Posts Tagged ‘Marge Simon’

The Ghosts of Culloden: 1746

Can you hear them, can you see them
Marching proudly across the moor,
Hear the wind blow thru the drifting snow,
Tell me can you see them, the ghosts of Culloden.
—Lines from “The Ghosts of Culloden” by Isla Grant

A savage lot, you say,
wearing kilts their women wove,
the dyes set by their lasses’ piss.
Look close to see the weave
their tartans fine as any noble’s vest.

Can you see them rising up again
with their claymores dipped in red,
but when the smoke of battle clears
they fade into the mist.

And all to unify the clans,
return the Stuart line
to England’s throne.
Such a waste of lives—
their Bonnie Prince Charles
was a fucking arse.

Climb to the Highlands
to find the standing stones,
make passage back in time,
then feel the thunderous entry
of their passing souls—
and you can worship down.

There is a bloodied page
in this history tome I hold.
I am a daughter
among the many daughters.
We’d have fought too,
if such were allowed.

We carry the weight
of suppressed rain,
the loss of lands,
the seasons of death
etched in the planes
of our faces.

You may on this page
scribe your many lies,
but no pen can change
nor words rearrange
what happened at Culloden.

 

— Marge Simon

Marge Simon lives in Ocala, FL. She edits a column for the Horror Writers Association Newsletter, “Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side,” and serves on Board of Trustees. She is the second woman to be acknowledged by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association with a Grand Master Award. She has won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Poetry.

Editor’s Notes:  “The Battle of Culloden (Scottish Gaelic: Blàr Chùil Lodair) (16 April 1746) was the final clash between the French-supported Jacobites and the Hanoverian British Government in the 1745 Jacobite Rising. Culloden dealt the Jacobite cause—to restore the House of Stuart to the throne of the Kingdom of Great Britain—a decisive defeat.” Read more here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btJzi8_GrUE and listen to Isla Grant sing The Ghosts of Culloden. More information can be found here: https://clan.com/blog/folklore-thursday-the-ghosts-of-culloden-battlefield and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Culloden#/

 

 

The image is a Woodcut painting by David Morier of the Battle of Culloden first published just six months after the battle in October 1746.

Redcap Days


On a Pullman train
in the olden times,
a dark-skinned man
with immaculate white gloves
and a beautiful smile
helps a woman on board.
 
She wears a ratty fox stole,
eyebrows plucked and penciled
on a powdered canvas of wrinkles.
Through lips firmly pursed
in perpetual scowl,
she calls him boy.
 
In the dining car
with white tablecloths
and shining cutlery,
there is an extensive menu
with elegant service
by a dark-skinned man.
 
But none of it is to her liking:
the knives and forks aren’t clean enough,
there are crumbs on the carpet,
her soup is too hot, her tea
too weak; and in a strident voice
she calls the waiter boy.
 
In the smoking car
where passengers engage
in convivial conversations,
she intrudes her opinions,
drinks too many martinis
and calls the barman boy.
 
When she chokes on an olive
no one comes rushing to her aid;
a voodoo spell, a magic curse?
There’s no evidence to tell,
but her time upon this mortal soil
most thankfully expires.
 
A Redcap lays her body in a berth,
buttons up the heavy curtains,
respectful of the dead—
her soul left to forever dreams
of serving nasty passengers
with unaccustomed smiles.
 
— Marge Simon
 
 
Marge Simon lives in Ocala, FL. She edits a column for the Horror Writers Association Newsletter, “Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side,” and serves on Board of Trustees. She is the second woman to be acknowledged by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association with a Grand Master Award. She has won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Poetry.
 
Editor’s Notes: A Pullman porter helping a woman is blurred with an image of a creepy old woman, all colorized red, and made haunting

Light in the Window


Dream a memory of clouds that chase the moon, of winds outside a house that knew a devastating war.

On the second floor, a window lights, silhouetting a seated woman in a long dress. Her head bowed low, her hands clasped as if in prayer. A tree bough bends and breaks. Soon it’s swept by gusts to rest against a tombstone in the family plot.

The inscription on the stone is weathered and pockmarked by Minié balls. From this grave, a phantom rises in the wind. Not of this world, the wind does not affect its composition—a Confederate soldier missing an arm, his uniform in shreds.

Above, the woman’s shadow rises and looks out the window. She touches her lips as she waves a handkerchief before floating down to join him.

 

— Marge Simon

 

Marge Simon lives in Ocala, FL. She edits a column for the HWA Newsletter, “Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side,” and serves on Board of Trustees. She is the second woman to be acknowledged by the SF&F Association with a Grand Master Award. She has won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Poetry.

Image Notes: From a news article “Man Arrested for Pretending to be Ghost at Cemetery,” the cemetery is combined with a ghostly image from The Minds Journal.

Latch Lock & Chain


I follow the stream into the greenwood,
Old Dozer knows the way, I smile as he
veers off, going deeper into the foliage where
a last burst of sunset falls on the brick hut,

the same I’d built alone decades ago,
crumbling now, the whitewash almost gone.
How pleased I’d been that day to add that sign,
KEEP OUT, now buried in a pile of leaves.

I should complete my mission before dark,
for the bastard’s sake, as he’ll be waiting.
At first at odds, I determine to convey
the truth, not guise it all in falsehoods.

“There’s been enough bad blood between us.
I’ll set you free, if you promise to forgive.”
From inside I hear a croak of assent.
But Dozer growls, looks at me. Whines.

“Mother hated you, she believed my lies.
The mine we co-owned was worthless,
I sold the deed to our land years ago,
and I killed that whore you fancied.”

The latch is rusted, but the lock still holds.
My key won’t work, I smash it with my torch.
With trembling hands, I free the chain.
Impossibly thin fingers claw around the door,
pushing it open a crack at a time …

 

— Marge Simon

 

Marge Simon lives in Ocala, Florida and is married to Bruce Boston. Her stories have appeared in Daily Science FictionThe Pedestal MagazineMorpheus Tales and many more. She won the Strange Horizons Readers Choice Award 2010, the Bram Stoker Award ® three times for Poetry, the Rhysling Award and the Grand Master Award from the SF Poetry Association, 2015.  She has work in Chiral Mad 3 and Scary Out ThereYou Human. Upcoming fiction: Chiral Mad 4 2017The Beauty of Death, 2017www.margesimon.com

Editor’s Notes: Superimposed images of a bony hand and a rusted lock accent the tension in the poem.

Anteroom Gathering

Long silent, the grandfather clock awakes
to strike a full twelve bells at midnight.
On a glass topped table, five candles light
without the need for human hands, chairs
with flawless satin seats await the guests.

Dr. Mengele passes through the door
with a box of spectral chocolates,
the same he gave to Jewish twins
when their train arrived in Auschwitz,
prized subjects for his surgeries.

Ilse Koch, Red Witch of Buchenwald,
appears in fashion, with a fancy purse
of Jewish prisoners’ tattooed skins.
Himmler brings his book on the occult
and racist jokes to share, but is ignored.

Adolph and Eva are fashionably late,
she with her two terriers, he with
his German Shepherd, Blondi,
all wagging tails and licking hands,
just like things used to be,

before the last few days,
when Blondi took the cyanide
to assure her master that it worked,
and Eva’s terriers were shot, along
with Blondi’s newborn pups.

This night, they gather to forget,
with fictive wine and phantom tea,
to joke and jest and reminisce
the histories of their wartime lives
until at dawn, the clock ticks cease.

— Marge Simon

Marge Simon lives in Ocala, FL. She edits a column for the HWA Newsletter, “Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side,” and serves on Board of Trustees. She is the second woman to be acknowledged by the SF &F Association with a Grand Master Award. Marge’s poems and stories have appeared in Silver Blade, Bete Noire, Urban Fantasist, Daily Science Fiction, YOU, HUMAN, CHIRAL MAD 2,3 and SCARY OUT THERE, to name a few.

Editor’s Note: The image is credited to NBC’s Roger Mudd and Dennis Murphy: In 1985, U.S. forensic scientists working with authorities in Brazil confirm that remains exhumed from a grave in Brazil are those of fugitive Nazi fugitive Josef Mengele, known at Auschwitz as the “Angel of Death.” Positive I.D. is made by measuring and analyzing bones and matching teeth in a skull to Mengele’s German dental records. https://archives.nbclearn.com/portal/site/k-12/flatview?cuecard=47692

Settling on Mars


I don’t mind the cold so much, but he does.
I can’t get him out of bed, just to walk around.
This isn’t good for your muscles, I say.

I would give him my own ration of broth
but it would never pass his clenched lips.
We have been in the bunker for many weeks.
Provisions and oxygen are almost gone,
& above, the unending thunder of bombs.

Here was a new start for all of us from Earth.
We thought wars were over, we believed
our nations would settle here in peace.

We spoke a common language,
exchanged recipes, cosmetics,
tips for ailments like headaches
we get from breathing recycled air.
Came the day our governments intervened,
& we were not allowed to fraternize.

Birth control was a part of our contract,
but sometimes, something happens—
something that is not supposed to be.
He has withdrawn from life, from us.
Our child will die with me.

All this way we’ve come,
& nothing is settled here.
— Marge Simon

 

Marge Simon lives in Ocala, Florida and is married to Bruce Boston. Her stories have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, The Pedestal Magazine, Morpheus Tales and many more. She won the Strange Horizons Readers Choice Award 2010, the Bram Stoker Award ® three times for Poetry, the Rhysling Award and the Grand Master Award from the SF Poetry Association, 2015.  She has work in Chiral Mad 3 and Scary Out There, You Human. Upcoming fiction: Chiral Mad 4 2017, The Beauty of Death, 2017www.margesimon.com

 

Editor’s Note: Artist’s concept of astronaut working on Mars NASA wants to send humans to Mars 15 to 20 years from now. Future Mars explorers could uncover evidence that life has existed – or even might exist now – on Mars, answering one of the most basic questions humans have of the universe. A fleet of robotic spacecraft and rovers already are on and around Mars, dramatically increasing our knowledge about the Mars and paving the way for future human explorers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_mission_to_Mars

George Tecumseh Sherman’s Ghosts

Florida, 1914

Most nights, you mention him,
the ghosts rise from the cypress
come back to wail and moan.
Haints all look the same,
can’t tell the whites from the Brothers,
‘cause the war took every one alike,
and some still stick around.

It’s been nigh fifty years, Granpappy say,
back when it was the Civil War,
and that man with crazy eyes came through—
old General Sherman and his men
took our food, our mules,
even our women along the way,
burning and blazing every field,
cotton or corn or sugar cane,
telling us we join up
so’s we’d be free, that’s what they said.

Granpappy almost starved,
beings how the soldiers got the food
and only scraps for the Brothers that survived;
still more drowned at Ebeneezer Creek
trying so hard to keep up,
a-marching straight to hell,
all the while still being slaves,
no better than the Reb’s to them.
But them haints, General Sherman,
they all look the same.

— Marge Simon

 

Marge Simon has won the Strange Horizons Readers Choice Award, the Bram Stoker Award™ (2008, 2012, 2013), the Rhysling Award and the Dwarf Stars Award. More at margesimon.com

Editor’s Notes: The superposition of solider statues on the base of the William T. Sherman Memorial in President’s Park (Washington, DC) in silhouette on a photograph of cypress trees (by blackmagic), all rendered in a ghostly sepia, complements the poem.