Ray Van Horn, Jr. is a veteran entertainment journalist whose writing and live photography has been featured in Blabbermouth.net, Dee Snider’s House of Hair Online, Fangoria.com, Horror News.net, About.com Heavy Metal, MetalManiacs, New Noise, Music Dish, AMP, Hails & Horns, Unrestrained,Noisecreep, Impose, Pit, The Big Takeover.com, Rough Edge.com, Pitriff and others. His blog The Metal Minute won a “Best Personal Blog” award in 2009 from Metal Hammer magazine and he wrote and produced his own hard rock e-zine, Retaliate.

He has contributed essays to UK author Neil Daniels’ Iron Maiden and ZZ Top biographies. Ray’s fiction has been published in various periodicals and anthologies, including his flash fiction piece “Off the Record” for Akashic Books’ “Mondays Are Murder” noir series. His recent short stories “Before the Ball” and “Widow” were featured in subsequent editions of Alex S. Johnson’s Axes of Evil anthologies. Ray wrote serialized original superhero fiction for Cyber Age Adventures and five of those stories appear in the anthology Playing Solitaire. He was the winner of Quantum Muse’s fiction contest in 1999.

Ray is a former NHL game analyst for The Hockey Nut and one-time host of the forum “Comic Books” at ReadWave. He has done beat reporting, photography and lifestyle articles for Metromix, an affiliate of The Baltimore Sun, Carroll Magazine, The Northern News and The Emmitsburg Dispatch.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Deadlines (A Christmas Poem)" by Ray Van Horn, Jr.


photo by Ray Van Horn, Jr.


Deadlines (a Christmas poem)
Ray Van Horn, Jr.


arbitrary winks of orange stab the dark
as she smokes her last cigarette until pay day
a kaleidoscope glimmers through her naked drapes
aspirant beacons from a festive middle class she doesn’t talk to
she spins Aimee Mann and Ani DiFranco
because the yuletide numbers leave their sting
with their holly jolly fa la las
and their hung over rum pa pum pums
McCartney can go bite it, she thinks

cookies come to life in the oven
there’s no money for real presents this year
her kids sleep with a collective smile she envies
they’ve been on extra good behavior this week
because Santa’s coming tonight
she burned the first batch through her tears

she wants Prince Charming to caress her heart
and to stoke her warmth before she grows colder
than the icy sidewalk outside
it used to be cookies
were a socially acceptable gift

masters of the domain caught in a circle jerk
beneath capitalist’s mistletoe
the egg nog is more palatable than a deadline
standing and delivering
is just a new wave bloke’s ode
touted carelessly by politicos on parade
their paychecks are secured
beneath
their jingle jangle Christmas trees

she drags her cigarette down to the bitter end
and curses her landlord, her mechanic
and the electric company, who all got paid this week
she spites Kris Kringle for not being real
if she could just find a dimebag in her stocking
better, the delinquent child support
the pain might go away for a little while...

her next paycheck will have less on it
she’ll either kick nicotine or bum for two weeks
since pay day isn’t until another dubious new year

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