Existential Ponders – The End

A huge thank you to all the artists who shared their Existential Ponders for this series!

Sometimes to feel alive we have to take a look at the darker sides of our existence. And boy we had some inspiring artists to help us do just that!

If you haven’t already done so, go ahead and give the artists some love by liking, commenting, and checking out more of their work!

I hope you all enjoyed the series as much as I did and it enhanced your Halloween experience this year.

Existential Ponders – Mia Savant

Questions for Death

Drawn from the movie Meet Joe Black that is not usually classified as a Halloween movie, but really, what evokes more existential thought than death embodying life?

What were you searching for, oh death

That you did not already know?

We seek for our meaning beyond the grave

While all this time you’ve been seeking yours in life?

You searched for the excitement

The whisper of a thrill

Things we often miss in our own time

We are told to be serious

To not turn to frivolous materials

That what matters is not this world

We stress for we cannot be spiritual enough to get out of our bodies before our appointed time of taking our last breath

To inhabit

What we believe to be

The true essence of being

And yet

Our material body

Has purpose

To you?

You hold the power to delay inevitable

Or end a being before their time

Yet a simple spoon of peanut butter

Feeds a part of your soul

(Or whatever your being possesses)

When you found love

You knew

The same way we do

That for some unknown reason

It means everything

And just like us you wanted to keep it forever

The thought of being without

Hurts your core so deeply that you would be willing to give up everything you have

Go back on every word you’ve ever given

And put to the test anyone who would try and take it from you

But you are just as confined as we are

Shackled by the conundrum

Of wanting true love to hold forever

But true love isn’t about holding

It isn’t about forever

To love

Is to live fiercely

Then release

Whether they stay in our hands or not

Belongs to something else

All this time

We thought it belonged to you

You were Death longing to experience life

And a life about to die

Had sympathy for you

So maybe

We are all lost together

And every moment in life and death

Means nothing and everything

Rolled together as one

What did you find, oh death?

You have now seen both sides

Is there truly

Nothing to fear?

Or is your calm an acceptance

Of eternal unknown?

Mia Savant

Existential Ponders – Anne Claros

An Elegy

The page bled as I scratched and punctured its surface.

My pen clearly marked its wake

as it slowly marched from left to right—a nauseating routine.

Dark stains mimicked the silhouettes of
the Earth’s soaring peaks and deepest valleys,

and filled the once virgin plain.
Each stroke, a glacial movement, destined to leave a scar.

As its wounds clotted and dried,

bound within them were thoughts made immortal

in the hopes that one day, they too will be great.

How foolish,

for these thoughts turned to words

were not my thoughts nor my words,

but traces of a poison

(the ignorance of others) forced down my throat.

They have infested my mind with lies

and anchored my voice with judgement.

They have killed my tongue.

They have killed my tongue.

My soul lay among the ashes—

remnants of the fire over which my heart hung.

An angry fire in the epicentre of a crowd

hungry to feast. And feast they did.

So turn the page,

for herein lies no unthinkable secret,

no unworldly knowledge,

but a procession of words

that solemnly skirt a silken black hearse

in which a poet rests—a silenced poet

whose voice the world chooses to ignore.


I sinned and was punished.
Bound. Tortured. Banished.
I trusted and was lied to.
Accused of things I’d never do.
I was blinded and tossed.
My tongue clipped—speech paused.
Imprisoned by muted cries and screams.
Wounded by shattered dreams.
My breath ceased—body still.
Death shall stay to have its fill.

But wait,

What have I done? Tell me at least.
I’m no monster—no life sucking beast.
I’ve not killed nor lied,
nor hid in the shadows of my pride.
Punish me if you must,
but not for Envy—not for Lust.
Ridicule me. Shun me.
But first, stay to hear my plea.

Yes—I am a Criminal,
a serial wrong-doer,
but only here, in your world,
where Love is no different from Murder.


I think I am broken.
A shattered beer bottle

after one too many. A mistake
swept up, dumped and forgotten.
     I am beautiful.

I catch the light
and make fragmented rainbows.
touch me.
I will cut you.
I will leave a scar.
Go and tell your friends
about it years later,
over beers. I will

never be again.
I try to tell my best friend
     she is beautiful

but I see my lips crumble away.
I see myself—scattered pieces—

    recognizable and

Can you be two things at once?
I am

a sand castle reclaimed by the sea
before your mom could see
and before your dad could

give you a pat on the back.

I am a wave diminished by the shore.
Pieces of me burst—
bubbles into oblivion.

Are you okay?

                       I lie.

I sweat alcohol.  I reek.

I am ugly.

I spill. I am spilling.
I keep together like water.
Mop me up.

Clean me up. Clean

me. I feel dirty.

I have bumpy lines on my skin:
dried up glue that leaked from my cracks.

They tried to fix me.

Now, I am uglier.

     Don’t you get it?

Broken means free
like your unfinished beer
that splashed all over

when the bottle slipped,

kissed the ground and smashed.

Kisses smash you up.

Kiss me and make a mess.
Let me pool on the floor.
I will evaporate by morning.


Anne Claros

Existential Ponders – David Estringel “The Booky Man”

“And the Beat Goes On” (originally published at littledeathlit)

Dropping from the air

upon ears like paper blotters on willing tongues,

raging at the bloodlessness of cardboard cutouts against a shrinking sky,

through psychedelic lenses

let me seeeee, let me beeeee the pulse of silent rage

that rails against the vulgar machine

with words

that organize, legitimize, minimize, super-size, tranquilize, proselytize, tantalize, infantilize,

sexualize, stigmatize the suckled teats of long-conditioned truths.

Poking the bear, disturbing the seas of featureless beige,

stirring the comatose anima with battle-cries of sight and sound

that pierce dusty eardrums like sterling icepicks,

repressed wants teeeeem, solemn faces beeeeeam,

liberated in the warmth of a sun that breaks just beyond the horizon on coffee-house stages,

rousing thoughts

to gestate, ruminate, conjugate, propriate, sublimate, fornicate, obliterate, determinate,

propagate, exfoliate dangerous visions, birthed from the unfetteredness of a purple haze.  

Fueling the scribblings of furious hands upon white sheets with whisky and cigarettes,

Making, naked, ugly underbellies of the angst-ridden and inflamed

with the glorious promises of their ecstatic treasure-trails,

let’s revel in the coolness of poetry’s heeeeeat, indulged in pollen-dusted skin so sweeeeet

within the honeyed tangles of poets’ asymmetries

to detoxify, dulcify, intensify, demystify, purify, glorify, magnify, beautify, electrify, sanctify

our bodily streams of light that sugar lips and candy the fingertips.

Tearing away at the fabric, unraveling, woven from Gloopstick youth and plasticine smiles,

repulsing at the hoards in their mindless quests for extra-flavor and double-coupon days,

looking for a steeeeeal, wanting to feeeeel,

as hollow dollars crumble to coins when plopped upon unsated palms and countertops.

Think! Think! Think! Think! Think! Think! Think! Think! Think! Think!

We are on the brink

of the Fall of the American Empire.


“Damn, God’s Got a Fucked-Up Sense of Humor” (originally published at Headline Poetry)

I was born a criminal

and mentally ill

on a sunny April morning in 1969.

The sky was blue,

God was in his Heaven,

and I was fashionably late.

My parents were hopeful—

father swollen with pride,

mother already counting grandchildren.

Damn, God’s got a fucked-up sense of humor.

Who else could make a sexual predator

look cute in purple Garanimals?

An abomination rock a school Christmas play

in a pair of make-shift, white feather wings

and glittery Converse high-tops?

Good ol’ St. Mary’s,

where brown (OK, sorta brown) boys like me

go to learn the three Rs,

fade away

into a sea of beige, and

find shame in their bodies

in the process.

Where fear is the heart of love

and there’s a special place in Hell for me

‘cause God hates sissies—

So sayeth Sister Clair Veronica!

Damn, God’s got a fucked-up sense of humor.

Interesting how the tides have changed.

Popstars and Hollywood

with their puppy dog eyes and bleached teeth

telling us how “It gets better”,

promising unicorns

and pots of gold

at the end of colorless rainbows.

Too bad Matthew Shepherd

couldn’t stick around

just a couple of more years

to hear those sweet words–

no leprechaun’s treasure

at the end of a pistol grip

or the bottom of fence posts

on cold October nights.

Damn, God’s got a fucked-up sense of humor.

Turn on the radio.

Turn on the TV.

We are everywhere

for all to see

and have a chuckle.

Walking, talking stereotypes of

who The Unbroken still think we should be.

Am I “Just Jack”

or the Stanford Blatch—

the quippy, queeny best friend,

a comic relief.

Stand back and clap!

Watch the pink monkey dance!

(Are they expecting me to pull a string of banana-colored

anal beads out of my ass?)

So nice to be finally wrapped up

in America’s embrace.

Too bad all I want to do

is tear at the fabric of all that is good and holy

like some twisted moth

with an appetite for family values

and holy sacraments

that straight folks don’t seem to have a problem

shitting all over–

So sayeth GW Jr!

Feeling a little like my birth day today.

Damn, God has a fucked-up sense of humor.

“Nothing Lasts” (originally published at Terror House Magazine)

Stars fall

against the murk 

of the night sky,

a rain of fireflies, 

dying in mid-flight, 



upon gentle heads blow,

cruel truths.

Nothing lasts. Nothing lasts.

Listen to the harmony,

that inaudible peal


that sets heavenly bodies to spin, 

amidst everchanging kaleidoscopes

of the Void’s sacred geometries,


tugging at Fate,

with the waxing

and waning 

of single points of light.

Nothing lasts.  Nothing lasts.


the kings and queens 

of planets and moons,

tread upon paths

of celestial dust

wishing, searching

to join hands in communion

with the witnesses 

to our ignorant freefall into The Bottomless.

Nothing lasts.  Nothing lasts.

Existential Ponders – Johann Van Der Walt

the covenant

salem 1692

the children cried out:

witches witches

witches are among us!

soon the curse spread throughout town

infecting grown men and women

wraiths and specters took control of innocent townsfolk

their minds and bodies captive to dark arts

superstition and hysteria brought them down to their knees

that is what a witch does right?

magic and madness was the so-called method

reverend parris condemned the attacks on salem

blasphemy, he thundered from the pulpit

knuckles white with fear

this is a direct attack from the devil himself, he warned

his mouth fuming with deceit

there was something else scratching at his soul

in his thoughts still sealed from the outside world

one singular word flashed like a runaway fire

– a catalyst for the evil to come-

the crimson word carved into white skin:




lord, he gasped, have mercy on us

 for a legion besieged us

bidding us to sign the black book

the craft has stolen our souls


Johann Van Der Walt

Existential Ponders – Ivan Peledov


Walking trees hide from yesterdays

behind stolen wine and unwritten music.

A flower spoiled by the dead 

got bored with counting the stars.

Let’s build a house out of the books

written by idiots. 


In a dream of a bird the night is long

like a bearded astronaut sleeping 

on the shore of a mountain lake,

like a silent word, like a raindrop. 

Barefoot angels ceaselessly dance on

crushed wine glasses.

The Lower Atmosphere

Shaggy rodents ceaselessly look for the urine of the stars

in the roar of the stairwells you would never be tired of.

Black grass scratches the shadows of hoary beings

forgotten somewhere between the folded waves of insomnia.

Puddle light can’t help cursing the sun.

Let me tell you a story too shrill for a pillow, too crumpled

and huge to be smothered with.


Ivan Peledov


Existential Ponders – Beverly M. Collins


Beverly M. Collins

            “This old guy left a lot of stuff behind.” Jason said to his co-worker Carl just as Carl let out a loud triple sneeze due to the dust.

“The owner claims the old man returned home from a trip, then vanished and left all his things, even his wallet. No-one has been able to locate his family.” Jason added, as the two of them placed down a large box and heard some small medal items fall near the sidewalk.

“Sounds like some nails fell, just leave ‘em.” Carl said and they walked back to the 1950s style 4-unit building that was in bad need of landscaping.

This day was not unlike most late-December-Jersey City days. A frigid breeze cupped Sandra’s face as she walked the two blocks to her apartment building from the Grove Street Path station after work.

            Aware of her surroundings but lost in thought, she caught a glimpse of silver stuck in a raised crack in the sidewalk. She hoped to add to her collection of old coins and quickly picked it up and continued home.

            Suddenly, Sandra heard footsteps uncomfortably close behind her. When she glanced back, she saw no-one. Though it was dark out, there were people walking across the street and not far ahead of her. She felt nervous but tried to shrug it off by telling herself the sound was probably a strange echo. She quickened her pace and heard the steps quicken as well.

            When Sandra arrived home, her hands shook slightly as she pushed the key into the security gate and sprinted her petite, fit, 26-year-old frame up to the 3rd floor and into her apartment. Once she was home, she paused-took a deep breath in quiet relief to be inside.

Her cat began to cry loudly as she walked into her bathroom. “Momma is going to feed you in a minute.” She called out to her 5-year-old cat named Ruby. Out of habit, she closed the bathroom door behind her and in spite of the brisk weather, opened the bathroom window halfway.

While she washed her hands, she rubbed the coin under the stream of warm water which cleared it of dirt until she could see the round disk had a candle printed in the center and beautiful cuts with an unusual design around its edges.

            She turned off the faucet and was attempting to read the small writing on the back of the coin when she suddenly heard the unmistakable sound of footsteps in her living room, the wood creaked as the steps slowly moved closer to the bathroom door. Did she forget to lock the apartment door?

            “No, no, no!” she answered herself in a whisper as her heartbeat sped up so fast, she could hardly feed her lungs enough air to satisfy it. For a moment, she looked in all directions; ran her wet hands through her hair-frantic for anything she could use as a weapon, she grabbed a large heavy bottle of bubble bath in her right-hand while she still gripped the old coin in her left.

Sandra was waiting for the door to open when she noticed the doorknob slowly changed shape like metal/wax it twisted, made a high-pitched grinding noise and gave off a smell like a cigar as it formed into a knob sized head and face. She was first frozen to her spot then dropped the bottle from her hand and it burst onto the floor.

            She scrambled back, let out small gasp of air as her bladder emptied into her jeans. Sandra was terror stricken; tears streamed her face then the knob/head tried to talk. It belched out words from what sounded like a strangled throat. “My…My” it pushed the words out (through pinched lips) in a whisper that grew louder. “Mine…Mine” Its pointy medal eyes looked at the coin in Sandra’s hand. Its strange face had no chin nor a forehead.

            In one quick thrust, Sandra tossed the large coin out of the open window. The face on the doorknob vanished as if it were pulled violently from the knob by her throw. Sandra suddenly recalled a memory of her 4-year-old self in a basement when the light bulb burned out and she searched alone in pitch blackness for the staircase while she heard strange noises that came from every direction.

On this winter night, in her apartment, she shook, cried and screamed to the top of her lungs until her neighbors who knew her, broke down the door and found her crouched on the bathroom floor; her blue jeans soaked in spilled bubble bath and urine.

            A tall slender young man walked through the courtyard of Sandra’s building, noticed the large shiny coin at the very edge of the walkway near the grass. He quickly picked it up and dropped it in his jacket pocket. The young man bobbed his head to music on his earplugs, as he continued toward the bus stop, he did not hear the loud commotion from the apartment above or the quick steps that suddenly joined him on the walkway…

The End


Beverly M. Collins

Beverly’s poems have appeared in many publications including The Nightmares Anthology, Journal of Modern Poetry, The Hidden and the Divine Female Voices in Ireland, Poetry Speaks! Year of Great Poems and Poets, The Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, The Galway Review, Spectrum, Altadena Poetry Review, The Wild Word, The Scarlet Leaf Review to name a few.

Existential Ponders – Ruby Van Bendegem & KB Nelson

Sweater Weather

As The Sun Moves Into Sagittarius, Sweater Weather

haibun by KB Nelson

My hands, my fingers, they sparkle, I think my knuckles might explode if I hold them still for too long.

The only peace I find is when I walk in the trees. Leaves flip, exposing their underbellies in the breeze. I return to the cabin, intent on reading a book or preparing tomorrow’s casserole. The balls of wool compel me, or rather with the aid of my hands they patiently form themselves into,


I stitch pieces together and a jersey takes form. Such an odd hem. Short in the back, or at least normal length in back, but long, long and tapered, in front. Opposite to style or practical use.

I anticipate. I wait for someone or something, here high in the forest. The garment has taken form and I hear the arrival.

light swarm of snowflakes

late mornings, long evenings

centaur weather


Ruby Van Bendegem is retired after over three decades as a journalist and a lawyer, and is the recovering mother of four. She lives and paints in northwestern Ontario, Canada. On summer days you will find Ruby and her husband paddling a canoe or kayak on the waters of Lake Superior.


KB Nelson is a Canadian writer who thrives in the intersection of art and science. She has won awards in both poetry and short fiction, and is published in a variety of journals and anthologies. A graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Southbank writing program and mother of two, she currently lives in Greater Vancouver.

Existential Ponders – Travis Atkinsonsessler

Are You Afraid?

What is your greatest fear?
I’ve been asked this question often throughout my life.
Mostly, I have answered, “I don’t know.”
I don’t really think about it.
I’ve been bruised, beaten, cut, stabbed,
I’ve been shot at and even had the pleasure of taking a round to my chest armor plate.
I had tackled adversity head on with no other path ahead.
But scars fade. Moments pass.
I am afraid of the same as anyone i suppose.
I fear being hungry. I fear pain. I greatly avoid discomfort.
But none of these are unusual.
None are a great fear that I devote any great measure of my mind to.
Im not plagued by the worries of my next meal.
I do not expect of corporeal harm as I go throughout my day.
I do not think of the heat or cold or wind as anything more than an number.
No I don’t live my life in fear.
I have however been in the worst places i could go.
I have spent a great deal of my life in darkness,
watching the worst of humanity.
I have seen and heard moments that are so unfathomable as to be beyond the scope of reality for my contemporaries.
What would be described as nightmares.
For some I have been the harbringer of death and held them in their final moments,
brought to their god by my hand.
I still treat these experiences as facts.
It is simply another part of the world as it exists.
No more, no less.
I do not fear it.
No. My greatest fear is no one thing.
I fear a moment.
That in which you can define your life as before and after, “that moment”.


Travis Atkinsonsessler