Voices on the Wind
The humor of horror
by Mark Vogel
Soothes only in retrospect when the wriggles are honed,
pared into surface pattern—crafted
into laughing stories designed for those loved,
as gentled myths when a wound no longer pains/
but is a scar becoming permanent—when dirt/
stench/blood can be held at arms-length/
enhanced into fable not quite real.
In the beginning rules state the innocent saga
starts with a hint of color
and cold and wind, then builds horror solid,
with a landscape that melds into fat perspective.
The telling is a relief and a shock/the monotone
voice a deliberate weapon.
The audience hears the deer’s pant
and snort/just before the hanging carcass
in the tree is revealed. The breath
caught in the throat/waiting for the slow removal
of the eyes. Other unconnected scenes follow,
like the 3rd grade long fall from the jungle gym,
when gravity demanded the head-first
plunge to the asphalt—the wry expression
after the plunge. The beauty of bravado savors
fleshy wounds tattooed into scars/
when an anecdote is deadpan as poem—
say a fishing lure immersed in the thumb—
when the arc of story throbs, the aura cringing
as horror provides focus like
an approaching leering dog.
Or a crude private joke that wounds with
obscene hyperbole and second grade pointing.
The fear a drowning is eminent. The strange
and dirtied need to share putrid detail until
the sense of survival and relief lingers—
with joy alive in the knowledge
we face down all that can possibly come.