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H.P. Lovecraft's most famous quotes about the horror genre is that: "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."

And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
The Waste Land, T.S.Eliot I. The Burial of the Dead

As a child I was never fearful.
Not of the dark, spiders or ghosts.
In fact I was wilful.
Hard hearted, cold.
I liked that about me, it was a barrier to the outside world.
I was the loner, the malcontent, the strange spooky one.
I loved it more as a teen, embraced the Gothic, elevated the bizarre.
I smoked, it was cool, I drank, it was cool, I was nihilistic, it was cool.
Popular meant conforming, how that repulsed me.
Why? Because conformity meant no individuality, no soul.
My Grandmother said once "be careful what you read, it becomes you"
Yeah right, look I'm Pennywise the clown!
But she was right in a way.
I became repulsed by myself.
I had no compassion.
No true love to call my own.
I was alone with my fear, my fear of loneliness. Irony.
I had no true identity, I hid in horror, then became horrified.
I didn't know what was coming, where I was going, who I was.
I was afraid. Truly afraid for the first time.
Afraid of my shadow, of not knowing, of returning to the grave.
Fear is a loathsome creature, devouring love and hope.
Yet, know this, we are born to die, the clock runs down, no appeals.
So fill up on love, fill up on warmth, for Hell maybe hot, but alone,
it's cold*.
Literary historian J. A. Cuddon has defined the horror story as "a piece of fiction in prose of variable length... which shocks or even frightens the reader, or perhaps induces a feeling of repulsion or loathing."
We fight delicately, sniping, taking and giving verbal punches.
Our skin doesn't bruise, maybe our egos our minds,
but our bodies no.
Our velvet arguing is seamless, flawless.
Anyone listening would hear witty repartee.
A couple playfully bantering, no more.
Polite meritorious armament of words.
Primed to fire a salvo of cruelty.
Cruelty, covered and handled with crushed velvet gloves.
Textured, cultured, arguing.
Polite parrying, pleasant resentment.
A bottle of wine, remnants of a meal, wounds needing to heal.
Less or more cruel than a punch? This seamless linguistic pain.
Bruises fade, pain subsides, mental cruelty resides.
  Jun 2014 Celtic Lass
Ryan Jakes
You smiled today,
just for a second,
and your smile lit a spark
that coloured the cosmos with love.
Celtic Lass Jun 2014
We sat in quiet whispers--resigned and frozen
To the wrought-iron slats--shoulders touching,knees barely bumping,
Shivering in the sojourn of our anxious intentions...
We were in default wait mode
And it was the waiting that tinged the tension.

You referred to me as your Jaded Juliet--
Impulsive innocence of perfect porcelain,
Protected within my world of privilege and power,
All feigned sophistication at fourteen.

I regarded you as a renegade--
A rouge in Romeo's guise aloof, unattainable;
I longed for your street-smart savvy swagger,
Thought of you as my iron-hearted hero at fifteen.

We huddled with few words--motionless for hours,
Wrapped in false facades of our uncomfortable indifference...
Feelings and fingers  entwined in the fantasy realms
Of our imagined lust and nervous satisfaction.

My head at war with my heart--fidgety and flustered,
In that feet-twisting,breath-hitching moment of madness,
With the cold creeping into my words of nauseating embarrassment,
I brandished them as loud, unweildy weapons of awkward....

I blurted out "I  l o v e  you," and meant it,
To sodium arcs reflected in your copper eyes--
Staring transfixed, as brilliant uncirculated  pennies--
Marveling at the 297 ways to make change for one dollar,
But absolutely no way to alter those words.

Suspended--swirling, and writhing like wraiths--
They floated as feathery plumes of breaths ...
Within the icy, silver stillness,
The scheduled snow fell as the hush between us.
( For A.J.---wherever he may be.....)
  Jun 2014 Celtic Lass
Ryan Jakes
I love the way your smile just sits there
Beneath the mischief in your eyes.
You have that look
like you know what you've got going on
but without the arrogance to match.

We talk about life
Yours, mine
It makes me wish we had an "ours"

I wish I could shake this feeling of betrayal
this hatred of my feelings as they bloom
I promised to never love another...

though I find myself wondering how your hair smells
how your sighs sound
how your silhouette would fill the dark with light..

how foolish to fall in love through words
but the more the words fall
the more I find myself falling with them
helpless against the flow
my rudder trashed
my course set
by your compass
pulling me to my true North
as I fight to hold on to my ghosts.
  Jun 2014 Celtic Lass
Liam C Calhoun
A group of friends,
A gathering,
And away,
Where all know all
"You think you know me?"
In the all too honest background.

An answer to the above –
Our assumed empathy exists,
When truthfully
It truthfully eludes -
"You think I know you?"

Or rather the
"We" in the "here"
And "now" -
A lesser form,
And not our truest,
Hides the "real" and deep within.

Each has a pain,
Relatively at least
And perhaps our only concrete notion
Of who the "other" is.
A non-biological truth
Founded upon
A shared organic ancestry
The skeletons in the closet
Translate as -
Lacks of ambition,
Ambiguous futures (at best),
Swept away addictions
And tears in the night,

We shed our daily frown,
For a fake smile,
A facsimile
And play for the pains we do not share.
It’s a place
Where the hidden words,
The bad words,
The blasphemous words
Slip -
"Help me!"
And just as quickly
Retract -
"Never mind."

We hide it deep
And hide it well,
Because it's when it's
That we become what we try to
Avoid -
And in fear of losing
Each other.

Thus remains –
The ******* of perception.
As we hold to this
State of confused,
Or concussive,
And only later will we all cry,
As we've all gone home
And alone.
Published in “Down in the Dirt."
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