A Predisposition for Madness by Aurelio Rico Lopez III

Aurelio Rico Lopez III has provided readers with a robust assortment of free-verse narrative poems. There are literally dozens of stories and set pieces conveyed through poetry in this collection, and it’s well worth the time spent properly digesting each and every one.
A Predisposition for Madness has certainly put this writer on my radar in a good way. In these pages, you’ll discover monsters both human and far from it, you’ll witness new pandemics and sickness ravaging households and the world, you’ll see warfare and apocalyptic scenarios played out, and you’ll encounter things far more challenging to describe. There’s most certainly something in here that will suit the tastes of any reader, assuming that reader enjoys poetry. Even if you don’t typically enjoy it, I’d recommend giving this collection a chance.
The title is an apt one, the cadence of the poems coming across almost as if the stream of consciousness ravings of a madman in a padded cell, alternating between mumbles and screams.

This title was released as part of the 31 Days of Godless event at http://www.godless.com for October of 2021. You can read it for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the Godless app on your preferred mobile device. The link is below:

The Unclean Verses: Cantos 1 & 2 by John Baltisberger

Whether you’re a fan of horrorcore rap, brutal poetry, splatterpunk horror, or you simply have an unhealthy obsession with serial killers and the atrocities committed by those degenerates, The Unclean Verses: Cantos 1 & 2 is definitely for you!
I come at this as a fan of John Baltisberger’s poetry–as well as his prose–and this introduction to The Unclean Verses still managed to blow me away.
We’re introduced to a man who feels compelled by demons to perform terrible, violent acts. The descriptive, graphic violence conveyed in verse is so damn impressive, and I’m not just saying that because I volunteered to be one of the victims when Baltisberger was first putting this whole project together. I probably deserved what I got, though, because I feel like I was probably a terrible coworker. I guess maybe I just didn’t have my head in the game.
In a sense, as I wrapped up my reading of Cantos 1 & 2, I felt almost like I’d just read the least remorseful death row confession ever. Imagine, if you will, an unrepentant spree killer or serial killer mocking both the families of the victims and society as a whole by unleashing a hideous, cruel rap detailing his crimes with passionate aplomb. You won’t be far off from what Baltisberger has in store for you with this release.
These first two Cantos will pummel you into submission with the rapid-fire, insidious rhythm by which Baltisberger delivers his barrage of violence and graphic imagery. You’ll quiver with equal parts anticipation and terror, knowing that this is only the beginning.

The Unclean Verses: Cantos 1 & 2 is being released on October 6th at http://www.godless.com as part of the 31 Days of Godless event for October of 2021. You’ll want to pick this one up for yourself by going to the website or downloading the Godless app. The link is below:

Fun With Haiku

I saw a call for Canadian writers to submit horror haikus the other day. Unfortunately, I am not Canadian…because it sounded like fun. I was between newscasts–I direct newscasts for our local ABC affiliate Monday through Friday–and I decided I should see just how dark and awful I could get with the haiku template.

That was how it started…but not how it would end.

There were more–many more.

Just when I thought I might be finished, I had to keep going with a couple late additions.

I hope you enjoyed this journey as much as I’ve enjoyed leading you.

Shards of Shattered Sentiments by John Baltisberger

This is the second collection of assorted poetry from John Baltisberger I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. This time, it was in audiobook format rather than chapbook, as In Service of Slaughter had been.
There’s a good variety for anyone who enjoys horror and poetry in combination, though it is a bit on the short side, being adapted from a chapbook.
Baltisberger performs his own narration, which makes the experience more personal and intimate than I suspect it would have been from a third-party narrator.
“Nameless Leviathan” stands out for the simple fact that he layers his voice multiple times to create an effect similar to the verse/response effect one might experience in a church or temple. It creates a more chant-like quality rather than feeling like a straightforward piece of poetry, and I enjoyed that a great deal.
The limerick included is entertaining, for being so gruesome…but limericks, by design, are always amusing in a strange way…something to do with the rhythm and sing-song quality of the style.

Broken Nails by Susan Snyder

The first thing I will say about Susan Snyder’s Broken Nails is that it is far too short. You’re reading–and often re-reading–the poems, getting drawn into the almost nightmarish world she’s assembling with her words…and then it’s the end.
It’s over.
You’re not ready for it to be over just yet.
As painful and raw as the experience was, you sort of want to continue exploring Susan’s interior. She’s ripped herself open for you and left herself exposed, but then it stops.
This poetry collection is separated into three sections, each with a certain overarching theme. The second section, Reflection, was my personal favorite. It was also the most horrific in a number of ways. It’s sincerely a little bit painful as you allow the poet to paint you a portrait of a life that’s included no small amount of suffering.
This is not poetry for those who are looking for flowery nonsense. This is poetry that examines topics like murder, sexual assault, suicide, and Satanism…and if you’re interested in that, dive right in.

War Of Dictates by John Baltisberger

Beautifully sacrilegious and almost sinful in its flowing, narrative language, War of Dictates by John Baltisberger is something that can be thought of as almost a Kabalistic Hellraiser in poem form. I first thought of it as Paradise Lost for the S&M crowd, but that works only if Aleister Crowley had been halfway resurrected to pen the volume with still decaying hands. Instead of ruining the work by following it up with Paradise Regained (as Milton did), Baltisberger doubles down and digs deep into the darkness and deviance of a place worse than hell.
I wish I could recommend this book to everyone, but I know poetry (even the most cruel and depraved) has less wide appeal than it perhaps should. That being said, I still have to recommend it to anyone who might take the time to read it.
This is a Gospel written in blood and fire, fueled by rage and dreams.

Errata Addendum

March 2nd, 2011

The words come out all wrong, twisted on my tongue.

Things i need to say become distorted as they leave my lips.

Failure seems so certain when i can’t seem to find the words.

The right words, to change your mind, to make you stay.

Next to you i feel so mute and ineffective.

When you’re here i just can’t seem to do things right.

You make me shiver and i bite my tongue.

I keep telling myself that there will be another night.

I can see it in your eyes when everything i say is wrong.

I never want to fail you, but i can’t seem to get it right.

Frustration builds inside of me, knowing that I fall so short.

A better version of me might stand a chance where i do not.

Here with you i am so mute and ineffective.

I try so hard, but can’t seem to do things right.

Shivering, afraid, i bite my tongue.

Knowing that i can’t put it off for another night.

Further Errata

I want to burn your perfect life to the ground…

and choke on ash.

I need to sweep away the shelter where you stand…

let it collapse.

Everything you thought was right is wrong…

and I think you know.

There is only one solution I can see…

just let it go.

Stop the world.

It’s been broken all along, this cannot stand.

Tear it down.

You need to let it go, just take my hand.

I want to rip the little lies from your mind…

and watch them die.

We have to strip all these illusions from your eyes…

just know it’s right.

All the things you have, I must destroy…

please save your tears.

I dream of watching your whole life falling down…

but I’m right here.

Stop the world.

It’s been broken all along, this shouldn’t stand.

Tear it down.

We need to rebuild, just take my hand.

Errata Salvaged from My Old/Unused Blog

April 5th, 2011

I claw at the shadows cast by a me that could have been.

Desperately trying to catch up to where I know I should be now.

I see him in the mirrors when the lights are low enough.

But I can never step through that divide and into his shoes.

I’m chasing the wake left behind by a better man than me.

Will I ever catch up to where I’m supposed to be?

I see him in the reflections in your eyes sometimes.

Is it really me that you love, or is it the trace of him within?

Will there ever come a time when the two of us are the same?

I’m trying so hard, as much for you as for myself.

I don’t know if all that effort will amount to anything.

For you I keep on crawling forward.

I do everything for you.

April 6th, 2011

All my life I felt like I was waiting for something.

Like a pressure building in the back of my mind

I thought that it would be the end of the world.

I watched and waited all these years for some sort of sign.

My eyes were always searching in the wrong places.

I thought it was the end, but it was always you.

I sat here hoping to witness the world burned away.

Instead it was the end of everything I believed was true.

You brought me to my knees like no one else could.

My mind is spinning every time I look your way.

I’m broken down, confused, and scared to death.

But somehow I know that you are here to stay.

You’re the death of who I knew myself to be.

All of my illusions dissipate with you right here.

I’ve become a stranger to myself, someone new.

I am desperate to believe you, telling me to have no fear.

Salvaged Scraps of Poetry (Originally posted to MySpace)

Lapping up the taste of your secret, hidden spring.

Drinking down each drop from you until I cannot breathe.

Suffocating zealously, addicted and enthralled.

On my knees before you, I’m compelled to crawl.

Devoted adoration at the altar of your flesh.

Immerse myself in worship, praying to be blessed.

Shower down upon me the sweet rain of your desire.

Thirsting and enrapt, my tongue whispers prayers into your pyre.

Beyond my narrowed focus, the world begins to fade.

Everything beyond your presence simply drifts away.

Melting down inside of you, my old form is consumed.

Embracing what you do to me, I feel that I’m made new.

I sacrifice my flesh to you, your hunger like my own.

Intoxicated with your lust, you turn my flesh to stone.

A statue in your honor, I praise you with each breath.

Each moment spent without you is a little piece of death.

The temperature increases..

From the fire that is shared between us.

Romance or pyromania…

Arson in mind, we kindle the blaze

Feeding the flames with passion…

And begging to be consumed.

The body’s maximum threshold exceeded…

From the fever that we are feeding.

Bleeding waves of heat into space…

While still the fire keeps on spreading.

The sheets singe beneath our fevered flesh…

Sweat boils away as steam.

The flames inside keep growing…

Igniting a conflagration around us.

The swelter of our passion sets the world aflame…

Melting it down and purging impurity.

Around us, and unnoticed…

The world burns with our desire.

Breathing hot ash of the sacrifice into our lungs…

Our lust sets burning a newborn sun.

Consume…

Subsume…

Devour…pause…resume.

Delete…

Abate…

Expel…suspend…negate.

Disorder increased, below the level of awareness.

Substrate steadily dissolving; I collapse, I regress.

No warnings, no preparation, no indication.

Structure corrupted, without chance of reparation

Paradigm breaks down, fragments without fundamental use.

Within instability, no means by which uncertainty can be reduced.

Self-propelled, the process sustains itself at my expense.

Reverse engineering accelerates, beyond reach of my defense.

Manifested nightmares offer nothing less than agony.

Unknown parameters dictate the future that is left to me.

Alternative solutions lack definition, lack sufficient probability.

Confidence limits exceeded, I have exhausted my capabilities.

Aggressive dissolution of my substance and internal structure.

Hardwired methods of regulation fail, as barriers are ruptured.

 Potential resolution declines, while connectivity meets degradation.

Imminent shut down looms ahead, as I embrace cessation.

Hidden patterns realized, through careful exploitation.

Sum evaluation process, expressing data set extrapolation.

Circuit formation design, from applied biological information.

Delineated, simplified, flesh rendered into calculation.

Former limitations accepted as static, zero sum designation.

Reduction, compression, components visualized as nothing more than variable designations.

Definition, proportion, random actions becoming predicted outcomes of our calculations.

Social structures develop into comprehensive equations for analysis.

Behavioral mathematics becoming second nature in our progress.

We have come to understand that you are elements of definite value.

Actions, choices, instincts; lose mystery as the new science comes to grasp you.

Discovered patterns broken down, for further study and correlation.

Engineered approach, designed for optimum degree of manipulation.

Organized, controlled response to stimuli, without concern for outcome or success.

Competition of independent strategy, testing theory, extraction of hypothesis.

Further study dedicated to the process, calculating for divergent aberrations.

Compensation for anomalous factors introduced into the final set equations.

 Structured application, input step derivatives for maximum dispersion rate.

Underneath the words and slogans, veiled control line triggers activate.
Open source programmed components, guidance insures terminal settings achieved.

No discrepancy in process, proven laws propel stopgap relations imprinted for machines.