“Halloween Poem” by Lucas Mangum, author of the dark suspense novel GODS OF THE DARK WEB

Halloween, six-years-old:
Stephen King’s Silver Bullet,
My brother and I
Chased by a mummy.
The next year I dressed
As the Devil in red,
And a Catholic friend said,
I shouldn’t do that.
Trick or treating brought
Reese’s and 3 Muskies
And fun-sized Milky Way
And candy corn I only saw
Once a year.
Halloween is a dentist’s nightmare,
But I’ve still got perfect teeth.

Halloween of ’97,
I lived somewhere else
On a street too busy,
Besides I was too old,
So I stayed inside
With Leatherface,
Jason’s mother, and
Many dead teenagers.
The priest at school said,
Halloween was satanic,
But let the younger kids
Dress up in school anyway.
The next year I went out
With a girl I loved, but
Never kissed.
She said I was too tall,
But she liked hanging out.

In 2001, I spent Halloween
With another girl I loved,
And we did much more
Than share a kiss.
But by 2002, I was
Alone again, save for
My monsters and madmen.
Signs outside of churches
Advertised Halloween
Alternatives, with all
The candy and none of
The Satanism.
I spent 2003 outside
My friend’s trailer home,
Getting drunk and putting
On red guy-liner.
My hand stayed steady,
But I threw up on my shoes.
In 2006, I shaved my legs,
And wore my girlfriend’s
Dress and undergarments
For a night at the movies.
The original Halloween
Was screened at the
Local theater.

By the next year, she was
Gone and a friend was dead,
But I was dating
My future wife.
It was also the first year
I skipped the new
Film in the Saw franchise.
I’d grown tired of
Violence and death,
And I questioned everything,
Contemplative as I switched
Out Rob Zombie for Bowie.
There was a party on
A large property in the woods
The host was dressed as
Barbarella and she had
Several llamas as pets.
“Where do you think Tim is?”
Another friend asked.
I said I didn’t know and
I meant every word.
He said, “Tim’s over,”
As if our friend had been
No more than a video game.

I’ve no memory of
The year after that,
Except I was living
In Tyler, TX, and
It’s highly likely
That I got very drunk.
In 2009, I had returned
To Philadelphia.
We dressed as mimes,
Future wife and I,
And I attended most of
A twenty-four hour
Horror movie marathon
Where I first saw Lady
Terminator, at 6 a.m.
In 2010, we went to New
Orleans, and saw so many
Ghosts, that she said,
Her faith was called into
Question. But mine was
Validated.

2013 was my last year
In Philly, and I went to
My last twenty-four hour
Horror movie marathon.
This time I stayed for the
Duration, leaving at noon
The very next day,
Deliriously awake,
And not tired at all.

Halloween ’16 came round,
And we dressed our newborn
As a bat half the night
And a giraffe the other half.
Halloween ’17, I sat at Shane’s,
Head in my hands,
Afraid and isolated,
A breakdown eminent,
One that finally came
At the start of a cruel summer,
But I’m fighting for my life,
Halloween around the corner,
Halloween, my Christmas,
Where I gather with my family,
When the candy corn sugar rush
Reminds me I’m alive,
And I take my place,
Among creatures of the night,
Catholic friends and priests be
Damned, their devil inside,
Unembraced, will consume them.

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Lucas Mangum is the author of Flesh and Fire, Mania, Engines of Ruin, and Gods of the Dark Web. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his family.

 

Series Editor

Gabino Iglesias is a writer, journalist, and book reviewer living in Austin, Texas. He’s the author of Zero Saints. Find him on Twitter at @Gabino_Iglesias

 

Image: halloween.tammam.co

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