I woke up this evening, not knowing where or when or who I was – like when you look in a mirror too long and the face becomes unrecognizable – the way a word transmutes to something alien when you say it too many times in a row.

I felt sick today and took a nap right after work (missing a Shakespeare class). But it was worth it. Much better (thanks for the words Karisa).

Now back to work…back to the fluid filled cauldron that is my plasma screen – keys and fingers here we go! I say work and I say words like “research.” But that’s the beauty of my program. When I say “research” I mean I’m looking through pages and dusty tombs and digital tombs for information on things like:

ASANBOSAM: A vampire found in Africa, known to the Ashanti of southern Ghana and the people from the Ivory Coast. A creature of general human shape with iron teeth and hook-like feet from which it hangs from trees in forests, scooping up and devouring travelers walking below…

MALAYSIA: And many of the blood-flesh-soul sucking things that reside in it’s ancient folklore. Things like the Bajang, Penanggalan, and Pelesit. As well as the disciplined and fearless magicians who have mastered the art of bottling up offending vampires.

PUMPKINS: Gypsies of the Balkans, particularly those of Muslim faith, thought that pumpkins, if left out later than ten days after Christmas, turn into a sort of rolling, growling vampire. Thank God for little punks and hoodlums who save our lives every year, by smashing pumpkins on Halloween.

Bits and pieces of research for a story I’m writing for class on Thursday, called “Vampire Jack.”

For a look at my other “vampire” story, my first published story, called “Varmints,” click HERE (the British webmagazine, Bloodlust UK, it’s about nine stories down the list).

And for another bit of writing, here’s a poem. I sometimes post bits of free-writing, but I don’t usually post finished works, because, technically speaking, that is considered publishing and many magazines want a first-time published story. Oh well. I won’t tell if you won’t. Some of you know this one (and are probably sick of it), but it will be knew to others. If you’re a fan of Poe or if you had a rough night at the dance clubs, then you should find something to relate too…

Poe Goes to the Single’s Bar
© Joshua Alan Doetsch

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a female at a local bar’s dance floor.
While I stood there nearly drooling, I said to myself, “Who am I fooling?”
As if any of these women would show me anything but the door.
As if they wouldn’t treat me like the rotting corpse of a bloated boar.
Still, I really wanted to score!

My heart was about to hemorrhage, my courage needed some leverage;
And so each alcoholic beverage gave me the guts to get on the dance floor.
Eagerly I spent my money; vainly I sought a honey.
I tried to be suave and funny, yet the women thought me a bore.
Except for this one chick named Lenore.
A rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore.
Safe in my little black book, forever more.

And the silken, sexy rustling, of her less than skimpy clothing,
Thrilled me – filled me with fantastic fantasies, many of which I’ve dreamt before.
So that now to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
“I’m good enough for this girl, good enough and more;
To have a romantic rendezvous with this chick named Lenore.”
Who shakes my libido’s core.

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer.
“Babe,” said I, “or madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
For you, a drink I’ll be buying, I’d really be sort of lying,
If I said I was not trying, to get to know you a little more.
So what will my dear be having?” – here I opened the wallet that I wore.
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams that I’d be unsuccessful in my dare to score.
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and with no answer, looked up and said, “Lenore?”
Her chair was empty, nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
How could she just leave me, that mean and vicious little [you know].
“Surely,” said I , “surely this has nothing to do with my own pizzazz.
My charm could not have failed me as; I am all that and much more.
‘Twas my breath and nothing more.”

I gave my doubt a dismissal, when with many a flirt and whistle,
In there stepped another lady, even more gorgeous than before;
Not the least obeisance made she; not a moment stopped or stayed she;
But with mien of lord or lady, stood upon the dance floor.
Stood and swayed in a sensual manner, dead center of the dance floor.
Looking at her was not a chore.

Then this beautiful babe beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
With slick smile presented, I sauntered out onto the dance floor.
Smoothly I popped an Altoid, so her nose wouldn’t be annoyed,
But here, my nervous mind went void, save pick-up lines we men keep in store.
“Honey,” said I, “I have lost my phone number, can I have . . . yours?”
Quoth the lady, “Nevermore.”

Startled at my courage broken by rejection so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what she utters is her only stock and store,
From a relationship with some miserable bastard, who unmerciful disaster,
Followed fast and followed faster, till the boycott of all men she swore.
For the dregs of masculinity, she would have no more.
This it is and nothing more.”

But a new girl was beguiling my sad fancy into smiling.
I was pretty sure she was over eighteen, but not much more.
I said to this girl with a perm, “Want to see my Conqueror Worm?”
It must be duly noted, to a woman, such lines spoken, are akin to declaring war.
With that the girl slapped me, and her sharp ring, my cheek did tore.
Quoth the girl, “Nevermore!”

At the bar I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing.
To the girl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
With my last dollar in reach, I bought a “sex on the beach.”
For on this cursed night, the closest thing I’d get to a score,
Was the name of this concoction’s clever metaphor.
So I drank, and drank some more.

“Bartender!” said I, “please help me, with your kind, caring empathy.
By that Heaven that bends above us – by that God we both adore,
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sexy maiden, like that one chick, Lenore.
Will I find such a sultry maiden, will I, will I ever score?”
Quoth the bartender, “Nevermore.”

And here I am, never flitting, still am sitting, still am sitting,
On the puke encrusted stool, that is bolted to bar room floor;
And my eyes have all the seeming, of a drunkard that is dreaming,
And my stomach’s inside’s teeming, has thrown my lunch on the floor.
And my ass from on that bar stool, that lies bolted to the floor,
Shall be lifted – nevermore!