A spinner of tales whether in poetry or prose, Lori R. Lopez also likes to draw strange pictures to illustrate her books. Some of her poems have been nominated for Rhysling Awards. Books include The Dark Mister Snark, Darkverse: The Shadow Hours (nominated for a 2018 Elgin Award), Leery Lane, Odds & Ends: A Dark Collection, The Witchhunt, and An Ill Wind Blows.

Lori’s work has appeared in various Publications including The Horror Zine, Weirdbook, The Sirens Call, Spectral Realms, Space & Time, Altered Realities, Illumen, Oddball Magazine, Bewildering Stories, plus a number of anthologies including H.W.A. Poetry Showcases, Dead Harvest, Fearful Fathoms, and California Screamin’ (the Foreword Poem). 

A resident of Southern California, Lori co-owns Fairy Fly Entertainment with two talented sons.  They’re vegans, activists, filmmakers, and members of a folk band called The Fairyflies. She loves to create characters as odd as she is and has many more ideas under her hat!


Why’d you break the Golden Rule? Lizzie tell us, Lizzie tell us!
Did you learn such things at school? Lizzie Borden, Lizzie Borden.
Would your father ridicule? Lizzie tell us, Lizzie tell us!
How’d you hide the Murder Tool? Lizzie Borden, Lizzie Borden.
What made you be so cruel? Lizzie tell us, were you jealous?

I hear the name Fall River and cannot control a shiver.
Once upon another time, a site of mayhem’s morbid rhyme
centered round the Borden Clan, targets of a wicked plan;
the cruelest acts, without a cape, behind a dusty velvet drape,
pulled back for all to see an unsolved murder mystery.

Perhaps the killer got away, but never left and to this day
watches avid justice-seekers, these tides of gruesome peekers—
the spirit-hunting hordes who flood to witness death and blood.
She haunts the local generations whose undying condemnations
keep a restless soul awake, to roam until daybreak.

Unproven garish speculations. Grand ungodly accusations!
Evermore the spinster-eyed. A Sunday teacher would be tried,
yet a question hounds the brain, past theory and bloodstain:
Was Lizzie fiend or but a victim? Where points the final dictum
for a tale with so much evidence, left dangling in suspense?

How many laws must females break to not seem a mistake
when men are the judge? Though she didn’t hold a grudge
or feel underestimated—not the least discriminated.
At her trial she acted faint and did her best to play a saint.
It was quite the sensation, raptly followed by a nation.

Down came a show’s curtain, its conclusion uncertain.
Smoke-and-mirror, the sleights of hand may never clear
this haze and suspicion, a glaring dearth of contrition,
exuding guile, stalking lanes, dragging sins and chains.
Father, Uncle, Stepmother; two Sisters, half a Brother…

A family trapped in drama: rich in faults, ripe for trauma
as they drifted far astray, leading daughters to betray,
whose fondness grew estranged. Convenient naps arranged.
Important clues erased, concealed; brazenly misplaced—
the evidence substantial, but a tad circumstantial.

An alibi in the barn was so preposterous a yarn.
Seeking that bottle of acid for a method more placid
after a tainted last meal couldn’t finish the steal.
Threads of errands and chores, stairs and difficult doors;
angry motives and lies; the brash second tries…

A young live-in maid, housekeeper by trade,
was kept occupied, then bribed to take Lizzie’s side.
Almost thirty blows struck with a gambler’s sheer luck.
No witnesses about, and the weapon cast in doubt.
Fingers aimed at Liz for the messy rags and dress biz.

In closets would be stored the loose-ends she abhorred:
a red-painted frock that had served as a smock,
stashed away like a trove, then burned in the stove!
Poison seemed pretty telling, other details compelling.
A big domestic spat just before the gore would splat.

Deeds of passionate rage, performed offstage.
Was this flight of siblings from a house of quibblings
boldly orchestrated to exterminate those hated?
Both resentful of their dad, greedy daughters went mad,
a trip set in motion on the wheels of a dark notion.

Could the homicidal pact preserve its web intact?
Lizzie Borden gained alone full attention on her own
by visiting a drugstore; securing the front door,
dropping hints to a chum of dire things to come,
and convincing the maid who was generously paid!

Still they failed to convict, for she had the men tricked,
eating out of her hand. Leaving little unplanned…
a cold-blooded schemer. A dissatisfied dreamer.
Shoplifter and thief. Exhibiting no grief.
Her name long reviled; her face to infamy exiled.

Another court sealed her fate as guilty to this date.
Public opinion heaping blame, a subject of shame
as a Hatchet-Murderess, unwilling to confess,
or shed a single tear, which inspired the world to jeer
and chant a nursery rhyme about a terrible crime.

Whether tandem or her, Lizzie loved to cause a stir!
Duplicitous or pious, her actions brought much bias
to a cool-minded lass who would win a free pass
and be let out of jail, after leaving such a trail.
Nowadays many care whether Lizzie split a hair.

The Murder House on Second Street offers as a treat
a museum and attraction to provide a fright reaction;
where the curious can flock, sleepover and gawk,
tour the rooms for a price, hear the story once or twice,
and decide from the proof: Was her liberty a goof?

The happy ending Lizzie sought couldn’t be bought.
A close bond would unravel, force a sister to travel.
Apart did siblings brood, their lives a silent feud.
Elephants in the room, carrying secrets to the tomb;
remembered by name on the wrong side of fame.


Its wood grew wild in a phantom forest
where no Loggers lived to boast of swinging
an axe. Hewn by mystery, honed by
magick, pushed hundreds and hundreds of miles
by eldridge roots, sapient tendrils. Crafted
with sentience and purpose in Nineteen Seventy-Three,
the Chair arcanely shaped itself.

A novelist tripped over the novelty, drawn in
a daze to a Curiosity Shoppe, the sort with trinkets
you didn’t need. Souvenirs of next to nothing.
Convenient sundries on shelves of hidden treasures—
utterly fascinating objects that seen would haunt
or burrow beneath skin and whisper until
a body must race back in an anxious lather
that it hadn’t been sold . . .

Or be driven inanely insane with obsession
over the priceless gem that got away!
A mind could sacrifice itself to longings,
some transitory, others permanently embedded.
This worst-selling-author needed a new seat
because her present model made her feel
unbalanced—being a trifle lopsided—
and squealed or squawked in a grating tongue
that drilled iron railroad spikes of dolor
into her skull.

The chair was a necessary expenditure,
and she steeled herself against those tiny voices
piping to pick them up; shuttered orbs at the sight of
the oddments that would look phenomenal
perched on a shelf, a table, the edge of her desk.
She needed the chair. Driving it home,
Riley James couldn’t wait to sit down and write…
compose rather than compost.

With nary a peep from a raucous Peanut Gallery:
silent and supportive, the way sturdy old-fashioned
furniture should be! Still rattled, tearing open
a fresh ream of blank pages, inserting one into the
mouth of an Electric Smith Corona she
cranked it in position, erect, unmarked, pristine.
Anticipating the idyllic, the dream of typing in
relative quiet—more imagined than real—
her fingers danced, nimble and darting.

Sentences churned out amidst a dull chatter
of keys, and soon carpeted a cutting-room floor
like color-coded autumnal discards. Rife with error,
a perfectionist’s dread. Crumpled in frustration,
a sheen of vexation. Too many corrections for
a bottle of white fluid to coat. A page brushed the
arm of the chair on its downward flight,
its dead-as-a-duck float, and when she typed
“The End” to a drastic tale, exorcised,
wrung of her pith…

Wrenched like a newborn from the womb,
its conclusion would be ripped off the roller
then cast adrift, to flutter abandoned,
a leaf in the wind. Arms reached to enfold,
wrapping tight, a crushing embrace, a death-clasp.
The scribe’s derriere melted fast, wood and skin
conjoined as if never apart.

Rigid legs knocked and scraped, inching across
with aggravated bumps to the cemetery of imperfect
shards lying in waste and ruin. A jumble of
papery rubble. Memories of sylvan sanctitude.
Homeward bound, the Chair strove for
a reunion of elements, essential wisps and remnants.
Reclaiming lost fragments of timber and bark.
Its marrow and blood, fiber and core.

Mending, healing, becoming wholer . . .
the Chair unassembled and slithered outdoors in
a viny entwined mass of mutation, flesh and lumber
blended to form a collaborative substance.
Drawn like magnetism, like mesmerism, attracting
the mincemeat missing-piecemeal of scattered
ingredients to reconstruct its story
on more than mere pages—more than
a stack of blanched compressed sheets…

A collection of bits sewn, knitted together, wielded
and welded, glued with the gist of two hearts,
twin souls, a central atrium. A merger, an emergence
forged in harmonic alliance. A girl and a sapling
reacquainted, once friends in a faraway time; a land
of youth and fanciful creatures, days and dreams
of adventure. The kind who could never
grow separate, never stay distant or detached.
Their bond forever intact, restored, atoned.
Brought into better alignment. At last,
both were complete.