Friday, December 17, 2010

Xmas Zombie Poem

Here's my Xmas zombie poem, which also prominently features my favorite mirror witch, Bloody Mary (she's also a major player in my upcoming book, Vampire Bridegroom).  I wrote this poem in fall of 2005 and recently revised it for my book, Pop-Up Book of Death.  I think I was feeling very apocalyptic about Xmas at the time--partly because of retail burnout (I worked in a bookstore) and partly because of abusing credit cards to pay for Xmas gifts, which always seemed a little self-destructive.  I loved the idea of zombie carolers, which seemed like a wonderful nightmare image, an idea which has gained prominence lately with a zombie book of beloved Xmas carols.  I also loved the idea of zombies wearing those cheesy baseball jerseys and caps that I always wore as a kid in little league baseball (a traumatic experience).  I wove in an urban legend subtext, something we were studying and writing papers about in the English 101 class I was teaching at the time--urban legends, especially the horror legends, are a pet obsession of mine.  I worked briefly for a plumber, always a source of strange stories (and it was honestly also a traumatic experience), so the persona of this poem is like my plumber "shadow self."  I've always been fascinated with bomb shelters, especially after seeing that episode of the Twilight Zone when the entire neighborhood is trying to crowd into one bomb shelter.  This poem is also one of my very first attempts at combining horror elements with a surreal landscape that is characterized by very dark humor.  I've always thought this poem would make a great little comic book short.  I hope you enjoy this poem.  

Here it is:

Zombie Horde

It's Xmas Eve and
the zombie horde gathers
like every Tuesday
for brains in my back yard
and they leave the gate unlatched again
for my dog to run away

and Bloody Mary comes through the portal
of the bathroom mirror without any eponymous chanting
and I give her a sponge bath in the tub
and we discuss the brainwash vanities of the
cosmetics industry

and my plumbing shop
sponsored the zombie horde again this year
like a little league team
with adjustable snap ball caps and
fiery-sleeved jerseys

and all of my certified callused plumbers write poetry
unplug horrifying obstructions
like Mary's bandages and cigarette butts
and numerous varieties of rejected pets
that form colonies in the sewers

so merry Xmas sings the zombie horde
and its just another day closer to nuclear holocaust
and my bomb shelter now holds enough DVDs to reach
my 70th birthday
and I smashed all the bathroom mirrors
down below
and if my dog comes home I'll
never hear the scratching through the concrete
so its merry Xmas at the end of the world
and if I grow old I will never see

from Chad Helder's Pop-Up Book of Death