Archive for September, 2015

Lazaro Rising (Part V)

Posted in Aztec Mythology, cihuateteo, La Santa Muerte, Latino Horror, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 25, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas
Zeke felt a burning sensation quickly heat up his finger, as if a tiny brand had been placed upon it, which pulled him out of his thoughts. Realizing it was the sun’s oppressive rays beaming through the window, he shook his hand to cool it off, and adjusted his visor to block the offensive orb.
He had been “zoning out”, as he stared uneasily at a golden eagle honing in on its prey. Although no one had a clue as to what they’d done the day before, and they had been careful to not leave any tell-tale signs behind, he still felt like a hunted man. He had been distracted since the previous night and almost lost control of their van on the wet drive back to Phoenix from Helldorado, during an unexpected cloudburst, when a deer jumped into the road nearly causing him to veer dangerously close to the railing and go off the side of the mountain.
In Helldorado they’d trolled through a neighborhood street fair, trying to score some weed, but were told that the local supplier and his crew were believed to have fallen ill of a local shaman and disappeared the week before. Since the fair had drawn a significant crowd, they decided to stick around and try their luck finding an alternate supplier, or maybe some yokel whom they could rough up and steal his cash and stash.
Unfortunately, they didn’t find what they were looking for, but instead found a wizened old native man with gray stringy hair, and about three teeth left in his head, whose wrinkly brown face reminded Zeke of those creepy dolls with heads made out of dried  apples. He had a trained Capuchin monkey, which he called “Mono” that selected fortunes from a little box which looked like a miniature casket. Zeke didn’t want to have anything to do with them, but Bubba thought the monkey looked hilarious  with it’s doll-sized brocade vest and tutu skirt fanning out from its tiny waist, hopping about and handing people their fortunes.
Bubba gave the creature a dollar, which it placed in the arthritic hands of the old man who then told Mono to select a fortune, which it did, and handed to Bubba. The fortune read, “A secret between two is God’s secret; a secret between three is known to all.” Bubba slipped his sausage fingers under his sweat-stained cap to scratch his clammy noggin as he puzzled for a moment. Then, shoving the fortune deep into his pants pocket, he said “Aww shit, that don’t mean nuthin’; still, it was worth a dollar just to see that li’l Mono hoppin’ around and fetchin’ those little rolled up papers and handin’ them out like li’l diplomas. Heh heh.”
Zeke didn’t laugh. He wasn’t sure exactly what was going to happen, but he saw the fortune as an ill omen, as he did everything he’d laid his squinty eyes on  since they’d planted those beaners in the ground.
Back in Phoenix, Maryflor listened closely as Féretrina laid out her plan of vengeance. “The Queen of Mictlan has helpers who do her bidding in our world. Entities, which may move about in certain quarters and have intercourse within the realm of the living.”
“You mean they have sex; how does that help me?” retorted Maryflor as she scrunched up her nose in distaste at the notion.
“No sister, you do not comprehend me. They may interact with living beings and influence them, and…yes, even lie with them if that is what is required. More importantly, as in the case with these blackguards, they can lure them to a place of our choosing, where we may deal with them as we please.”
“Will they kill them too?” Maryflor asked bluntly, in a voice sorely lacking in sympathy.
“Perhaps,” Féretrina responded, calmly “if that is what you wish them to do.”
“I do not.”
“Do you then wish for them to capture the men and turn them in to the authorities?” Féretrina asked coyly, knowing the response her words would elicit.
“No, I wish for them to capture them and bring them to me, so that I might kill them myself.”
“I commend you for your fearlessness and for the justice you wish to mete out for your brother’s sake, but this is not a game. Once there is blood on your hands it is impossible to wash it off, and even if your intended victims are guilty of the heinous crimes you know them to have perpetrated, the memory of the act may still haunt you to the end of your days.”
“Then I at least want to see them die!” Maryflor shouted.
“Ah, now that I can promise!”
“Just who are these…entities?”
“The Divine Women, they are affiliates of Cihuacoatl, the goddess of motherhood, and are handmaidens of the moon deities Tezcatlipotca and Tlazolteotl. They are the spirits of women whom have died in childbirth, which the ancient Aztec people saw as a sort of battle, so they are honored as fallen warriors. They are fierce adversaries with frightening attributes, but can also present themselves in enticing raiment and are effective at the art of seduction. They are known collectively as the cihuateteo.”

Casanegra Poetry Cycle

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas
Casanegra Entertainment Logo.

Casanegra Entertainment Logo.

Sometime around 2006, I was turned on to the Casanegra DVD reissues of remaster and restored prints of films from the Golden Age of Mexican Horror. These movies were inspired by the success of the Universal Monster movies and have a similar look to them, only with a distinctly Mexican vibe. Before the genre was inundated with monster rallies and luchadores, they produced some really great Gothic Horrors using the local lore. Alongside  vampires and werewolves were La Llorona, brujas, and the Aztec Mummy.

“La Maldicion de la Llorona” (a/k/a The Curse of the Crying Woman”), “El Espejo de la Bruja” (a/k/a “The Witch’s Mirror”), “El Baron del Terror” (a/k/a “Brainiac”), etc., I loved these films, and looked forward to subsequent releases as they were announced in the horror trade magazines. Ultimately, however, they went belly up and couldn’t find a backer to save them. The worst part is that they were on the verge of releasing a new batch of titles, which I had been dying to see, but they were never released.

Feeling a void in my heart for this distinctly Latin style of Gothic Tale, I was inspired to write my own stories and poetry to fill the void and make tribute to these classic films. One of the first attempts was what I provisionally titled my “Southwestern Gothic Tale”. I got about a third of the way through and got bogged down with direction and it languished for years. Like my story “Thalia”, I decided to write poems about the characters to solidify in my mind their respective traits and motivations. What follows are links to the poems I wrote about the three main characters, Altagracia (our doomed heroine), her aunt Lupe (the sympathetic monster), and Dimas Akelarre (the true villain of the tale). I have since decided to call the story “Casanegra” in honor of it’s inspiration, and these are the poems it has birthed:

Altagracia’s Lament:


Dimas Akelarre ;

Below are links to excerpts of the original tale which I have posted on this blog:

Southwestern Gothic Tale Excerpt:

Southwestern Gothic Tale Part 2:

Southwestern Gothic Tale Part 3:

Dimas Akelarre

Posted in Black Light Verse, Dimas Akelarre, Gothic Poetry, Poetry, Weird Poetry with tags , , , on September 22, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Dimas Akelarre is a swart-hearted man, who plies his craft by night

Worshipping the Black Goat, tributary salute: osculum infame

Piping on his gaita a lusty sarabande a-wash in pale moonlight

Misdirecting tyros down a doom-laden route, itinere flammae

Like blissful dervishes they whirl across the veil to atramentous realms

Tenanted by creatures: sightless, wan, and grasping, coveting the quick souls

Careening through Hell-fire, on a tour through Sheol, with Dimas at the helm

Laughing as they wither, screaming when not gasping, upon a track of coals

Willfully satanic, he walks the Left-Hand Path in fiendish company

Tricksters and despoilers inveigling mankind to renounce the daylight

Lucifuge Rofocale and the Great Black He-Goat round out his coterie

Misanthropic monsters intent to undermine and to the world benight

His evil upas trills throughout the centuries tainting whither it flows

How far its tendrils reach to spread their hellish blight only the Darkness knows

“El Aquelarre” (1797-1798) by Francisco de Goya. Essentially, “Black Mass”, “Akelarre” is the Basque spelling, and seemed an appropriate appellation for this sinister character.

Altagracia’s Lament

Posted in Casanegra Poetry Cycle, Gothic Poetry, Poetry, tlahuelpuchi, Weird Poetry with tags , , , , on September 22, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Amidst the Arizona Red Rocks within her cavern lair
Altagracia plays a tune into the midnight air
Tapping doleful melodies that echo through the night
With velvet mallets on an organ made from stalagmites

Woefully, she keens her sorrow into the desert night
As the victor scorpion-mouse peeps his kettle-cry rite
Night-blooming flowers unfurl buds in welcoming fashion
For the Lesser Long-nosed Bats to lap their nectar with passion

Ruefully she dreams of times before the bloodlust came
The family curse which took her tía, and drove Lupe insane
Forcing her monthly, to transform and shed her human skin
For animal pelts and raven’s wings, steeped in blood and sin

Altagracia could not allow this curse to carry on
And so she chose to kill her aunt, nescient of what would come
By taking the life of her aunt, she hoped more lives to save
But with the best of intentions the road to Hell is paved

The tlahuelpuchi can’t be slain by one who shares her line
The curse just passes to the kin whom perpetrate the crime
By killing Lupe, Grace took on her sanguinary bane
As well as her occult powers, and transfiguring frame

A vegetarian at heart, she cannot brook the thirst
For the blood of innocents, with which she has been cursed
And fight the craving as she might she cannot shirk her fate
But rather acquiesce and drink until the thirst abates

And so she bays unto the moon, coyotes take her cue
Joining in her lamentation, with guilt and gore imbrued
Knowing that her isolation will no way stay the curse
From finding another victim with which to slake her thirst

Wiping up tears with livid hands her ululations spent
She feels the change about to break as she catches a scent
Her body writhes, her structure pops the fur begins to spread
She is now crib death incarnate which newborn mothers dread

One of the many faces of the tlahuelpuchi. (Figure by Caronte Lab:

One of the many faces of the tlahuelpuchi. (Figure by Caronte Lab:

Fundraiser for “Black Hymeneal”

Posted in Fundraisers, Gothic Poetry, Indiegogo, Poetry, Self Publishing with tags , , , , , , on September 21, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

It’s finally started! The fundraiser for my upcoming collection of poetry, “Black Hymeneal” has begun and you too can contribute! Follow the link below and it will take you to my pitch video and all of the pertinent information on how to contribute to the publication of this book.

Each book will be a hardcover, with a full color dust jacket, and will be fully illustrated throughout by artist Michele Bledsoe.

Work in Progress: the portrait of me by Michele Bledsoe, which will be used for the cover of the book.

Work in Progress: the portrait of me by Michele Bledsoe, which will be used for the cover of the book.

Poems featured in the book are as follows:

01) Manurog

02) My Friend Boris

03) Gargoyle

04) Manqueller Manque

05) Skull in an Ice Cream Cone

06) Thalia

07) Threnody

08) The Golem of Prague

09) Flower of Evil

10) Night Hag

11) Witch’s Tit

12) Sor Maria and the Devil, Luzbel

13) Black Hymeneal

Work in progress: some of the images which will be detailed and used to illustrate the book. Images featured here are for Black Hymeneal, Skull in an Ice Cream Cone, Gargoyle, and Manurog.

Work in progress: some of the images which will be detailed and used to illustrate the book. Images featured here are for Black Hymeneal, Skull in an Ice Cream Cone, Gargoyle, and Manurog.


We have been allotted 40 days in which to raise this money and have only 35 days left as of this posting. Remember, no contribution is too small, and even $5 contributions can qualify you for one of our many cool perks; so, reserve your copy today!


Posted in Casanegra Poetry Cycle, Gothic Poetry, Latino Goth, Latino Horror, Lupe, Poetry, tlahuelpuchi, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 21, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas
Internet image of a scrying mirror with a reflected candle.

Internet image of a scrying mirror with a reflected candle.

Lupe scries the mirror black, her grim purpose to divine

The one who’ll end her bloody spree and take her place, in time

Her trance begun, the vision starts, she sees her rival clear

The revelation pierces through her heart just like a spear

Her sister has a single child, a daughter they call Grace

A troubled girl, but pure of heart, with an angelic face

Childless Lupe hoped to take her niece under her crape wing

And take on her apprenticeship to teach the way of things

But now it seems this clever girl whom she has warmed to know

Shall mete her retribution like a Fury from below

Does she know, this hapless child who loves her tía so well

She’ll be the one to bring her down, then damn herself to Hell

Are the bodeful images manifesting on the glass

Shadows of unfounded fears, or portents of doom to pass?

For now Lupe shall watch and wait, to see what will transpire

And judge how much time she’s left ere leaping through the fire

Story-time 08-23-15

Posted in children's picture books, Drew Daywalt, Harper Collins Publishers, Oliver Jeffers, story-time, The Day the Crayons Came Home, The Day the Crayons Quit with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

The Sunday before last I had the pleasure of being able to host the children’s story-time hour at the bookstore where I work. This was not the first time I had done this, but it was the more successful of the two sessions I have hosted. Previously, I read to two staff members, since no children showed up, but this time there was a small crowd, which fluctuated during the allotted hour.

Although some of you might think me an odd choice for a host of a children’s event, I had requested to be there, since I felt so strongly about the featured books, both by author Drew Daywalt. The books in question are “The Day the Crayons Quit”, and “The Day the Crayons Came Home”; cute, imaginative and fun stories, which teach responsibility, without being heavy handed. What first drew my attention to the books were the charming illustrations by artist Oliver Jeffers; once I picked it up though, I found the story to be just as delightful.  I love these books and thought they were  clever and original, and a good step or two above the usual twaddle the kids are usually fed at these events.

“The Day the Crayons Quit” (Harper Collins, 2013).

When the first book came out I asked to host the Story-time but no kids showed up. When the sequel arrived, however, there was a little more hoopla about it since the success of the first book, so it drew a small crowd. The kids were excited and were familiar with the original book as well as the new one. They asked me questions, made comments throughout the course of the reading, and participated in the book related activities (coloring pages, connect the dot puzzles, etc). I opened the hour with the new book, then read the original, followed by a reprise of the new book. When the crowd had thinned out a bit, I traded reading duties with a boy from one of our regular customer’s family. I would read a page, then he would read the next. My colleague, Maureen, who took the photos of the event, even joined in for a bit as well.

“The Day the Crayons Came Home” (Harper Collins, 2015).

I had a great time and the kids did too. Their parents seemed pleased at seeing their children interacting with me and enjoying the books, but little did they know that only a few nights prior, their host was regaling quite a different audience with tales of Cosmic Horror  and apocalyptic doom at the H.P. Lovecraft Birthday Party.

For more information on the books, including a brief synopsis of their respective plots, click on this link to the author’s page on the Harper Collins website:

Here are a selection of photos from the event. I have only posted photos of me out of respect for the privacy of the families who attended the event.

Me, holding the new book up for all to see.

Me, holding the new book up for all to see.

Showing the kids an illustration.

Showing the kids an illustration.



The glow-in-the-dark page!

The glow-in-the-dark page!

Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Witchcraft of Ulua”

Posted in August Derleth, Clark Ashton Smith, Necronomicon Press, The Mother of Toads, The Unexpurgated Clark Ashton Smith, The Witchcraft of Ulua, Weird Tales, Witchcraft Stories with tags , , , , , , , on September 2, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Having enjoyed so much re-visiting my Necronomicon Press chapbook of “Mother of Toads”, from their “Unexpurgated Clark Ashton Smith” series, I decided to re-read “The Witchcraft of Ulua”, which first appeared in a slightly watered down version in the February 1934 edition of Weird Tales.

Weird Tales, February 1934.

Weird Tales, February 1934.

Apparently, as in the case of “Mother of Toads”, Smith had shopped it around, but was rejected because of its erotic overtones. Smith balked at the notion and is quoted in the forward to the chapbook as having said in a letter to August Derleth:

“As to the so-called sexiness, it would not interest me to write a story dealing with anything so banal, hackneyed, and limited as this type of theme is likely to be. Too many writers are doing it to death at the present time; I have ended [up] by revolting literarily against the whole business, and am prepared to maintain that a little Victorian reticence, combined with Puritan restraint, would harm nobody.” (The Witchcraft of Ulua, The Unexpurgated Clark Ashton Smith, 1988, Necronomicon Press)

"The Witchcraft of Ulua", by Clark Ashton Smith, 1988, Necronomicon Press.

“The Witchcraft of Ulua”, by Clark Ashton Smith, 1988, Necronomicon Press.

The scene which seemed to upset everyone at the time is the seduction scene where our young hero, Amalzain, a studious young man who has been offered the job of cup-bearer to the infamous King Famorgh, is tempted by the petite but exquisite nymphet, Princess Ulua. I must say, that even in it’s unexpurgated version, this all seems to be much ado about nothing. One night, during his downtime from his service to the king, Amalzain is snatched up and away from his studies by a “huge negress” and is carried to Ulua’s lair where…

“Angry, and full of discomfiture, he found himself deposited in a chamber hung with shameless designs, where, amid the fuming of aphrodisiac vapours, the Princess regarded him with amorous gravity from a couch of fire-bright scarlet. She was small as a woman of the elf-folk, and voluptuous as a coiled lamia. The incense floated about her like sinuous veils.” (The Witchcraft of Ulua, The Unexpurgated Clark Ashton Smith, 1988, Necronomicon Press)

Perhaps one might infer from the reference to her size that she might have been a bit on the young side, but this does not seem to be what publishers were griping about. At any rate, all she does at this point is tell him that there is more to life than musty old books and asks him if he is not attracted to her. Having been given a charm previously in the story by Sabmon the anchorite (a hermit, to us lay-folk) to ward off evil and protect him against Ulua’s wiles, he responds in the negative, which sets her off. She tells him he can go, but assures him he’ll be back before long, of his own accord. When he does not in fact return, the aforementioned witchcraft really begins to manifest as he is haunted by the image of Ulua. She is always on his mind, she always seems to appear everywhere he goes, and he feels her presence constantly. When even this fails to inspire his interest, the enchantment gets nasty and Amalzain begins to see rotting corpses in his bed and nasty specters at every turn. Fearing what may come next, he asks Ulua’s father, the King Famorgh, for permission to take a few days leave. Famorgh being pleased with the service the young man has done for him as a cup-bearer, and seeing his wan complexion (from lack of sleep) grants him leave.

Once back home, he visits Sabmon again who helps rid him of the curse and rid the world of the debauched King and his temptress daughter, along with their acolytes. If anything, the tale is a little moralistic in it’s association of libertine lifestyles with evil. Yes, Ulua did try to seduce him with magic when Amalzain wouldn’t succumb to her charms, but what if one were to take the fantasy element out and just make it about a popular woman who is intrigued by a suitor she cannot have, so she indulges in some underhanded tactics to sway him; should she suffer the ultimate punishment for this? Her biggest crime is that she was free with her charms, and her father was a lush who was usually too drunk to enjoy the orgies her threw. They weren’t torturing or murdering anyone, and I think their punishment was a bit extreme. Even so, the story was told, as usual, in beautifully wrought prose with evocative imagery.