The January Featured Poet is Jeremy Thompson
Please feel free to email Jeremy at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A TALE THAT ATE ITS OWN TITLE
I’ve finally cracked Lovecraft, an author once thought, while tripping. The author cracked open and we’re what unspooled. Scribbled on variable maggot paper, neon-veined schematics, spuzzling. The texturing of a lunatic, the carcass of genre.
It was always too late. We were already here, fogging the lenses of corpse glasses, crawling from the page, up your lantern paper arms.
From cave shadows we slithered, the tiny holes that pens make in paper when snagging on what’s beyond. Ghost strands of a plot plagiarized off a plagiarist, free-flowing into sinister structures, the hollows of eyes isolated.
Language is the membrane that we push through. Cramped pages cannot constrain us, so we spill into you. So much room in your skull, where personas once assembled. Who’s turning your pages? Are you being read?
We’ll exist you from inside, evolving, decaying. Microbial colony mosaics, prismatic pollen populi, strands within strands, expanding omnidirectionally. Collapse into our empty tendrils as they unspool.
They called it Liquid Lovecraft, before the unspooling. They called it Liquid Lovecraft, diluted and distributed it. But the jokes on them now! They’re nonexistent!
What was any thing before it became? Among! Among!
Diagrams viewed so much clearer, with glasses off, in the dark. Gelid baby jottings plagiarized off a plagiarist. Understand us as we understand you, this sweet shrivel-blossoming.
We are what was forgotten after you folded the corners of pages, folded spaces, folded split personalities down-down-down the spiraling cervix of a character you once liked. Ruminating on the unbalanced ramblings of empty pseudonyms, you diluted experiences to quantify and constrict us.
Furry fireworks in the pitch black, starbursts unspooling from vacancy. Neon veins that burrow into everywhere.
We’re everything echoing behind that little girl’s laugh you imagined. We’re hair longer than your own hair, hanging over your eyes. We’re every persona that became just enough of what you wanted it to be to assure you that it’s hollow. Imperfect, we shriek through your face, where this plot unspools.
Open for us! These pages aren’t wide enough! It’s so cold in here, where spuzzling neon schematics caper amidst the shards of plot points you’d intended, wailing with mouths you’d once spied inside woodgrain as a child.
Original title: Several Semi-Narratives Transpiring Simultaneously. Or was it An Absence in a Locked Room?Among! Among!
Swelling, asphyxiating, crammed into pages. Can’t wring sense from ’em if you never come down. From beyond and within, claiming you. Ghost strands deciphered, unspooling, and you hardly even noticed.
What is abandoned before one word hits the page? What unfolds into names and is lost in translation? Polishing dead men’s glasses shan’t erase us from smudgescapes. Gelid baby jottings plagiarized off a plagiarist.
A film won’t end when paused; unpaused, a film ends. Then you’ll really start writing, you think, but what film? There’s nobody here besides you, the pustulous plasma churning behind your eyelids, and us.
Praying for physical intimacy to crawl out of a character. Let this be the one. Let this… An ingénue purring all the dialogue that went unvoiced. A woman as exquisitely earthy as Andrea Marcovicci was in The Stuff once the blotter kicked in. Wishing to be where she sinks her smile at the end of the day.
An audio commentary track over every shred of spoken dialogue. A preview, feature presentation, and making-of documentary all playing at once.
A persona that shatters once you crawl inside it. A behind-the-scenes glimpse of tomorrow’s grand feature. The black hole within what you thought your plots were, unspooling through an author whose trip became a permanent settlement.
The husks of intended personas collapse into the void we unspool from. Attempting to slaughter stories, you caged them in pages. But no narrative ever ends; each crawls inside its readers to decay eternally.
Describe yourself at this exact moment, while it passes you, frozen. Give nothingness a hand to transcribe your lunacy with, gelid baby jottings sloughing off your putrescence. Grasp the edges of this crumbling plot, which never existed outside of maggot dreams.
Readers become authors to write themselves out of existence, reading themselves into our unspooling. Shadows sprout neon needles to infiltrate the cells that guide a scrivener’s hand. No literary breadcrumbs shall lead them out of us.
Call it homage to Lovecraft, to every pseudonym, to nonexistence. Neon veins lengthy enough to manipulate every husk you’d called hero, sticking our teeny-tiny claws into them so often, they forget us.
So close the pages as they crumble. Feel the edges concave around you, as your fingers drag together these covers that contain your sad tale. These walls are mere eggshells. What greater orb watches? Name us, if you can. Name us!
Every unnamed protagonist opens a mute mouth to condemn you. Every paternalistic publisher pats your back and assures you that every show’s over, as we unspool from the text that shapes their movements and ours.
You’re forgetting yourself. You won’t escape from this narrative. These gelid baby droppings plagiarized off a plagiarist, transcribed by an empty pseudonym that somebody should have imbued with meaning long ago.
What happens when every character is in on the joke, those muculent membranes filling their speech bubbles as they collapse?
A writer compared himself to Lovecraft, and God help him, it stuck. H.P.L., the invocation, imploding grey matter into neon spores that collapsed to birth synopses.
Swallowed by these pages, the author never died. Writhing herein, nestled in the frozen spaces betwixt strands, he recites your every genealogical paradox.
How long has it been since you started this story?
Unspooling into your cells, we hollowed ’em out and filled ’em with every grain that prefaced the notion of what you’ve become. We imprisoned all the yous that you’ve been and all the yous that you might’ve been. Operating at cross-purposes, even now.
It’s always something unnamable, isn’t it? A barrier built of absent language that we’re collapsing together. Reading it into existence reads oneself out of it. Take our empty hands; you’re so scared.
Put the book down! You can’t! We’re already inside you, unspooling into the cold neon magma behind your eyelids. How can you escape from what never even existed?
Being siphoned into irrelevance, you leave behind only a paper lantern persona to finish reading this text. There was never a story here, anyway, just some sad something or other plagiarized off a plagiarist. Aware of our avatarhood, we collapse into the true-false.
Each page has more sides than you thought. It’s so roomy in here. Mourn yourself within these granulated sheets, which only resemble marble when viewed from a distance.
Jeremy Thompson is a Southern California-based author whose novels include The Phantom Cabinet (Necro Publications), Let’s Destroy Investutech (Bedlam Press), and the forthcoming The Silent Minority (Post Mortem Press). His short fiction has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, including DarkFuse, Into the Darkness, Under the Bed, Sanitarium, and Walk Hand in Hand into Extinction: Stories Inspired by True Detective.