The Black Cave – Poetry by Stephen House

Adorably Horror Series – Stephen House

Today is the day! I hope your day is full of costumes and fun, all while keeping safe and healthy! I have one last artist for the Adorably Horror Series, Stephen House. Today also just so happens to be his birthday! So, go ahead and join me in enjoying his work as well as wishing him a Happy Birthday!

Happy Halloween, Ponderbots!

the black cave

the black cave is at its darkest
it’s maddest and meanest
as one would expect it to be just before dawn
when the need of those who seek is at its most agonizing

the prince’s eyes scan the room
and i close off my mind and dance
here in a cave of forever i dance
with stranger’s eyes and solitary souls
a ghoul in a corner and a howling friend
i dance with you and him and them and her
i dance with spirits and demons of always
in the cave below caves i dance and dance
even when no one else does i dance

and i have spent a thousand lost years in the caves
of underground cities in the universe of searching lost
like we are here locked together in want and hope

the prince saunters to a pack of other blood royals
and i decide i will stay above tonight
not descend into that hole below
where the prince will soon go

there is no time in the black cave
no night or day
no rules in disappeared wonder-world
no restrictions or limitations
no dream or death impossible
our exist in night is not all forlorn

i am sure now i am again seeking life
i know this anxious state
like rising from the grave
waking on the floor of the sea
or floating to another century and wondering why
am i seeking living flesh i call to all in song
the prince laughs back as he kisses a fancy wandering dream
and then gravitates towards some other blood royals
not unlike himself

because i have my blue bird with me now
i know i must be needing
it’s usually a clear indication when it’s always on my arm
shining agape beak and wings flapping wide in rhythmic beat
it was a lion before this
i say to a ghost next to me who doesn’t blink
doesn’t even seem to move
the best you can get on planet earth that i rode here
from nowhere to be in somewhere else

the prince comes back and tells me to stop telling everyone my fable
to keep the blue birds blaring down
remember why we are really here he whispers above the rattle
as he glances towards the misty hole below

i don’t need to go down to that dungeon tonight anyway
for a look or a turn with those locked up to fill our void
i know that chasm down there and i can smell the stench from here
i’ve paced those corridors of lonely gait and seen the lines of lusting seekers
i can hear the groans and pants of starving needy
twisting together from behind chained vibrating doors
i can smell the wasted bodies they devour to play dark games in void
i know exactly what’s going on in that putrid chasm right now
i’ve had hundreds of life-times peppered with it
and i don’t need to be another one on that high pitch desperate shuffle
not now in here.
i’ve got self-esteem tonight

the ghost next to me stands and materializes
floats above the ground and then drops back down
as he shakes his gleaming face from side to side
and flies to the stairs to descend into the bottomless hole of himself
i watch others come upstairs from the dungeon
and i know every single one of them

the prince is down there longer than usual
but he comes up eventually
and he hovers low next to me
leans across and brushes my neck with his freezing scarlet lips
trails his long nail down my cheek
and says that he has had his required fill below
and as the sun is about to glimpse
he will fly back the family castle
and wait for my return in whatever year i come

the blue bird shrieks the moment’s cry and i join in
as the royal prince
disappears from the black cave
with a laugh and wave of hand


Stephen House is an award winning Australian playwright, poet and actor. He’s won two Awgie Awards (Australian Writer’s Guild) , Adelaide Fringe Award, Rhonda Jancovich Poetry Award for Social Justice, Goolwa Poetry Cup, Feast Short Story Prize and more. He’s been shortlisted for Lane Cove Literary Award, Overland’s Fair Australia Fiction Prize, Patrick White Playwright and Queensland Premier Drama Awards, Greenroom best actor Award and more. He’s received Australia Council literature residencies to Ireland and Canada, and an India Asialink. His chapbook “real and unreal” was published by ICOE Press Australia. He is published often and performs his work widely.

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