GDS contributor E. Kristin Anderson provides an eerie insight into her upcoming paranormal and cryptozoology inspired chapbook, A Guide for the Practical Abductee.
Believe me, I want to leave. Or I did
once when this space in my chest was simple –
an uncomplicated thrumming of loss.
I was dead; he was right there, opening
the cupboard, making tea, slipping wet
against skin. So I thought, I will open
cupboards, too. Boil water. Wail.
But the ache sucked me in, and I felt fullness
linger for little moments. My insides were real
and my feet brushed the tile and felt this floor
is cool. My hair floated as if touched by static.
Static – I am still. Standing unseen.
So I slam the cupboards. Boil water
faster, harder. Break the tea cup,
watch it crack in his hand.
And as that first drop of blood hits
the floor, I know poltergeist isn’t just
some German word we throw around
at summer camp. It’s me, him. It’s us.
I met him in winter, out behind the old high school
where clouds, gray with frost, found us both.
We were lost, and conscious of each print
we’d left in the snow.
Asleep by an old shelter
he saw me too late to lumber off with his wide gait
that you’ve seen on conspiracy theory programs.
He was real, with a musk as thick as his fur,
and hands large enough to palm my face
like a basketball.
As the snow came down — first tiny stars
and then large, white blobs that clung to my face
— I found my body huddled close to his,
those arms a soft tent.
Through the night I listened to his heavy breaths
that could have brought an avalanche upon villagers
were we closer to the mountains.
I’d like to see him again,
to dispute the evidence that I was too cold,
too sick to identify the conspicuous creature
with whom I spent a night in the woods.
I’d like to see him again, to say Hello,
to say Are you lonely?, to tell him
So am I.
Where I am bloodless
he has his own. White skin
leaves me bare and tired here .
His lips are naught, belly round, sad, smelling
of yesterday’s rot. I lay on the back porch,
sweat dripping into the sunlit planks.
This is how I am a freak. My heart beats still
and el chupacabra waits in the pasture, knows
what I have seen, still leaves me behind.
BEHIND THE POEMS
The idea of a chapbook based on my paranormal-y poems dawned on me about a year or so ago. I’d already collected quite a few, simply because of my fascination with cryptozoology, the unknown, and well, my obsessive watching of The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And, honestly, Chris Carter and Joss Whedon (creators of the aforementioned TV shows, respectively) are probably two of my biggest influences as a novelist.
I don’t think it’s pop culture that so much plays a role in my writing – it’s good writing. I think Buffy and The X-Files are really well-written shows. A good story is a good story to me, no matter the format, and that’s where I look for inspiration. Right now, I’m also really intrigued by Supernatural, created by Eric Kripke. His dialogue is inimitable, and he really knows how to up the ante. I think that poems are stories, and they need to create a dialogue with the reader. Good TV shows are a great place to learn how to do that.
Sometimes people ask me if I’m a believer. I’d like to think of myself as a Mulder/Scully hybrid. I want to believe, and every now and then I have an experience I can’t quite explain, but I’m not afraid to turn out the lights. On most nights, anyway.
E. Kristin Anderson is a Texas-based writer and co-editor of Dear Teen Me, an anthology based on the popular website. Her poetry has been published in magazines worldwide and she is an assistant YA and children’s editor at Hunger Mountain. She also features in the current print/audio edition Going Down Swinging No. 33.