Dissections logo scissors body by Deena Warner


Dissections logo pterodactyl by Deena Warner

Dissections logo pterodactyl by Deena Warner




Artwork Keeping Up with the Neighbors by Will Jacques
Artwork: Keeping Up with the Neighbors by Will Jacques

Creature Comforts

Bryan Dietrich

Dead Man, Doomsday, Dr. Doom,
see-through creature from Black Lagoon.
A headshot, signed, of Captain Sulu.
Betentacled, bloodshot, plush Chthulu
propped against a lunch pail lid
detailed in Night of the Living Dead.

Assorted skulls of painted plaster:
Maori nightmare, cask disaster.
A knock-off danse macabre relief—
butcher lecher, skeleton thief—
corner cobweb, bottom row,
erected by the collected Poe.

From chemistry failure, acid bottles.
Black plastic scorpions, Tlazolteotl’s
child-chocked lap, her teeth hard set,
image of Senenahemthet.
Horus-Aah, the Chinese Immortals,
Buddha of boredom, Buddha of chortles.

Here, an acupuncture doll,
his regions quartered, skeined, in thrall
to numbered veins of blue and black
and points for planning pin attack.
A Dalek. A ring too like Hal Jordan’s.
Leatherface, Jason, Lizzie Borden’s

exsanguined cheeks, her simulacrum.
A gargoyle to guard this godforsaken
land of books, this trackless bracken.
One head, neckbolts, another, shrunken.
An Austrian wedding clock, still broken.
A backstage pass to hell, small token.

Frazetta’s rosettas of well-drawn bras,
cups spilling over, crystal balls.
A fossil fish, 7,000,000 year ichth.
Vampirella with stake, barely a stitch.
Pewter dragon, Vader bust,
a batwinged, resin succubus.

Other lusts, my wife, divine,
an eagle from Space 1999.
Die-cast vessels, a few lost wax,
a martian saucer from Mars Attacks.
A faux Sojourner, the Enterprise,
gumball aliens with green apple eyes.

Dr. Zeus, Nosferatu,
Gort the robot, sans his Klaatu,
the Phantom of the Paradise,
and here behind my ether eye’s
own omnium gatherum, cathode stare,
a final poster: THE TRUTH’S OUT THERE.

My office, my space, my bag of tricks,
my books, my life, my itch for kitsch....
It’s what I’ve wanted since I was green,
this lust for Aurora’s Monster Scene
Custom Builder Mad Lab Kit,
complete with victim, dungeon pit.

I saw the ads in pulps like Strange,
knew when I grew to rearrange
a room of my own without cute cats,
no clowns or bunnies but Willard’s rats,
I’d stock the shelves with spines, with books
then flesh the rest with the weird in nooks.

I’d gather together dread dioramas,
people my steeple with gothic dramas:
Dracula fresh from coffin seat,
mad doctor, mad doctor, the Mummy complete
with miniature canopic jars....
I know St. Vitus, just hum a few bars.

So monsters dance between my pages,
hobgoblins hobnobbing poets, sages,
and somewhere, boxed under basement stairs,
a horror comic still prepares
that nine-year-old to draw, devour
poetry from The Witching Hour.


Sacred Sites

Bryan Dietrich


So many of them. Take, for instance, this
smooth plain just off the shoulder. You have been
here before, pressing yourself to leave
less inviting paths behind. To linger
at the nape, this crest behind a whorl
of landscape, its darker tresses, would seem
easy, but having yet to offer what
it is you must, you seek invitation
further on. Approaching each slow rise
which heaves to fill as if breath beneath you,
you encounter, finally, a brace of stones
molded like small hogans, pebbled, erect.

Here, you leave the first of many prayers.
Letting your hands tease their surfaces
a moment only, you fumble forward
toward a depression you can just make
out in the vale ahead. Past this, you know, lies
another grotto, deeper, cut into
a swelling your eyes alone have followed
far too long. Tangles, briar-like, smelling
of musk, mist, sweetgrass close about you,
distractions as necessary as the wet
you find beading gooseflesh to a boil.
This has been a harder journey than you

                       Setting out, all you knew was
that this holy place, this ancient quarry
where blood, the People’s blood, has long been
mined, this secret cleft where myth and mind
entangle, this was where you’d hoped to breech
what walls you feared had closed you off from wanting.
Now, hands painted red, supplicant, skin torn,
breast pierced, face streaked and body given up
to that ground from which it rose, you lie
among clay, as clay, created before
creator, and lift up your voice and lift
up your heart, and, holding closed the gapped flaps
of a chest from which you’ve torn it, you offer
all you have, the dearest passages you know.

Website maintained by Michelle Bernard - Contact michelle.bernard@anglia.ac.uk - last updated March 16, 2010