James Arthur Anderson is a retired English professor who now teaches part-time at East Georgia State College. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island, and a B.A. and M.A. from Rhode Island College.

His speculative poetry has appeared in or been accepted by Star*LineScifaikuestIllumen, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, and Spectral Realms. He has also published poetry in a number of literary journals, including Gulf Stream Magazine, The Bryant Literary Review, and Aries. His sonnet won first place in the rhymed Poetry category in the 76th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition.

He has also published several critical studies, including The Linguistics of Stephen King (McFarland); Excavating Stephen King: a Darwinist Hermeneutic Study of the Fiction (Lexington); and Out of the Shadows: a Structuralist Approach to Understanding the Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft (Wildside).

James lives in Garfield, Georgia with his wife Lynn, two horses, a dog and an increasing number of barn cats.



Tossed from the back of an old pick-up truck,
it bounced into the weeds behind my yard.
I should have left the thing alone,
but the bottle was made of antique glass
with a tinge of blue and shaped like an elegant perfume jar.
Curiosity killed the cat, as the saying goes,
and something prompted me to bring the opening to my nose.
I took just one small, insignificant sniff
to see what had been so casually thrown away.
That was enough to unleash the invisible thing
that has taken over my flesh and bones
and uses me like a pawn of prey
to feast on the pain
of my tortured nerves
and drink from the blood
of my scarlet tears.


I see him slinking in the shadows,
sliding deftly behind the cypress tree,
Sunlight travels through him
but I know he’s there when the blue sky
grays behind him.
He follows me around the house,
in the yard, and on my daily walk
to the corner store.
The automatic doors open for him,
though he is invisible to all but me.
He warns me (in not so many words)
that my days on earth are counting down
and that my end will not be painless
nor my afterlife pleasant.
Yet there is nothing I can do
to avoid this fatal curse
that has been cast on me
by the man whose life I took.


I have burned so many bridges
that I am an island now,
a self-cursed hermit
living on the barren shores
of my own undiscovered country
where I stand inside my fortress
with nothing left to do
but contemplate the phases of the moon.
All living things do shun me.
The sharp-beaked ravens
who once roosted on my castle walls
have flown away for good,
and even the bald-faced buzzard
fears what I have become.
Not a single cell of life comes near:
nothing creeps, nor crawls, nor treads
upon this disfigured place.
Behold!  I am master of ten thousand spells—
charms to conjure love or launch a curse,
secret words to unleash the power of the earth
in brimstone flames of blight.
My dungeon vaults are filled
with purest gold and gems, most rare,
with vintage wine, exotic meats,
and aromatic spice from distant lands.
I can possess any treasure,
control any object of my heart’s desire.
But the price of ownership is dear.
I’ve cursed my very soul
and now I would trade it all
for one true kiss.