Richard Stevenson

The January Editor's Pick Poet is Richard Stevenson

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Certain men in Norway and Iceland
are said to be Eigi Einhamer
(not of one flesh).

i.e They can shape shift
or “ride” the totem animal
of their choice. Oh yeah!

Literally occupy the mind or will
of an animal, and assume
its strength, its point of view.

We’re way beyond lycanthropy
and werewolves here! Wolves, sure,
bats and rats, and sure as yer born,

owls, ravens, eagles—even yer pet beagle.
Assume that animal’s habits and quest.
They shed the white shirt and tie, Holmes.

Don’t necessarily get all furry—
One might just jump into another man’s
or woman’s soul and take control.

The only thing one can’t hide
in occupying some poor guy’s pia mater
is the person’s eyes, looking out.

See that person in the driver’s seat
and you’re half way to getting
the guy to assume ownership of his hide.

Is this tale to be taken literally? 
Do these people literally change
into some other critter—all furry or not?

Or are they hallucinating from
Some fungal unguent—wolfbane
and mushroom body rub and rug fantasy?

Tonsured elders of some no-fun-
in-boring-black-and-white-robes order or other

who just wanna have a night of fun. That’s all.
When they get to hypnotising the rest of us
so we see fur where there ain’t none,

then call the Ghostbusters
or start packing a pistil
with silver bullets, dude.

For now, let ‘em think they’re
in control.  Riding whatever head houngan
says they’re riding in herky-jerky moves.

They probably need to hop around
to get warm. Not like their Haitian
Voodoun bretheren greased down in Funkytown.

Think of the animal hides and feathers
as an extended toupeé. Hey, they’re bald.
Like to dress up and be what they’re not.

You don’t need to have a problem with that.
Wear a hat or alligator shirt if you
aren’t partial to paisley of fur.  Be cool.

Hey, if they’re for real real monsters,
give ‘em a wide berth. Don’t be up in their
muzzles like porcupine quills, Holmes.

It ain’t healthy to be battin’ anyone
across the snout with a copy of any book.
Get your jollies some other way.


Phantom kangaroo, phantom kangaroo—
Got roofied by some gray guys.
Now what am I gonna do?

Got beamed up off the outback;
got beamed down in a swamp.
Now what am I gonna do?

Now you see me; now you don’t.
Dukes up, ready to box,
but who wants to fight a phantom?

I could box my way from here to Timbuctoo,
get a ride on a tramp steamer
heading for the south seas.

I’m on my knees—
when I can find ‘em,
but these grays’ll make a ghost of me.

Ghost of me, ghost of me…
These grays’ll make
a ghost of me…

Richard Stevenson recently retired from a thirty-year gig teaching English and Creative Writing for Lethbridge College. He has published 31 books, the most recent of which are a long poem sequence, Rock, Scissors, Paper: The Clifford Olson Murders (Dreaming Big Publications, USA, 2016)  and a collection of haikai poems and sequences, A Gaggle of Geese (Alba Publishing, UK, 2017).  Other poems have appeared in or been accepted for future issues of Aphelion, New Myths, Polar Borealis, Star*Line and other magazines and anthologies, and were featured in a previous issue of The Horror Zine.