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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