In Defense of Horror by Madison McSweeney

I believe in the nameless things that crawl in the night
that science and reason tell us are figments
of a disturbed imagination.
And all the children of our generation
are in a nightmarish panic
curled up fetal
+++++positions
reassuring ourselves, chanting
“There is no such thing as fiction.”

But we still drive late at night
in defective cars;
we still pull up to the decrepit cabin
and ask for gas or a jump or directions;
we still bare our throats to the hunter’s blade.
We still open books we shouldn’t
and read strange words in strange languages;
we still unleash the demon.
We still pay fifteen dollars to sit in the dark
and let the darkness in.

We demand horrors upon horrors and freaks of nature!
Open the door and let terror claim you
There is no such thing
There is no such thing
There is no such thing
+++++But what are these things?
What are these things that lurk inside my brain?
Older than humanity itself,
remnants of another age,
+++++displaced
+++++crouching in the shadows
+++++lying in wait.

Is there any better journey to take
than the one to the sideshow at the outskirts of the known?
And you, who cannot fathom it,
cannot marvel at,
and will never see,
the wonders of this otherworld –
you try to block the entranceway:

Horror is obscene, you say,
warping the minds of the young
and the impressionable masses;
leading them to depravity, driving them to insanity;
+++++we must bring them back
+++++from the brink of reality.
Fools.

The monsters of slashers and storybooks
exist, and despite your scorn,
they thrive. And with repeated tellings, come alive.
A storyteller can be silenced, censored and jailed,
But a nightmare cannot be killed.
They are the truth in the fiction.
They are the end of the tale.

I believe in the nameless things that crawl in the night
for they exist
inside my mind.


Madison McSweeney is a writer and poet from Ottawa, Canada. She has published horror and fantasy stories in Deadman’s Tome, Unnerving Magazine, Women in Horror Annual Vol. 2, and Dark Horizons: An Anthology of Dark Science Fiction, as well as Zombie Punks F*** Off (due for release later this year) and the upcoming summer issue of Polar Borealis. Her poetry has appeared in The Fulcrum and in the forthcoming Cockroach Conservatory, Vol. 1. She blogs at madisonmcsweeney.com, mainly about genre fiction and the Canadian music scene.

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