The Horror Zine
Carpentry Fire
Joe R. Lansdale

Joe R. Lansdale is our January Special Guest Poet

You can visit Joe at:

Joe R. Lansdale

(A Tale of The Grand Guignol)

Will took the hammer and nails
and went to work,
and was careful about it,
using the lumber
in what he thought were artful ways,
but he found nailing the boards
to a person's head
didn't work as well as he thought,
though the skull was hard
and took a nail,
the board would not lie firm
because even tied down,
the fellow squirmed,
and there was the screaming,
which got on his nerves,
and nothing quite fit,
or looked the way he expected.

Will's artistic vision was compromised,
so unhappy with his work,
he set lumber and man on fire,
and while
his failed art piece burned,
and screamed
inside its barbwire bonds,
he tried to figure
if there was some other way
to blend art,
and humanity,
and basic carpentry,
and the barbed wire
of the Western range.


I saw death in town the other day,
dressed up just like me.
I studied him real close.
A shadow of my former self
looked right back at me.

I do not think he’s come just yet,
but he wanted me to know,
there will come a time,
not so far away,
when I will have to go.

He fretted over my thinning hair,
and ran my fingers through its strands
dragging them along,
like metal tines
through slender strips of sand.

When I walked away,
so did he,
leaving the store glass dark,
without image of either him,
or me
to look each other back
and see
the dead man that was to be.


I had a friend who caught on fire.
I guess it was my fault.
I lit him up and watched him run.
I thought that it was funny.
He ran toward the river,
but only made the bank.
He fell and burned,
and burned and burned,
and I have to say he stank.
I emptied out his smoky pockets.
I took all his lint and money.
I laughed while I did it,
because still I thought it funny.
I spent the dough on little things,
like candy bars and finger rings.
Now time has past,
a week or so,
and I wish I hadn’t done it.
The candy made me sick,
and the rings have lost their shine.
Worst of all,
I got no one to play checkers with.


Kris Kringle packed up the wife,
the elves,
all the toys,
and moved.
Things were getting creepy at the North Pole,
what with the greenhouse effect,
that hole in the ozone.
The ice was melting.
Half his property was underwater.
And the polar bears.
They were starting to be a problem.
Three elves had gone missing.
A search party went out,
found only a bell-tipped shoe,
a pile of bear crap with a chunk of elf hat in it.
That wasn’t good.
Kris wrapped up the whole kit and caboodle,
and by sleigh (several trips),
moved the entire operation from the North Pole
to a dimensional warp in the African jungle.
But inside the warp,
it was hot.
Kris bought a fan.
The elves switched to straw hats
and Bermuda shorts.  
Ma Kringle got a bikini.
Rudolph made whoopee with a gazelle.

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of over thirty novels, twenty short story collections, screenplays, comic scripts, essays and non-fiction. He is the winner of the British Fantasy Award, the American Horror Award, the Edgar Award, and six Bram Stoker Awards.

Joe R. Lansdale's novella, Bubba Ho-Tep, was the inspiration for Don Coscarelli's cult classic film, starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis.

The Horror Zine's editor, Jeani Rector, has been a fan of Joe R. Lansdale's book titled The Bottoms or many years. It is one of Jeani's favorite books of all time.

And now there is a new Lansdale book to rave about: The Best of Joe R. Lansdale! Lansdale’s favored themes run from zombies to vampire hunters to drive-in theaters, and his storytelling encompasses everything from gross-out horror to satire.

Look for Devil Red in early 2011, the newest in his Hap and Leonard series.

See all of Joe R. Lansdale's books HERE.

Bubba Ho-Tep Movie

The Best of Joe R Lansdale

The Bottoms

Devil Red