“Eldritch” by Gary D. Rhodes

Nobody laughed when everybody laughed.

The top floor
was not.

Above it,
limbs,
gnarled teeth.
So much, severed.
Even the blood
drinks blood.

Below,
fertile
insanity.
Lungs slither
cross the ceiling,
breathing for
ghouls that don’t exist.

I saw myself
over and over again,
doppelgänged,
throppelgänged.
One of me
wheezed at me
from the crawlspace.

Thorn trees
tear at my mind,
half digested
awash in feral
stomach acid.

Descending
to the basement,
eyes plucked
not because of what 
I had seen,
but because of what 
I haven’t.

Nobody laughed
when
everybody laughed.

Gary D. Rhodes, Ph.D., poet and Associate Professor of Film and Mass Media at the University of Central Florida, Orlando, is the author (with William M. [Bill] Kaffenberger) of Becoming Dracula Vol. 1 (BearManor Media, 2021), Consuming Images: Film Art and the American Television Commercial (coauthored with Robert Singer, Edinburgh UP, 2020), Emerald Illusions: The Irish in Early American Cinema (IAP, 2012), The Perils of Moviegoing in America (Bloomsbury, 2012), and The Birth of the American Horror Film (Edinburgh UP, 2018), as well as the editor of such anthologies as The Films of Joseph H. Lewis (Wayne State UP, 2012), and The Films of Budd Boetticher (Edinburgh UP, 2017). Rhodes is also the writer-director of such documentary films as Lugosi: Hollywood’s Dracula (1997) and Banned in Oklahoma (2004). 

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