Oct 22 2015

In The Dark #Poem #WEPFF

#WEPFF - HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE - Youthful Frights vs Adult Fears

I recall this one black horse that would not be broken. You know all those movies and TV shows today that show some black Hell-beast of a horse? Red eyes, smoke from the nostrils, breaks down the fence? This was that horse, but it was real. I remember watching someone trying to break it. He fell. He barely lived. The horse was eventually shipped off. I don’t know to where. “Away.” Maybe the horse is still out there somewhere.

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There are no monsters in the dark.
Nothing lurks by my bed.
The closet holds only clothes.
It’s a tree branch on the window.
Just a branch.
It’s scratching the glass.

Nothing is in my room.
My closet door did not move.
There is no one by my bed.
My covers move only in my head.
It isn’t real.
That doesn’t hurt.
I’m not bleeding.

Go away!
It isn’t real.
My nose is lying about the scent.
This is all in my head.
I’m the one making the scratches on my skin.
I must be.
Because no one else is here.
He isn’t in here.

Stop, stop, stop!
Please stop.
Someone help!
It isn’t real.
This isn’t real.

No monsters can exist.

I’m not crying.
Quiet, quiet, quiet.

It can’t hurt.
There are no monsters.
Nothing is here.
This is in my head.

Count to ten like Mama said.

– J Lenni Dorner
October 22, 2015

Word Count 166 FCA

Thanks for reading!


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  1. I love this poem, and I love the use of the numbers, especially when you know what they’re for at the end.
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    1. Thanks so much.

  2. Well done and with great economy of words, kudos. Clever use of the numbers to build the tension. Reminded me somehow of Sylvia Plath’s poem – mad girl’s love song…
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    1. That is a very kind comparison. Thanks so much for the high compliment.

  3. I love horses and can’t imagine them as evil, the person controlling them, sure, but never the animal. My mind just won’t go there. LOL But I can imagine a horse that wouldn’t or couldn’t be broken – I say yay for that horse!

    I love your poem, very intense. I can imagine being in the same situation, and I know I have been. The nightmare where you’re coming out of a dream thinking you’re awake and yet you’re only dreaming that you are, but it keeps repeating keeps building and when you do finally awaken you Can’t discern what was real and what wasn’t. That’s what this poem reminds me of, nicely done! The countdown perfection!

    Thanks for participating in the WEP Halloween Challenge; your poem was a surprising treat!
    Happy Halloween!
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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by.
      I really do like horses. I just recall being freaked out by that one when I was younger. I didn’t yet know about the power of the spirit of such an animal, and I didn’t fully understand what I was witnessing. To me it was just a guy who I’d seen ride horses before, and win prizes for doing so (though I didn’t understand why), and there he was in the dirt getting trampled. I don’t know that I’d look at it with the same “eyes” today.

  4. The counting got me. Scary story.
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    1. Thanks.

    • desk49 on October 22, 2015 at 7:01 PM

    yet what did
    Mama knew
    as I sink into
    the monster stew
    as Mama stairs
    it round and round
    she tells them where
    more kids can be found

    1. LOL. Nice add on. Interesting twist.

        • desk49 on October 23, 2015 at 10:09 PM

        We all had our Mamas
        that’s what mine would do
        adding a pinch of salt
        to the monsters stew

        1. 🙂

  5. Hi J Lenni! I’ve popped in a few times relishing your poem. It is so evocative. I wasn’t surprised at the ending, but you presented it in such an imaginative way with the numbers telling the story.
    Having grown up with horses, I get this! My father was a ‘horse whisperer’ type, while one of my brothers broke horses. And we did see some wild ones. Magnificent beasts! But can be the beasts of nightmares!

    Thank you for such a powerful poem. What a great addition to the WEP stable of creepiness for October.

    Denise 🙂
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    1. Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    • Misha on October 23, 2015 at 6:38 AM

    Whoa. Very awesomely creepy poem! I love how the tension just keeps climbing with the numbers every time.
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    1. Thanks so much. I’m glad you liked it.

  6. My partner insists that ALL horses are malevolent and evil. He says if you go to a single car accident in the country side there will always be a horse ‘innocently grazing’ in the next field. And laughing.

    Loved your poem. The desperation mounted…. Sometimes ten is not enough.
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    1. Ah yes, those innocent horses. LOL.
      Thanks so much.

  7. This one says to listen to your instincts and ignore all that stuff about there not being bad things out there. Great Halloween scare.
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    1. I’m glad you liked it.

  8. Nice suspense, the panic seems to increase as do the numbers that are being counted. An interesting take on fear of what we cannot see. Enjoyed your entry!,

    1. Thank you.

  9. Excellent. Loved it. The countdown is effective. Go me hooked. Thank you for sharing.
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    • Arpan on October 26, 2015 at 5:35 AM

    Very creepy poem, and love the explanation for the numbers at the end. I got a chill when I read the line:

    I’m the one making the scratches on my skin. I must be.

    It’s exactly the kind of rationalization our minds use when we don’t want to admit that something’s wrong, but it also hints at the disturbing idea that maybe this person really is insane…I think I just got a chill again.
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    1. I’m having a “what the English teacher thinks the writer meant versus what the writer really meant” moment here. LOL.
      As long as it gave you chills though, I’m happy.

    • Sally on October 26, 2015 at 5:54 AM

    Horses are such powerful creatures perhaps this one was just too wild to be tamed. Your poem gave such a sense of fear, the counting added to the suspense, it’s always those dark, lonely hours of the night that imagination lets loose. Great writing.
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    1. Thank you.

  10. Congrats on winning. Oh my goodness that poem was so gripping and creepy. Very powerful imagery as well.
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    1. Thank you for enjoying it.

  11. Creepy!
    The counting increased the tension. *shivers*
    Congratulations on winning WEPFF – Halloween Edition! 🙂
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    1. Thanks.

  12. Oh, that ending was brilliant! Gave me chills!!
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    1. I’m glad you liked it.

  13. Congratulations. Well done. I look forward to your next submission.
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    1. Thank you.

  14. Many congratulations on the award! You absolutely aced the prompt. I loved your entry.
    Nilanjana Bose has this post to share ParsingMy Profile

    1. Thanks so much.

    • Deborah on October 30, 2015 at 2:29 PM

    I like your poem very much. Great one for Halloween!

    1. Thank you.

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