for the whimper, for whatever
promise the writers scripted. You never could decide which
ending you liked better, and I was just trying to survive. You
chose now. You chose me. I am Love, and I am your destruction.