Witches!

I miss you, man
Like Cobain, I’m surprised to hear you’re still alive
Still, you talked more when you were sealed in that tomb
And I remember how we would blow shit up
On the banks of that old river
Hunting demons, and staying in drunk
Instead of going to the prom
Your mother’s masks
And that damp cave you used to dwell in
These hands are getting worn now
And I miss you, man
Let’s go back home

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Palm Reader

Fretful since the day we met
Strung up with strands of blonde hair
Just hanging around

Palm reader, you lied 
When you said that the One would come along
Palm reader, you lied
You were staring right at my love life 

Maybe we should just fake our own deaths
It’s much too cold waiting in the wings

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Illegal Firearms

City lights, beneath a burning skyline
Bums and taxi-cabs crawl on by
Left in the bar, lipstick note scrawled on a napkin
I should have washed my hands of her months ago
But for all my education, I never seem to fucking learn
Cross my heart and the choked street
The end is nigh

Chain-smoking Parliaments and making plans
Cable channel porn playing from the den
This time tomorrow night
Our rendezvous will be well under way

There’s always time for a lengthy dip in the local quarry
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Reciting Shakespeare with the Dead


From the pages of celebrated literary magazine Danse Macabre comes RECITING SHAKESPEARE WITH THE DEAD a collection of haunting prose and poetry from Bram Stoker Award nominated writer Benjamin Blake. RECITING SHAKESPEARE is a phantasmagoric carnival that shape-shifts across the darkest recesses of the mind and heart. Blake’s shadow-strewn collection will whisper sweet and sanguinary nothings in a voice like fall leaves rustling through half-forgotten cemeteries at midnight.
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The Sorrows of Life

This city's thirst for blood is insatiable
I can feel it seeping from the cracks in the pavement
Flowing from the sewer grates in clouds of crimson mist
It works its way into our troubled hearts
And draws us to the alter

The early evening light
Bleeds through stained glass saints
And falls upon upturned wrists
A knife, handle fashioned from female bone
Feels right in your left hand
Southpaw – do your worst
To keep the devil happy

In that churchyard
Tombs stretch out for miles
You’re intimate with every cadaver
Can trace their history to the dark ages
When this place was nothing but a clearing in the forest
A stone circle in the fire’s orange glare
Our curse was born in this primeval time

Making sure the sorrows of life never end



From Reciting Shakespeare with the Dead, published by Hammer & Anvil Books, and available from Amazon.
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The Midnight Liner

Ice frozen time
Thawed as the clock strikes 0
A new dawn reoccurring in the dark
Inevitable
A meteor shower
Raining on a barren landscape
(the moon keeps this heart afloat)
(as it commands the endless tide)

And each day I drown
Beneath murky waves
While trying to find Atlantis 



From Reciting Shakespeare with the Dead, published by Hammer & Anvil Books, and available from Amazon.


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Claw-Foot Tub

Run the faucet
Light several vanilla scented candles - bath salts and bubbles are all ready to go
Rose pattern paper peeling from years of steam and heat
Her slip falls to the tiled floor
Before she steps in

Lost all track of time
A slight movement causes the water to lap at porcelain cliffs like minute waves
Was that a sound from the other side of the door?
Upon the wall the roses seem to be dying
The candles flicker and spit
Suddenly she realizes
The water is much deeper than it should be

And the color’s all wrong



From Reciting Shakespeare with the Dead, published by Hammer & Anvil Books, and available from Amazon. 

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Sanguinary

These frequent attempts on my life
Have left me worn right down
In and out of hiding
Like a highly-strung cat
Forever casting looks over my left shoulder
Waiting for the inevitable end

Pacing back and forth
In a roach-infested safe house
Drain another whiskey glass
and pour another
Where is she now?
Even if I knew her number
I wouldn’t dare make the call

Maybe the answer lies within the .38
Resting upon the kitchen table
Beside the crammed and spilling ashtray
Which is worse – the wait, or the execution?
And will either change what comes after?
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They'll Never Take Me Alive

Pressed against a crumbling stone wall
The desert heat’s hard and unforgiving
Clutching the sawn-off in a death-grip with blood-stained hands
As sweat trickles down my dirty forehead
And falls to the warm barrel 
Spent shells dance in slow motion
The Sheriff’s cries of closing in draw near
I got a gift with his name on it
Encased in card and packed with powder
The bastard will bleed like a pig with its throat cut
I’ll see to that
Mother Mary, shield your eyes
They’ll never take me alive
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Not Where the Answer Lies

Picture perfect smile
Wrapped around pearly whites
Steps out the front door
And dances to the letterbox
‘Hello, Postman, how do you do?’
Collects and twirls
A carousel of white polka dots
Candy striped legs
That leaves you speechless and stunned

Shiny new toaster
Spitting strawberry Pop-Tarts
Yours – you contemplate sharing a bath
And that’s the very difference
No matter how inviting
It’s not where the answer lies
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Zoltar Speaks

Panicked nightmare dreaming
Rushing over the canal bridges of Venice
The Ferris wheel waits
Sleeping and dead still
It's been such a long time coming

I grabbed my hat
And crushed a penny
An unfortunate fortune
Was spat into the palm of my hand

A red rented bike
I pedaled so fast
Past film crews and bums
To the sand-strewn ruins
Of a modern relic
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Post-War America

I lost part of myself
In midnight trenches
With barbed-wire and shots fired
Blood-spilt with no end in sight
The sun sunk so deep
That I thought I may never see it rise again

My broken body was found
By a nurse with a foreign accent
And it took only one touch
Of her slender hand upon my cheek
To bring me back to life
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1897

Through alleyways and boneyards
The wind whispers your name
I have traveled over tumultuous oceans
In an oak box full of soil
Time has played servant to this very moment
The blood that flows through those veins
Has been bled out once before
Such a long, long time ago

Silhouette stalks the twisting hallways of her house
Shadow-clawed fingers search for a pulse
Thy heart doth beat
The war-drum of a forgotten battle
Centuries lost in the void of despair
This desiccated corpse
Is once more sanguinated
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Southpaw Nights



My new poetry and prose collection, Southpaw Nights, is out now in paperback and for Kindle via Amazon. Published by James Ward Kirk Fiction. 



"Given the opportunity to write an introduction to this fantastic collection of poetry and prose, I jumped at the chance. Every once and awhile you will read something that lingers with you – creeps into your sub-consciousness and burrows in deep. And so it is with Benjamin Blake’s new collection, ‘Southpaw Nights.’ Blake’s words pulse in the limelight, at times surreal and evocative – echoes of Poe and Baudelaire combine with a gothic sensibility, cool and ominous, straight from the backwoods of New Zealand’s dark heart. A sense of malaise and the foreboding supernatural nature of his words, create a fictional world stitched together like a promethean monster. This collection is an eclectic miscellany that is a fine introduction to new readers of Blake’s prose and poetry and a welcome addition to his growing oeuvre. The impressionistic shorter prose pieces are like photographic snapshots of the inner workings of a dark mind. Strong and graphic descriptive passages flow easily, invoking scenes of disquieting horror; as poetic as they are powerful, the words will resonate with the reader long after the last page is turned. The sign of a good poet and storyteller is that their words impact upon the mind of the reader – will make the reader think of things that they would not normally think of, indeed, that they might not necessarily want to think of! Blake has the uncanny ability to confront with his words, not only subtly but also in a proficient manner befitting a writer older than his years.
Blake’s collection will take you on a back-road journey to all the dark corners of the globe. Serial Killers, ghosts, misfits, monsters, and specters of all sorts are your guides along the way. Be prepared to traverse some giddy heights and some equally terrifying abyssal lows, as the purgatorial world that sits between is revealed in all its hellish glory. The horror that Blake captures with his words is primarily psychological with supernatural overtones, but the horror he writes about also confronts the mundane of urban existence. In this surreal pop landscape we call modernity, Blake’s work anchors the reader firmly to the page with his grim portrayals of a nightmarish world. Don’t be afraid to read this collection; instead, relish the opportunity to confront your own fears and nightmares by proxy, from the safety and comfort of your favorite reading chair."
 

- William Cook, author of Blood Related


"Benjamin Blake relishes funereal lyricism with a spice of surrealism."
~ Ramsey Campbell




'Benjamin Blake brings an exciting new voice to verse.'
~ Jeani Rector, Editor, The Horror Zine



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Inverted - An Introduction of Sorts (from Southpaw Nights)

I awoke, cold and naked in my bed.
The winter air blew through the open window; ruffling the curtains and making my flesh break out in goose flesh. I pulled on the previous night’s clothes, and made my way into the kitchen. I couldn’t remember much of what had happened in the course of the past six hours, but soon realized that I had underestimated the thing’s strength. All of the crucifixes in the house had been inverted; incoherent messages were scrawled on the walls, in what looked like red crayon - names and places I didn’t recognize, alongside crudely drawn children and demons. Was it still correct to think that this was the work of another creature? Some fictional boogeyman that came in the night? Or was it all in my head? Had I somehow done all this while I was drunk out of my mind? I didn’t want to believe the latter, but the thought could hold a horrible truth.
I guess only time would tell, and the best I could do was to hope that things wouldn’t get any worse than they already had.
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The Severed Arm of the Law (an Excerpt from Southpaw Nights)


They were dead. All of them. My wife, my babies. Left spent and bled out, forsaken. 
I pull out the little Ziploc bag from the other jacket pocket, along with a pocket knife that I purchased when I got the jacket. Using the plastic fast-food joint spork that I keep in the bag with the coke, I shovel a little out onto the blade of the knife. Rummaging through my wallet one-handed, I manage to find a now-cancelled credit card. I use this to push the powder into a rough line. I take a crumpled dollar bill from my jeans, do my best to roll it into a straw. Then I do the line. It feels good. 
You see, I hunted down the piece of shit that took my family away from me. Bound and gagged him, threw him in the trunk. He was a known rapist. Had a list of felonies about a mile long. Hell knows why he was even out on the street, but had taken it to the next level. I’ve since learnt that nothing is just in this sickening world. I drove to some buttfuck area upstate. Parked in a deserted park. And blew his brains out with my shotgun. 

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Death is a Midnight Stallion (from Southpaw Nights)


Darkened house
Sometime after midnight
The sound of hooves 
Thundering across the front lawn
Pulls you from your reverie
You rise from your desk
The ice rattling in your whiskey glass 
And pull the curtain aside
From the second-story study window

There, by your dead mother’s bird bath
Stands a jet black stallion
With eyes of burning coal
The beast neighs 
Rearing up on hind legs
Before galloping into the night

And in the wake of its hooves
Lay little horseshoes of flame
That flicker, then fade
As you wait for the telephone to ring 

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The Plight of Man


This atavistic rift in my nature 
Creeps and punches without warning
And renders one more beast than man

Lycanthrope, prowling the secluded woodlands
The faint scent of blood
Receipted by nostrils flared
The taste of flesh
Upon this salivating tongue
Somewhere, a handmaiden cries out in pain

Waking to stained hands 
And a belly full of rocks
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Death Knell


The tolling of bells
Sounding out across this deserted town
Standing frozen in the middle of the dust-swept street
A hunched shadow moves silent across a rooftop 
A lonesome crow croaks out a drawn-out syllable 
Before taking to the overcast skies

I can hear them approaching from the north side
A blood-thirsty horde
Intent on devouring my insides 
For the florid blood that flows in these veins

But who is the real monster?
The end is not nigh 
It is here
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