Dissections logo scissors body by Deena Warner

 


Dissections logo pterodactyl by Deena Warner


Dissections logo pterodactyl by Deena Warner

 

 

 


Photo Laokoon 2001 by Susan Diab
Artwork: Laokoon 2001 by Susan Diab

Lon Chaney Jr.

Bryan Dietrich

Sleeping with Lon Chaney is a bad idea.
You will need another will, new razors.
You will need another cat. Screw the cat,
you will need a bigger box. Late at night,
sleepwalking toward the loo and imagining
you have left him alone, between sheets,
he will jump you, brandishing chains
you bought for other purposes. Your hall
will become longer, your stair, creakier.
You will never find your dildo again.
If he asks you to marry him, his grin
will make you forget what ‘yes’ means.
‘Maybe’ will forever frighten you. No
will not be an option. When the sun comes
up, he will not be there, at least not where you
can see him. In the garden, near the creeping
vine, the foxglove, you will find footprints,
strange new plants tracking the moon. His love
bites alone should be enough to give you pause.



*****************************************************************************************

Vincent Price

Bryan Dietrich


Vincent Price is in your cellar, cackling beneath
the burlap in the corner, behind the drywall, in each
forgotten box. He has never been your friend. He has
only your worst interest at heart. Vincent Price wants
to mould you in wax. Wants to capture your features
before they become featureless, runny, like bad
cheese. He wants to burn you, impale you, trap
your head in an elaborate but slowly constricting
cloisonné mask. He wants to bury you in your own
basement, rivet you to your walls, prepare for you
a pendulum of inordinate size. Actually, Vincent
Price beckons from many backyard bunkers, from
tenements, from gimcrack shack and alley, every
abandoned factory. He takes you by the hand, walks
with you to the nearest operating room, drops you
off in a glass enclosure, returns to the controls,
and flips the switch. As you begin to change,
your head growing larger, your right arm more
sinister, your heart chitinous and vague, he goes
to fetch pins, prongs, ether, leaving the door ajar.


*****************************************************************************************

Carl Kolchak

Bryan Dietrich

Dark shadows, forbidden files, a door sliced open
by itself…. Cue creepy fanfare. Suddenly,
the Nightstalker himself appears on your porch.
Like a Church of Latter Day Sots figurehead,
he says, ‘Follow me.’ Dishevelled, perpetually
perplexed, wearing a white straw hat and carrying
only a camera, a crucifix, a sharp stick, he leads
you to the nearby cemetery where you once saw
a white hart bemist itself between graves. Here,
tarantulas take refuge, headstones file out before
you like filed fangs, a giant Jesus rises beneath
the moon promising blood. Kolchak veers left,
produces a lantern, says something about Lovecraft,
chuckles like a lunatic. You know you’ve come
for a reason. Nostalgia? No, his old show showed
you everything, lured you toward your illicit love.
Werewolves, Walpurgis night. It made you buy
books. It made you want to know. It revealed
the thin places in the world, spaces only you seemed
mad enough to fill. Arriving at your destination
at last, Kolchak takes your hand, leads you
inside, unzips the zipper that should have been
plainly visible all along, sheds his Kolchak
suit. There is nothing left to do but put it on,
straighten your straw hat, stake your claim.


*****************************************************************************************

Boris Karloff


Bryan Dietrich


Boris Karloff loves poetry. Off hours.
When the monsters he’s made chop
themselves to sleep. Byron, that great
garrulous grinch, he can take or leave.
Wordsworth? He can only pronounce
him worried. Too often the last part
comes out warts. And Keats? Well,
who survives Keats? Now, Coleridge
on the other hand, Coleridge is chewy.
At least as long as the poems have demons,
doppelgangers, something likely, in them.
In the end, only Shelley seems dead
on. He has an eye for it, death, for knowing
what chains mean, or fairies, or fire.
And the skylark, so high and cold and far
away? Though he’s never seen one,
Boris Karloff believes he will know
when he eats one, slowly, sucking
the soft parts clean from the spine.

*****************************************************************************************

    Fay Wray


    Bryan Dietrich


    It isn’t the leaving, no, nor the looking back that hurts.
    Not the jungle or its delirious denizens she will,
    finally, miss. Not the low fog that blooms, rose-tinted,
    infinite, each morning to hide the island’s brute
    beauty between stone valleys or even, really, the mist
    itself. It isn’t any memory of those two tallest
    spires that once stabbed sky until, titillating, mute,
    a few flashes enticed her darkest love to scale them,
    chasing one frail ray. No. She didn’t even cry out
    when what she’d worshipped so fitfully set sail
    for other stars, when that power she had already
    begun to take for granted split, lay measured in a pit –
    she herself, bloody and abandoned, brought low by more
    than she could dream. Yes, she’ll miss the gate, her
    great hate, the wall she called communion. But nothing,
    not even forsaking this world for the one her would-be
    lover loved, could provoke the kind of pain she knows
    will grow when she sees – a fading star reflecting
    on descent – what she’s headed toward is too like all
    she’s lost. When, there on the horizon, another island,
    some shining city she’s barely imagined appears,
    when its own fog lifts and she finds the unfamiliar beckoning
    from both sides of the skull, she can only hope to rise.






 
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