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The August Vampeer

Narrative Verse

Simon Pole

Text copyright 2019 Simon Pole

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No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Simon Pole.

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Table of Contents

The August Vampeer
Heady Freeson’s Rock Sound
Ella and Eidelvard
Flowers of Heaven
The Wolf of Evening
Red Monkey
The Nadir: A Condo Adventure
About the Author

The August Vampeer


I am the august Vampeer,
In my coffin I appear,
At the finish of the day,
When the sun sinks on its way,
And its rule gives to the moon,
Then it is that lovers swoon,
And the windows leave unlatched,
Hoping for a midnight match:
What they get is me instead,
At the corner of the bed,
Garbed in my demonic duds,
With a lusting for their blood.


I’m the hunter of fell beasts,
By my mission many ceased
To prey upon living souls;
Added also to the rolls
Are those collaborators,
With black art, instigators
Of the entry to our realm,
From outside, of those who helm
This depraved conspiracy
To subjugate you and me,
In thrall to their evil will:
So say I, brute-basher Bill.


I am the accursed servant,
In cruel crime my time is spent,
Pursuing his foul decrees,
And in that I am guilty,
Obeying what Vampeer said,
While he slumbered like the dead:
In the day, abroad I crept,
Found him victims that were kept
As his slaves, from which he supped.
His gold purse made me corrupt:
Me, Corb Complin, once a lad
Of high faith, now wholly bad.


We are the fallen sisters,
On our skin rise the blisters
Where we have received the kiss
Of the Master, and its bliss,
Which gives to us life in death,
Though we exist without breath,
Or reflections in the mirror,
And the holy cross we fear.
But on this earth we hold sway,
When at the moon wolf-dogs bay,
And all good men are asleep,
Then the tithe of blood we reap


In a town of houses small,
On a cliff where boulders fall,
Was an inn, an evil sort
Where the beer was always short,
And with vermin teemed the bed,
While blind bats accost the head.
But it was the only spot,
For miles around, with a cot
One might rent for an outing
To the mountains, where scouting
Had unearthed the golden seam
That of vast wealth makes men dream.


At the inn, Bill Brasher slept,
While in his dreams children wept,
Neglected brood of the wives,
Who to Vampeer sold their lives;
In the alley, down the street,
They stumbled on bloody feet,
Always searching for the care,
Non-existent in the lairs,
Lightless caves that were the homes,
Corrupted when monsters roamed,
On these acres far away
From where justice lights the day.


That very night, after dusk,
When on the wind floated musk
Of the newly risen dead,
Who on living sources fed,
There gathered in rooms below,
Those reserved for touring shows,
Or a play with painted face,
Every last man in the place:
Those who found their houses bare,
And sought lost wives everywhere,
But finding none, motions heard
How this evil might be cured.


Speaks the first in anxious tones,
“We have the mine in our bones,
Long have we toiled down the pit,
Forsaking health and respite,
To build this town, and provide
The finer things, was our pride.
But the new boss, this Vampeer,
Who bought the mine late last year,
Has brought blight upon us all,
And like wheat to him we fall:
He the reaper, we the crop.
I tell you friends, it must stop!”


A hue and cry came there then,
Talk of cages and deep pens
Where the malefactor fanged,
Upon capture by a gang,
Could be kept until such time,
Well-acquainted with the crimes,
A drum-head court would decree
Sentence for his savagery.
But the floor another seeks,
Who, though he appears to speak
Of posses called with favour,
In fact is Vampeer’s saviour.


“You know me, I’m Corb Complin,
And your friend I’ve always been.
Though I left the dirty shaft,
And sought work of higher craft,
My poor past I can’t forget;
So I warn you, there’s time yet
To reverse this foolish course,
And petition that gift-horse,
Who though he has habits strange,
And in private lives has ranged,
Nonetheless bank-rolled this town,
And must be told: stick around.”


Troubled of thought they became,
And wary of Vampeer’s fame.
Who were they, lowly miners,
To jail him, made much finer?
And if of him they were rid,
Who would for the mine then bid?
Perhaps vigilante scares
Would make owners look elsewhere,
And then worse-off would they be,
Without pots in which to pee.
Thus defeated, faces glum,
Were they by this conundrum.


But before they could adjourn,
And to cheerless homes return,
In the seating there arose,
Of wild eyes and ragged clothes,
With broken nails, and wan skin,
Like a ghost who walks again,
A lady to them unknown,
Onto their good graces thrown,
But alike to those spouses,
Who had left modest houses,
For a life of wild excess
In circles which demons bless.


Her tales begins with a shriek,
A cry which attention seeks,
And them enticed, like this talked:
“On bloody feet have I walked,
From other towns where that ghoul,
A dandy corpse, likewise ruled.
By his wealth was I tempted,
Thinking I’d be exempted.
When at last the debt came due,
Though my soul I pawned, it’s true,
A good man’s love too was lost,
And that ranks the higher cost.”


With groggy head he awoke,
The brash, monster-fighting bloke,
And by footprints on the rug,
Surmised at once he’d been drugged,
By some agent of the boss,
Who would thus prevent his loss
In the fraught debate below.
Sore of joint, staggering slow,
From his suitcase he unpacks
Relics on their holy racks,
These he holstered, none was missed,
Except a ring, which he kissed.


A chorus then rocks the hall,
Like a noisy thunder-fall,
Which in a storm shakes and jars,
Of the women, grossly marred
By their service to Vampeer,
Who, tonight, have congressed here.
In cadenced words make they known
The counter-claim, so intoned
To their husbands’ case refute,
And a most convincing suit,
In defence of their choices,
Bring tonight: hear their voices.


“Boring boys, do you not see,
What we could’ve done for thee?
Led you unto greater things,
Boundless night, where craving sings
The voices of all that lusts,
That which daytime’s shackles bust,
And the dams of pleasure burst,
On a tidal wave of thirst.
Though the pain at first is great,
And wholesome love turns to hate,
A trifle we count the price:
To stay with you is the vice.”


Then like smoke, or pooling fog,
That which slips, unheard by dog,
In a window, or the door,
And collects upon the floor,
So there grew, in shape of man,
Where the crowd left room to stand,
A wayward mist that condensed
Until all the miners sensed
That in their midst, unlooked-for,
Had arrived what they deplore.
Darkly dressed, commanding fear,
There stood the august Vampeer.


He strode left, and he strode right,
Searching faces for a fight,
But each brave bloke he stared down,
Until they hung on his frown,
Or his smile, whatever might
Be the vampire’s whim tonight.
After minutes of contempt,
From which no one was exempt,
A crawl of time, keenly felt,
Which sanity makes to melt,
He at last the silence breaks,
And haughty his address makes.


“Worms and maggots of these shores,
Here the sailing ships me bore:
This new world, at it I laugh,
A barnyard for the riff-raff
That was from old countries spewed,
Where in ignorance you stewed.
Here you are not better placed,
And the fear that once you faced
Is here too—it lives in me,
Of it you were never free,
Always my sheep, on two feet,
Who in the end, are just meat.”


Outside the night seethed and sighed,
Sinister stars shone on high,
And in their dens, low things hid,
As to listen, all were bid.
“I have your wives, they are mine,
And you too, substantial fines
Will be docked each day you shirk
And hatch plots instead of work.
Above all, do not forget,
When the sun its red-eye sets,
I will be there, by your bed,
Every night I must be fed.”


To other rooms they retreat,
Reticent in their defeat,
Until they are free of him
Whose mere presence candles dim.
Then breaks out confusèd talk,
Those who rally, those who balk
At renewed confrontation
With those above their station.
As proceeds this nervous din,
Someone at the door comes in,
Who a moment waits to hear,
With a purpose not yet clear.


At first he appraised each man,
Then considered, as a band,
How they might oppose the foe
Whose true self they’d come to know.
This decided in his brain,
A method to lift the bane,
Which had cost them all so dear,
At last said so all might hear:
“Brave men, Bill Brasher I am
And for ten years have I crammed,
With fierce hate, each waking hour,
For that fiend whom your lives soured.”


This proclaimed, with a flourish,
The bones which goodness nourish,
He produced from their holders,
And proposed, speaking bolder:
“That vampire is of the night,
A devil’s duke, the mere sight
Of these holy artifacts
Must to his den drive him back.
But their touch upon his skin,
Will to dust turn him again.
Thus believe, we have at hand
Means to cure your blighted land.”


To a man they gave their cheer,
Free to be at last from fear,
And assume their rightful lot,
Masters of this homely spot.
As filed they out from the room,
Ready to confront their doom,
Waited there, in clothing rent,
Like a corpse with life-force spent,
The wan woman who had wailed,
At the meeting, her sad tale.
Bill alone she now accosts,
With the wounds of love they lost.


“O Bill Brasher, darling beau,
Is this all we have to show?
We who once by starlight danced
In a heady, young romance,
One we thought for the ages,
But whose heart died in stages,
As I wanted bigger thrills,
And you, always at the till
Of your store, with its traffic,
Gave leeway to that aspic,
His teeth on our lives to fix
And makes us these walking sticks.”


Bill Brasher brushed her aside,
His contempt he could not hide,
But underneath he suppressed,
In the cauldron of his breast,
By their conflict yet untamed,
A flicker which dying flamed
One last time, its power spent,
And he to his duty went,
Inside the hall, where there hid
To conduct, as Vampeer bid,
Sordid business, Corb Complin,
Who to the walls pipe-bombs pinned.


What to say? There was a blast,
And the pillars, once held fast,
Were from root and mooring loosed,
As in pieces fell the roof,
Crushing victims with its beams,
Silencing their hopeless screams,
Both living and the undead,
Trapped in puddles pooling red.
But preserved in the rubble,
Safely stowed in a bubble,
Were the bomber and his boss,
Locked in dispute of the loss.


“In a bag you found my bones
On a trash-heap careless thrown,
With some tokens of my worth,
Deducing demonic birth,
After passage on that ship,
Where confinement power stripped
From an aging fiend like me,
Who survived for centuries.
It was you who brought me here
To enforce the reign of fear;
A drop of blood me restored,
Yet now you have sown discord.”


So spoke the august Vampeer,
Words which battered Complin’s ear,
With a purpose he protests,
And the issue sets to rest:
“Have you read that Darwin chap
Who the fight of species mapped
In his book called The Descent?
I am the fitter, lament
That I’ve come to take your place,
To make prey the human race;
In my blood your curse abounds,
Now I stake you to the ground.”


With a mallet and a whack,
He the vampire’s breastbone cracks,
And pierces the coal-black heart,
From front to back, with his dart.
In convulsions then is spit,
Out of pockets where it sits,
The groaning soul which has ruled
Ghastly actions of the ghoul.
This a moment hangs in space,
Like a cloud or odour base,
Which at the mouth inhales Corb,
Its power to reabsorb.


The new master he becomes,
A monster who is the sum
Of all the sins practiced there,
Under sky, and under stairs,
And raises up, from the dust
A scratch army, as he must,
From the crushed and dismembered,
Husbands and wives engendered
To their former fights forgive
And unite, thenceforth to live,
Like a debased tribe or kin,
Enslaved all to Corb Complin.


Claws like sickles on his hands
He flexes there, as he stands
Surveying the ruined room
With its smell of blood and doom,
Directing his captured hordes
To ignore the jumbled boards
And the two which in them hide:
Brasher and his former bride.
Forsake now he would attack,
In his rusty suit of black,
With ears pointed like a bat,
And a face abnormal flat.


Crushed across the waist he lies,
As the life within him dies:
For this world, not much longer,
Wills himself briefly stronger,
Collecting his final breath,
Before he embraces death.
A hopeful plea he imparts
To the girl who broke his heart,
With the relics that he saved
When the roof upon him caved.
These he offers as a cure,
By their reborn love ensured.


“Take these relics of the saints,
Hold them close: against the taint,
Which has your life swallowed whole,
Oppose them, reclaim your soul.
And once, dear Bess, you are free,
On their goodness promise me,
Though I die, my fight make yours,
Pursing those depraved curs,
Who would this curse from here spread.
For you life, for me the dead!”
This she vowed, with weeping face,
And he died in her embrace.


In a pocket full of peace,
Where the pall of evil ceased,
Lighted by some holy glow
Which the cradled relics show,
The grotesque and twisted form,
That with violent impulse stormed,
In a flash began to flush
With the touch and healthy blush
Of pure life, in her renewed,
What had once in venom stewed.
Now released from its control,
The coming fight she extolled.


“I feel my soul is refreshed,
In white again I am dressed.
Dear Bill, I fold to my breast
These odd parts which have been blessed
With a power to oppose
Whatever force from here goes
To assail the greater good,
Which in pockets has withstood
Malign intent, or rebuff
From those who love golden stuff.
Righteous will I always be,
Loyal to your memory.”


Out she walked past brick and block,
And no longer could be shocked
By the sight of further scrap,
For the village had been trapped
Underneath the overhang
Of the cliff, which had the bang
Of the bomb in pieces broke,
And the streets with boulders choked.
Nothing in that rubble stirred
Except Complin and his herd
Of stark spectres, trudging down:
Them she followed out of town.


A corpse she saw, through whose lips
A flower pushed budding tips
Of new life that would blossom
With a hope simply awesome
That perhaps in days ahead,
Some years hence, when what had bled
Its body out on the ground
In final dust rest has found,
And a simple field untilled
The townsite is on its hill,
Some settler would build anew,
And promise lost thus renew.


But the monster turned to hiss,
With a tongue too big to miss.
“Lady,” he said, “be not smug,
That nearby no graves were dug
To be our homes, and a base
To despoil the human race
In the country hereabouts—
Greater pastures seek we out.
With dark cellars as our seat,
We’ll corral more cattle-meat,
In our traps, than that vampire
Ever could himself conspire.”


So they went, each on their way:
She, to call, in realms of day,
The fighting saints to her side,
Who wars to come would abide,
They, the night-fiends, in some crypt
Where thrived moss, and waters dripped,
There to plot unholy deeds,
When they would on good men feed.
The wise alone his tale learned:
Death’s lord, whom to dust returned,
Who ruled, unjust, some short years,
But died, the august Vampeer.

Heady Freeson’s Rock Sound

His last memory of the night before
Was a successful gig at the disco.
Two sets they played, and an encore, until,
Hands bloodied from exhaustion, he begged off,
And to the bar retired, with a drink,
His guitar, and band gear, left to roadies.
Long after hours he drank, mostly for free,
The bottles by fans and well-wishers bought,
Who Heady Freeson’s rock sound loved dearly.
When at dawn he staggered up from his stool,
For the door, one last drink was given him,
A cocktail, whose sweetness masked something else:
In one guzzle, his world to blackness turned,
In chains to wake, prostrate, on a cold floor,
Where a bearded bloke skulked in the background.

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