When I commenced writing fiction with serious intent, after some years out of action (my previous labors being non-fiction, academic stuff), I began re-acquainting myself with literary art by experimenting with poetry. I wrote a lot of it in a short space of time, often only playing around, at length graduating back to the short story, which is my true love. Here are ninety-nine poems, mostly narrative, with a single story appended, itself containing much poetry. The volume is aptly titled. The chief interest in much of this lies in the number of themes, first introduced here, which later made their way into the better developed prose offerings.

You Will Know Us

Ruby Red

In the Land of Dragons

The Feast of San Martin

The Dweller Within the Tomb

The City of Dyrezan
This poem contains the first mention of the lost city of Dyrezan, which much later became the basis of a major series of stories, as well as numerous other poems.

She Came Back

The New Tenants

On a Hill Near Sedona
This is my first, casual, reference to Sedona, Arizona, a town-- actually a region-- which has loomed large in my work.

Halloween Love Poem

The Evil Bookshop

Graveyard Dance

The Gods at Play

The Vampire Seeker

Last Night In Cottonwood
Cottonwood is another Arizona town, rather nondescript, but for years I stayed there during my travels, so it stuck in my mind.

I'll Laugh Over Dinner

A Thanksgiving Feast

The Thing In the Oven

A Christmas Surprise

The Day After Thanksgiving

Reasoning With the Terrorist

The Dream of Assadi bin Fouda

Mr. Arafat

The Space Brothers

We Didn't Know

Kraul Awakens

The Grave of Jacob Bleek
This poem contains the first mention of the sorcerer Jacob Bleek, who appeared in a swarm of poetry before he ever set foot in prose. His name is inescapable on this page.

The Statement of Jacob Bleek

The Secret of Jacob Bleek

The Discovery of Jacob Bleek

The Joy of Jacob Bleek

The Tower of Jacob Bleek

The Treasure of Jacob Bleek

The Friends of Jacob Bleek

The Laughter of Jacob Bleek

In a Darkling Wood

The Wilson House
This poem initiates a theme which, six years later, led to the short story, "The House On the Hill of Stars". That tale is largely a composite of several pieces found in this volume; this one, "The Stones of Power", "The Wilson Disappearance", and "The Hill of Stars". The Wilson House and its gloomy history has a real world basis, interesting if rather more prosaic, in the Frye House, located at Red Rock State Park near Sedona.

The Stones of Power

The Ghost of Jacob Bleek

The Black Book of Jacob Bleek
This is the first mention of the sorcerer Bleek's forbidden tome, which appears or is referenced in many a tale, including several that have nothing to do with Bleek himself.

The Wickenburg Tragedy
This and the following poem are set in the vicinity of picturesque Wickenburg, AZ, a town with lots of Old West lore and atmosphere. The Hassayampa River, flowing through town, runs underground for much of its length; "the strange lost river".

The Sand Dwellers

The Closing of the Jerome Mine
This refers to the gigantic copper mine of Jerome, AZ, another wonderful town, this one overflowing with historical color.

The Statement of Jonathan Paully
Although in this one he tells us he works at the Jerome mine, Paully later appears in Wickenburg in the short story, "The Legend of the Vulture Mine".

The Answer of Xenophor
This is set in the prehistoric Tuzigoot ruins of Arizona's Verde Valley. The poem also incorporates the first mention of the dread god Xenophor, the uncaring "Creator and Destroyer", who becomes a staple of later works.

The Tale of Shaman Yotipai
Yotipai, the Red Indian wise man, occasionally referred to as Tonipah, appears in several later stories, usually as a source of unusual information.

The Wilson Disappearance

The Hill of Stars

The Fable of the Trickster Coyote

Zero Day

The City of Burning Gold


She Didn't Leave Me

The Island In the Swamp
Here begins the presentation of the hideous conception of Blug, "Lord of Decay", the most loathsome idea I ever concocted. He lent himself oddly well to poetry, eventually becoming the focus of some short stories.

The God of the Swamp

The Face In the Thicket

The Swamp Lord

The Offering to Blug

The Voice of Blug

The Education of Jacob Bleek

The Love of Jacob Bleek

The Worshippers of the Swamp God

The Testing of Jacob Bleek

The House of Jacob Bleek

The Investigation of Jacob Bleek

The Ritual of the Black Swamp

The Promise of Blug

The Overgaard Horror
Overgaard is a little AZ town out in the woods up on the Mogollon Rim. It burned down in the big fire a few years ago, but prior to that it was just a place I often passed through. I really like the name.

The Overgaard Secret

The Overgaard Revelation

The Overgaard Abyss

The Pageant In Payson
Payson is another pretty AZ town up on the Rim, surrounded by forest.

Queer Times In Snowflake
Snowflake is a beautiful, historic Mormon town in northern AZ, quite charming, little akin to the place this poem describes.

Fire Over Payson


Under the Rim
Set in the murky forests beneath the Mogollon Rim, I first experimented here with combinations of poetry and prose, attempting to create alternating rhythms that tell a tale. I toyed with this idea for some time, culminating in the short story "Sedona".

Never Open That Door

The Prayer to Xenophor

The Prayer to Blug

The Trickster Coyote Speaks

The Angel of Blug

The Contempt of Jacob Bleek

The Minions of the Swamp God

The Music of Jacob Bleek

The Music From the Swamp

The Painting Under the Ruins
This one is set in the prehistoric ruins of Wupatki in northern AZ.

The Melody of Jacob Bleek

The Insects of Antikon

Men of Mud

The Journey of Jacob Bleek

The Countess Kronnberg
The lovely but lethal Countess represents one of my few forays into vampiric lore. Much later she turns up as the centerpiece of a chapter in my novel, The Journey of Jacob Bleek.

Dregs of Ancient Times
Set on the outskirts of the Verde Valley in AZ, the "prehistoric battlement" therein referenced is one of the ubiquitous volcanic formations in the region.

Under the Natural Bridge
This poem, and "The Hanging Things", form the basis of my short story, also entitled "Under the Natural Bridge".

Sedona Dreams

The Stench of the Swamp

The Lover's Tale

The New Temple
This poem, also set in Snowflake, AZ, describes a spooky structure which is loosely based on a very real Mormon temple built a few years back. It is a grand building atop a hill, which I saw before housing developments closed in, when it was a magical sight.

The Hanging Things

Midnight Visitors

The Book of Jacob Bleek (ss)
This is the only short story of the volume, being the first prose reference to Jacob Bleek, and containing the first (poetic) quotes from his infamous Black Book. The sorcerer himself makes only a fleeting appearance; he became a major player later on.
Published in Science and Sorcery by the Press of Dyrezan.

Return to Introduction