Spooky Poems for Halloween (& All Year Round)
by Michael Benedikt

Eerie, Ominous, & Grisly poems mostly from THE BODY, Benedikt's lst book of poetry
(Wesleyan University Press, l968).   21st Century selections & revisions.

      [Last Modified 10/4/04.  This is Halloween  Version 6.1.   With Announcement re Traffic Jam at Page]

Spooky Picture of Author

Spooky Photo of Author. Click Here  for  Brief Author Bio
A couple of somewhat less spooky author pictures + Home Page of this Body-based site--here .
Although a Halloween-&-Horror page, parts may not be suitable for younger fright, fear & terror fans.
Page is part of a site for college-level & above only--younger persons under supervision, please!

Links at this page to selected Other Benedikt Websites featuring Fantasy & Sci-Fi  here.  'Runixie'

Poems At This Page:

  (1)  The Eye of The Assassin   (2)  The Helper   (3)  Mr. Rainman  (4)   Some Old Men

  (5)  To Persuade A Lady   (6)  The Debris of The Body   (7)  The Wings of The Nose

&   (8)  An Afterthought About Autumn: The Autumn Villain

"To Persuade A Lady" is from Benedikt's 2nd book of poetry, SKY (Wesleyan, l970).
It's a Scary Love Poem, a new literary genre originated by Benedikt & explored in his early books especially.

A n n o u n c e m e n t
The Good News is that this Halloween n' Horror  poetry site is receiving lots & lots of Spooky-Season traffic.
The Bad News is that  it's sometimes exceeded Server's bandwith restrictions.
So we've temporarily removed our 'theme music' consoles. They'll be back sometime after Halloween.

About.com Featured Site Award


This is part of a Website-In-Progress with Selected Poems from THE BODY and SKY   (Page 4 of 6)
Besides Spooky Poems, both books contain other dark poems/poems of 'Black Humor,' as well as many other poem-types

Info on Other Types of Poems/ Themes in THE BODY     Links to Other Pages Within This BODY-SKY Website 

The Spooky Poems


The victim, who tried to run away
Lay in parts, just outside the doorway
On the porch
Between the two front windows
At the exact center of the cleft
Of the whole house cut in two.

Not far off
In nearby trees, you could see
A large arm, still brandishing an immense axe--
And peering back
The satisfied
Assassin's eye.


To be helpful
To lift up someone's eyelid at midnight
To observe their lack of vigor
To grasp them by one arm and drag them out of the room and downstairs
And dress them in an old oilskin against black insects buzzing around a lamp in the hall
Then to drag them down the front flight of stairs
And to place them gently in the trunk of the car, afterwards locking it carefully for safety
Then to drive them out to the country
Down all those dark, deserted roads, with only the black night butterflies alert
And there, in the country, to find a quiet, relaxing place
Perhaps on a knoll or in a darkness-shrouded field or under a bridge with the water tricklings
     writing maledictions over everything
And to bury them there
In the oilskin
With the insects still keeping their distance
And to bury them deeply and undiscoverably

--To be this helpful
Is unappreciated, often.


In the rain, an angry outcry: 'Get your hands off my trickling face'!
A damp rug
                    my chilled hands
Show that we have a rather sinister visitor:
                                                              A smudge
                                                              in a soggy grey coat
And shoes that hiss on the diningroom table

We thought he simply needed a shave but that shadow on Mr. Rainman's cheek            
       actually meant that he was almost completely covered with mosses
       and various other greens growing there...

O my pink-cheeked, innocent young daughter
O my daughter in your ancient but hardly yellowed white pinafore
       what are you doing peeking at him shyly at midnight through the skylight?
                                      --& then with puckered lips, sliding down towards him here
                                                                                                    sailing straight down the bannister...

You stand out enough!


Nobody understands why these indigent sweepers keep showing up exactly here
Every evening at the edge of the Tuileries park
To sweep the garden with sweeping equipment of past days

Their eyes are dim their hands can barely grip their brooms
Faggot brooms bound with old rushes and things
And they chatter with excited gestures

And should a lady go by wearing only a grey fur coat, high-heeled shoes, and
      stockings with ragged runs in them,
Beneath which is a frock torn partly to shreds
They smile at her understandingly, and then begin to whistle innocently
     and stare up at the sky...

Companion of my days, Companion of my evening secrecy!
Oh this must be our favorite spot in the Tuileries--
Shaded and calm and only slightly dusty...


Note: 'Tuileries'--name of a park in Paris


Carpe Diem

True, I have always been happy that all the things that are inside the
        body are inside the body, and that all things outside the body, are out
I'm glad to find my lungs on the inside of my chest, for example; if they were outside,
        they'd keep getting in the way, those two great incipient angel wings; besides,
        it would be messy
I mean, how would it be if your reached out to shake someone's hand
        and there, in the palm, were a kidney and a liver complete with spleen?
Can you imagine standing at 5 PM in a crowded subway car full of empty stomachs?
What if a nice, nearsighted old lady were knitting socks and suddenly
        her veins fell out? How would she avoid creating a substance full of strangeness
        and pain?
To the barefoot country boy sitting on the edge of the bed in the morning
        and opening Aunt Minnie's gift box, the sight of those socks would be
        what he'd call 'a real eye-opener!'
And what if our voices touched? If our mouths went out, instead of in?
If you were inside of me; or, at least, if I were inside of you?


The debris of the body is piled up around the foot of the statue, and is also scattered
        around the landscape.
It starts on the statue's shoe
And then spreads out until it arrives at a river, where the light debris drifts, and the heavier
        debris sinks, hitting a fish on the head.
The picturesque little town was nestled in a peaceful valley, then the debris of the body
        came and covered it; now it nestles under ten feet of garbage.
A photographer was photographing a lovely mountaintop locale, for a liquor-store
        calendar, until the debris of the body came and smudged the lens, blurring the
        photo, inundating the photographer
A grizzly bear climbs a tree to escape its flows
Like a decade's lemmings--if they were a whole lot slower--or the tides themselves,
        it creeps down to the edge of the sea. The light debris drifting, the heavy hitting
        some other fish on the head.
There, the sea is inundated with the flower of fallen hair, worn-off skin, fingernail
        parings, nose pickings, oozed blood, used sperm (love's leavings!), annoying old
        scabs, tears accidentally escaped from beneath eyelids in the wind, tears meant to be wept,
        the nether wastes, the shit and piss of the skin, superannuated wart parts, etc.


The wings of the nose
I sense them fluttering
Making a passenger
Out of the whole olfactory system
While the brain flies along just for fun
Where are you going, O wildest of widely wandering wings
Where are you taking us, my Sweetie and Me?

"I am taking you someplace where you will like it
I am taking you to a place where you can rest
        and enjoy the most important sense of things
        of all, which is mine.
Haven't you given up other pleasures yet?
                                Touch, which is just an irritation
                                Taste, which I view with distaste
                                Hearing, which is designed simply to put a strain on you
                                Sight, which is something I have never quite been able to see
Just in case you haven't yet abandoned them
                                                          come with me now
                                       aloft in my own sensational flying machine
Spend all your time
Wandering with me all day long, not to the places you want to go to
      but to the places you can't resist going to
Let your schedule of appointments be organizing by waftings
O follow follow

So you will say
At the end of the day
'The odor of decay
Is the best and the strongest and the sweetest
--Even the smell of fire on bone
And rich earth' "

An Afterthought:

About The Halloween Season, Autumn, & Fear of Winter Darkness


The villain crept by on the slant
                              towards the Southwest
                                                    and the sunset
With his shadow lengthening and following behind him

The brim of the enormous black hat he wore was pulled down
    over his eyes, his nose, and his mouth
As if predicting
Days to come when he would have to travel
     in almost total shadows
To make up for all his glaring summertime excesses
--Penance for both his suns and his sins

Big brim! It sloped down and even scraped the ground
And when the wind came, draped over the tops of trees

And an investigator
Trying to peer into his eyes
                          could see only falling leaves....

Earlier versions of "The Eye of The Assassin," "The Helper," "Mr. Rainman," "Some Old Men," "The Debris Of The Body," "The Wings Of The Nose" & "The Autumn Villain" first appeared in THE BODY by Michael Benedikt, published by Wesleyan University Press,
© l968 by Michael Benedikt. These revised versions, © l998, l999, 2000 & 2002 by Author.
Earlier version of "To Persuade A Lady" first appeared in SKY, by Michael Benedikt, publ. by Wesleyan U. Press, © l970 by Michael Benedikt. Revised ver. of "Lady," © l999 by Author. "Lady"--together with some other Benedikt poems--is also online at website of
 The Academy of American Poets.

If you entered this 'Site For All Seasons' at this 8-poem Halloween n' Horror page--
for a page with many other, rather haunting selections from THE BODY

Selected Poems from THE BODY

Brief Benedikt Bio.

(Complete bio. appears in Who's Who in America; Who's Who in World; WW in Entertainment, WW in American Art, etc.)

Selections from other Benedikt books also appear at other  Websites

Contemporary US Poet Michael Benedikt has published five collections: The Badminton at Great Barrington; or, Gustave Mahler & The Chattanooga Choo-Choo (University of Pittsburgh Press, l980)--a book about the joys & sorrows of love; and with Wesleyan University Press, Night Cries (prose poems, l976); Mole Notes (prose poems, l971); Sky (l970); and The Body (l968). He's also the editor of two landmark poetry anthologies: The Prose Poem: An International Anthology (Dell/Laurel, l976); and The Poetry of Surrealism (Little Brown, l974). A former Poetry Editor of The Paris Review, his editorial selections are represented in The Paris Review Anthology (Norton, l990). Recent poetry published in such literary magazines as Agni, Iowa Review, Jerusalem Review, Lips, Michigan Quarterly Review, The New Republic, New York Quarterly, Partisan Review & Paris Review (where a long poem about Einstein appeared in issue #151 in '99. Einstein is also online here ). Benedikt's work appears in ca. 65 anthologies of US poetry. He's taught Literature and Creative Writing as Visiting Professor at Bennington, Sarah Lawrence, Hampshire, and Vassar College/s, and at Boston University; and has read from his poetry at various colleges and bookstores around the USA--most recently at several Barnes & Noble superstores in the NY Metro area. He lives in Manhattan. E-mail at benedit2@aol.com.

Other info re print media background of Benedikt Websites via feature article at About.com:
'The Compleat Michael Benedikt--Poet Laureate of The Net'

Top of Spooky Page & Contents Table        Top of  The Spooky Poems      

Links to Other Pages Within This BODY-SKY Website

Other Types of Poems/Themes in THE BODY

This Website includes a page called Thematic Index to Body/Sky.  Index categorizes all poems by title/topic.
Topics starred [*] here, are followed by Notes & Commentary there.

Topics which appear in THE BODY include:

The Four Elements--Earth,   Air,   Water & Fire         Childhood & Youth & Growing Up       Gardens
Time       Space       Spirituality

      Love       Philosophy [*]     Business       Social Concerns       Esthetics     Aging & Death
Film & Theatre  [*]     l960's Art & Artists & Rock Music [*]

Besides Spooky Poems, other types of poems in THE BODY include:

Poems in Unusual Forms [*]     Highly Surrealistic Poems [*]   Poems with Multiple Dictional Shifts [*]    

Other Pages Within This BODY-SKY Website

Page 1--Home Page: Benedikt Photos & Bio
Includes 1968 photo & 1998 photo (the latter, non-Spooky) . And, more complete bio. info than is given at this page

Page 2--Selections from THE BODY
Selected poems from key, opening sections of this much anthologized, Surrealism-influenced first book by
a contemporary US Poet. Early poems in a wide range of tones--some cheery, lots dark.

Page 3--'Dark Love Poems' from THE BODY

Page 4--'Spooky Poems for Halloween (& All Year Round'  from THE BODY
This Page, of course! Poetry in Horror & Fright genre. With Urban Legends & Other

Page 5--Selections from SKY

Page 6--Thematic Index to THE BODY and SKY
College-level modern poetry resource. Subject-Index to all poems in author's first two poetry books.
Notes & Commentary offer insight on how both came to be written. Focus so far is on the philosophy behind both books, on the multi-media & visual arts background of both, & on innovative techniques used in them.
With many photos. & Searchbox for all 6 pages of this site
'Thematic' page may be useful as classroom teaching aid. And, helpful to Grad. Students writing theses
& Undergraduate Students writing term-papers for modern poetry courses.

Top of Spooky Page       Top of  Spooky Poems      

To  You,  &  To  Yours,   H a p p y   H a l l o w e e n  ! !

Spooky photo of Benedikt at top of this page by Larry Schwartzwald



Poem-in-progress from OF:   (a manuscript in progress)
re a   Halloween-Eve   Sci-Fi & Horror program that shook the Nation:
'Of Orson Welles Remarkable l938 Radio Broadcast, The War Of The Worlds'

Fantasy-site about a sprite seen amidst stars. With info about (of all things) recent NASA stratospheric sprite-sightings.
Web Premiere of one of poet's 21st Century song lyrics. Multi-media & unusual.



Brief Prose Poems--short fantasies from the 'Household Hallucinations' section of Benedikt's darkly funny 4th poetry book, Night Cries.
With more about The Prose Poem via interview from Poetry Society of America Newsletter
& essay on 'The Future of The Prose Poem'

Prose Poems & Microfictions--wide-ranging fantasies from Night Cries.  With book review from London Times Literary Supplement

Aloysius Bertrand: Fantasies by First French Prose Poet--Intro to & Selected Prose Poems by
a 19th-Century master of dark, Gothic & uncanny poetry who was also a forerunnner of 20th-Cent. Surrealism.
With music by Maurice Ravel, composer of famed 'Bolero.' Piano suite based on 3 of Bertrand's prose poems.


Poems from Boston & Cambridge--Mostly narrative poems. From Transitions (manuscript-in-progress).
Multi-media X m a s   E d i t i o n of page with. graphics & several musical selections.
Bookmark this Holiday Site for--eek!--Xmas?

The Thesaurus And Other New Verse--Poems in a variety of genres. From OF: a 2nd mss-in-progress).
Site has a linked page of  'Three Poems In Praise of Peace'

Theatre, Film & TV Poems & Info on 20th Cent. Play Anthologies Edited by M.B.
Poems about 'Showbiz.' With info on anthos. of French, German, Spanish & US 'Poetic Theatre.'
Funny, Surrealistic plays--Black Humor from 'The Theatre of The Absurd.'
Also, info on securing rights for public performances of these off-beat plays.  (Some, one-act plays)
Site includes 3 Fantasies in Microfiction form in tribute to 20th century Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini

The Badminton at Great Barrington; or, Gustave Mahler & The Chattanooga Choo-Choo
Selections from Benedikt's 5th poetry book. Poems about embattled Love, some comical, some on the dark side


Poem from OF:   re growing up siblingless. Variations on the 'Are We Alone' Sci-Fi Theme:
'Of An Only Child's World'

Top of Links To Other Benedikt Websites

Top of  'Spooky Poems for Halloween'

Other Pages Within This BODY-SKY Website

Selected Poems from THE BODY

Selected Poems from SKY

Last Page of Site: Thematic Index (with Notes, Photos, & Site Searchbox)

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