March Post – Selected Poems – Joris Soeding

Selected Poems
By Joris Soeding


Joris Soeding’s third chapbook, In Between the Places Where Night Falls, is forthcoming from Lummox Press. His poems have recently appeared in publications such as Belle Rêve Literary Journal, Cruel Garters, The Horror Zine Magazine, San Pedro River Review, and Thirteen Myna Birds. He is a 5th/6th grade Writing teacher in Chicago, where he resides with his wife, son, and daughter.



Voodoo Island

he sits poolside with a drink and a married woman
stories from his novels at the resort with jacketed waiters
he hasn’t turned in a word to the publisher in three months
new work is a four to five-hour flight from Miami Beach

they land on the shore with emergency fuel
it’s beautiful, almost unreal
inspiration has become safe until the river
grey flesh dangling from the face and chest
eyes covered but not blinded
gunshots don’t make them flinch

a doctor has been trying to uncover a cure for cancer
collecting snake venom in beakers with his assistant
laboratory a secret while the symptoms are dead-like
elsewhere the drumming begins, salt sprinkled onto sand

he falls for the one playing the piano
makes her a Rob Roy, then divulges of the sickly man
there was something so unnatural about him
there are others, poised in sacrificing her, being the daughter of the doctor
lying next to candles in a daze and the glint of a machete
palm trees with little promise yet the sand is still white




Romans 12:19

 …vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord…


“you go home and bury your boy,” he’s told
instead his old Ford pickup on the wooded dirt road
gray blanket flinching in each turn
the moon into what little is left

he sees her for the ones who ran him down
candles, tarantulas, an owl
his blood from fingers into a bowl
like Judas, coins and always a price

in ’57 he saw it on a hill, holding the neighbor
when grandmother’s hands, like paper, would wash his
supposedly it rests in the Pumpkin Patch Cemetery
by dark he has solicited the creature


The New Genus

she photographs the web at the barn’s peak
half missing San Francisco before stars and acres

a crow on the farm with blood from its beak
the entire town is yours, you’re the doctor, she says

he seems stricken with the memory of insects
slinking from a leg to face in his crib

one has made its way onto the lampshade
a baby from the black, bubbling nest

another beneath the football field bleachers
not content until collapse on the grass

where are all the other crickets? he asks the one that lands on highlighted paperwork
next to a book, ‘The World of Spiders’

they have quieted for three weeks
parts, like wings, are found in the second victim’s living room

tissue samples, toxicology, the whole nine yards
three bodies exhumed, each with bites

once home he notices it on the television
then from faucets, on doors, bathroom tiles, the rainbow drawing

he must overcome the past in his cellar with a shovel
otherwise a California swarm has been prompted



An Afternoon with Family

She’s having tea with her deceased siblings
“mommy says take care of us,” brother says
“she says you’ll stop the hurting. Cream?” sister asks
becoming more pale like her dress
she leans into the light from windows downstairs




she returns to Newt, Texas, population 2,306
2,307 if you count her cousin in the cellar
winding driveway, portraits by oil, polished banister
then the yellowed headlines of ones with fire to the family home
her friends without such secrets
she begins to question the burned half S on her heart
the new burden of being a Sawyer


Happy Triskaidekaphobia Day!


A picture taken in an elevator in a residential apartment block in Shanghai. Floors 0, 4, 13 and 14 are missing. Picture upload by Chrisobyrne at en.wikipedia

Fear of Friday the 13th is called Triskaidekaphobia. Many of us know that already. Many of us also know that the superstition has been attributed to a variety of events, the most famous of which is Christian in nature. It’s believed that Judas was the 13th person at the Last Supper and it is him who is said to have turned in Jesus of Nazareth in to the authorities. Now, the Bible makes no references to the number 13 in relation to this event. The Bible also makes no mention to the number 13 as being inherently evil, or unlucky.

There is information that references a fear of the number 13 before the Last Supper. The Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, one of the earliest deciphered forms of writing, which consists of 282 laws, is said to have no 13th law recorded. There is also information that attributes Loki, a deceitful god of Norse mythology, as being the 13th in that pantheon.

My interest with the fear of the number 13 has recently been structural in nature. You’ve probably been inside an elevator that does not provide you with an option for the 13th floor. I’ve been in buildings that do not have a 13th floor, and instead skip from 12 to 14. I have also seen buildings with an alternative designation to the 13th floor, such as 12A. It’s been said that some buildings close their 13th floor entirely  to the public using the space  instead for mechanical needs. Otis Elevator Company is the world’s largest manufacturers of vertical transportation, elevators and escalators. An article in USA Today stated that according to Otis Elevator Company 85% of elevator panels omit the number 13 entirely (

When some people think of superstition and fear of the number 13, particularly Friday the 13th as being silly, just think of how many building designers have complied with their tenants wishes to eliminate the designation of the 13th floor entirely. I suppose many of us do believe the number 13 should be feared.


The Lucky Horseshoe


“Horseshoe and devil” by Creator:George Cruikshank – The True Legend of St. Dunstan and the Devil by Edward G. Flight, 1871; image at Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons


The other day I purchased a lucky horseshoe charm. Why? I don’t particularly know why other than I was compelled by the design. I have also heard of “Lucky Horseshoes,” but I suppose I didn’t know exactly why horseshoes are considered lucky. I suppose I purchased the charm because I somehow believed it would bring me good luck. This then compelled me to do some further research on Lucky Horseshoes.

A standard horseshoe is a constructed device fashioned out of metal that is intended to protect a horse’s hoof from wear. The most commonly used materials are steel and aluminum. The shoes are attached to the surface of the hooves, and are nailed through a part of the horse’s foot that is insensitive. Horseshoes can also be glued to the horse’s foot. A farrier is a person whose occupation is the fitting of these devices. The farrier‘s job is to assess the horse’s hoof, design appropriate shoes, and apply the product.

Now, it’s believed that the origin of the tradition of the lucky horseshoe originated with the story of Saint Dunstan and the Devil. Dunstan, who would later to become the Archbishop of Canterbury in AD 959, was a blacksmith. One day, the Devil asked him to reshoe his horse, and Dunstan nailed a horseshoe – through the Devil’s hoof, which caused the Devil much pain. Dunstan agreed to remove the horseshoe and release the Devil if the Devil promised to never enter a place where a horseshoe was hung over a door.

As there is a specific production and application involved in creating a horseshoe for wear, there is a specific placement of a horseshoe for use as a talisman in the home. First, some believe that a true lucky horseshoe should be found, not purchased. Then, the horseshoe should be hung above one’s entry door. It’s then believed that a horseshoe should be hung pointing upwards. The ‘U’ shape is thought to hold good luck that passes by. Hanging it upside down is believed to be bad luck, as it is thought all of the good luck will fall out. However, there are some who believe that the horseshoe should indeed be hung pointing downward, as it allows good luck to flow into the home.  To some, it does not matter how the horseshoe is hung (pointing upward or down), as long as it’s hung above the door because it’s presence alone is believed to draw good luck.

Do you have a horseshoe hung over your door? Is it pointed upward? Or, is it pointed downward. Let us know at @burialdaybooks on Twitter.


For Poe

Michael Tugendhat won the 2014 Dark Poetry Scholarship offered by the Horror Writers Association. His first book of horror poems is forthcoming (February 2015) from James Ward Kirk. He has had work appear or accepted for publication inMidnight Echo Magazine, Beyond Borderlands, Morpheus Tales #24 and elsewhere.


For Poe

By Michael Tugendhat


Ashore to find the autonomy of the word

should. As in, should I remove


the sciatica from the morsel of my condensation

my way of raining into the heart of a field.


Braying against the side of a pontoon boat, the twinning—

headstones of shore, your. Black sky where the pumpkins


of the cemetery have been spayed from their stems.

October rises, alive and under heaven.


Talk of sheep, swoons of a nearby sea.

C is the letter it all began with


Canopus of Carina, may shine your

heart out in the wine of the sky.


To mine come Poe, startle the sheen

and grease that comes with the fragment


`       of this Roman stone.




Monthly Submissions are Open & Showmen’s Rest



It was a wild year end. We are excited to enter another year here at Burial Day and look forward to reading all of your tales. For those of you who have yet to receive a submission status for our monthly posting we will send you a status this week. Thank you for your patience, and yes, we are open for monthly submissions!

Last week, as we were recuperating from the madness of the holiday season we decided to take a drive to another cemetery, Woodlawn Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois to specifically visit Showmen’s Rest. Large elephant statues flank the hundreds of markers commemorating their circus family. The elephants each have a foot resting on a ball, and their trunks are lowered in mourning.

What makes this Showmen’s Rest so sad is that it’s where dozens of performers are buried from one of the most tragic circus accidents in history. On June 22nd, 1918 over 56 employees of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus were killed when an engineer fell asleep and ran his train into the rear of the troop train. Many died from the impact of the crash. Many others died due to the fire that broke out after. There are legends of elephants racing to douse the firey trains with water, succumbing themselves to the fire. A few years prior, The Showmen’s League of America formed in 1913 with its first president Buffalo Bill Cody had purchased 750 burial spaces in Woodlawn Cemetery for its members. Many of the victims of the train accident were laid to rest there in a mass grave.

Many of the victims were unrecognizable and are commemorated on their graves simply as Unknown Male 15, Unknown Female 43, all the way up to Unknown Male 61. Some accounts say 56 people died in the accident, but an accurate casualty count is unavailable because of the fire.  There are a few stand out names, such as Baldy. One wonders if he were a clown or a driver. It’s said many of those who died were roustabouts, people who travelled with the circus putting up tents and performing various other jobs before disappearing at the end of the season. Most were known only by their nickname.

The Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus formed in 1907 in Peru, Indiana (now the site of the International Circus Hall of Fame) was the second largest circus besides Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey.  The Hagenbeck-Wallace circus continued through to 1929 when it was sold to Ringling Bros.

There is plenty of folklore that surrounds Showmen’s Rest, primarily to do with the elephants. Some claim to hear the roar of elephants at night, but it’s said no elephants were buried at Showmen’s Rest. There is no official marker that indicates the Hagenbeck-Wallace disaster either at Woodlawn Cemetery or at the crash site in Indiana.

Other performers are buried at Showmen’s Rest. It’s a place of rest for other circus folk who have lived with the spirit that the show must go on.

Here are some pictures that we took at Showmen’s Rest. We hope you enjoy.


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