that bless immortal life
By Harris Coverley
By Ken Poyner
The man had looked uncalmly dead in his coffin. Now, to see him up and about is not unexpected. Only so many rise to be the undead. Quibble can usually pick them out long before they pass. He cannot recruit them before they die, but he can map their habits, predict where, undead, they might first appear. Then he can make his pitch: freelancing as the undead can be dangerous – but hire an agent, and that agent can huckster the easiest bleeders into the safest of venues. Manipulating the living, an agent like Quibble is worth his weight in blood.
The Land Where No One Ever Dies
By Goran Lowie
a young man did not want to give himself up to death
and went in search of the land where no one ever dies
slipped away from mother and father, severing ancient roots
His light footsteps fell softly upon starving flowers
found an old man pushing a wheelbarrow full of rocks
a whisper: where do I find that place where no one dies?
each red ruby within the old man’s chromatic eyes crystalized
in the charming beam of white-fire moonlight: stick with me
until I’ve carved away that entire mountain rock by rock
you shall not die. a hundred years until it’s leveled.
the knavish boy was not content; a hundred years insufficient
he tread upon the ancient woodland, undisturbed old-growth
found an axman pruning branches with a pruning hook
a sigh: where do I find that place where no one dies?
the tree-killer, drunk on woodchips and tree-worms: stick with me
until I’ve trimmed all the trees with my pruning hook, you shall
not die. two hundred years until it’s done.
silently sorrowful he moved beyond; seeking a place to never die
walked in starlight until the seashore, an old man watching a
duck drink seawater, livid moisture lit by moon-silver
a cry: where do I find that place where no one dies?
Near the cresting sea-waves he received his answer in cold air:
if you are scared of death, stick with me. until this duck has
drunk this periwinkle sea, you have no chance of dying.
you will live another three hundred years.
like a ravished shadow he ventured onwards, stopping at
a magnificent palace. a serpent-haired man opened the door
a rustle: where do I find that place where no one dies?
arrival; in fire-sword eyes was held immortality,
as long as you stay with me you shall never die.
his springtime of youth frozen as he moved in
losing track of time, deathless, alive in liminal skies
until one day, a moan: in my eternity, I should like
to go back to that place where I once lived, and
visit my home, my descendants, in ashen light.
if you really wish to—go on my restless white horse,
but remain in its saddle, or your life’s thread will sever.
wandering back, he saw:
a vast prairie where he had met the old man with the duck
a desert where he had met the old man with the pruning hook
a leveled ground where he had met the man carting rocks
his home, unrecognizable: gazing with wondrous melting
eyes at the metamorphosis of his home, heading back
not halfway home he met a frail carter, cart full of old shoes
a mutter: sir, please help me dislodge my twisted wheel
the pitiful youth half-dismounted; one foot one the ground,
one foot in the stirrup, when a Dionysian smile ravaged him:
at last I have you—I am Death, with all the pair of shoes I
have used to chase you. Your deathlessness is at an end,
you will melt into the darkness and become one with the earth.
Orpheus and Eurydice
By Mark Hudson
There was a legend of Orpheus of Thrace,
who fell in love with Eurydice.
He fell in love with her beautiful face,
and it was true love, more than just like.
Apollo gave Orpheus a lyre,
and he made music no woman could resist.
The music left Eurydice inspired,
an affection to both when they kissed.
Eurydice went with the nymphs to the woods,
and an interested shepherd began to chase.
The shepherd was up to no good,
and Eurydice vanished without a trace.
Eurydice died and went to Hades,
and Orpheus journeyed to the lake of fire.
He was looking for his long lost lady,
and he summoned her up with his lyre.
The god of the underworld proclaimed,
“Take her to Earth by your grace.
If you want to see her the same,
do not look at her face.”
But at the last moment he gazed,
and his woman turned to shade.
This left Orpheus sad and crazed,
and thus, a legend was made.
Originally published in Rockford Review
By Harris Coverley
pursued by that shepherd
Apollo’s bastard son
the rapist in the woods
the viper tore my heal
and Aulonoid blood soaked into loam
and my soul into the underworld
he found me
descending by his music
to lull the hound to sleep
and win the hearts of king and queen
and for my beauty to see again the light
he had one simple task:
to not look back
to march and sing
and not look back
to have faith in the Gods
and not look back
to wait until the sun could greet
and not look back
but his faith was as shallow
as the realms of Hades were deep
and now I wait
within grey flames
to hear again
my husband’s mournful croon
By Cardinal Cox
Yes the correct circle has to be drawn
With the words both holy and infernal
All inscribed many hours before dawn
And request – not order like some colonel
Don’t bother with arcane Latin or Greek
To contact the dearly departed one
If that’s not what (when alive) they would speak
You have to use a familiar tongue
See – the dead are busy – there’s much to do
The shades from all of history to meet
No time for ghosts to jump out and shout “boo!”
Networking to try even in Hell’s heat
Make an appointment or send an invite
If you want to call the dead at midnight