The Incubus & Joe Was Here

Two Poems by Samuel Strathman

The Incubus

sandwiches himself

into other people’s fantasies

with a cautionary tale.


He sees his prey

through to the end,

a prolonged tuck-in

during paralysis.


The next day,

guilt strikes, revelation.

Time to make amends.

Sells his sport cars

and chains, rents

his penthouses 

under market value

for a low profile

in the slums.

Invites the hoi polloi

to his televised roast,

features Vampira

and Satan’s talking sweater

as speakers.

During the festivities,

shrunken heads toss around

stories of how the star

of the show

has a penchant

for bed wetting.

The incubus takes

deep breaths, eviscerates

Paddington Bear

in front of his audience—

button-eye pop!


Weeks later, the sheriff 

lays him out,

leaves him bedridden, 


A succubus enters

the night,

turns the lights out

on the tormented creature

for good.

Joe Was Here

After the movie “You were Never Really Here” (2017), based on the book by Jonathan Ames.

After spending most 

of his retired life

moving from seedy motel room

to seedy motel room,

Joe’s ready

to swallow a knife—

succumb to the plastic bag

tied around his head, stricture—

lock the bicycle

and set it on fire.

The smoke wafting

from the smoulder

are eidolons, rising.

Samuel Strathman is a Jewish poet, author, educator, and editor at Cypress: A Poetry Journal. Some of his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pink Plastic House, The Mark Literary Review, Rejection Letters, and elsewhere. Two of his chapbooks are forthcoming later this year: "In Flocks of Three to Five" will be published by Anstruther Press, and "The Incubus" will be published by Roaring Junior Press.

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