Michael Bates

The June Selected Poet is Michael Bates

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michael bates


One small, bare window
above the rafters,
under the roof,
lets all the light in.
During the day it comes
from sunbeams. At night,
starbright and moonglow.

Boxes, stacks, piles
of something or another
have their place.
So does a door
the size of a hatch,
which opens up,
slams shut…

Now you appear with more to store.
Not much room left—
shelves are full, space is tight,
air cluttered with ghost dust.
Time to cleanse the attic?
It’s long overdue.


Web...web...what did I expect
from a spider stuck
for months in a closet?
She’s accomplished a lot—
strung hers’ up and down,
netted one…two…shelves. 
Spring’s arrived. I’ve brought a taste
from my garden, seasonably
sweetened by nectar.
Won’t the spider be pleased?
She’ll have a butterfly
for company, bluer                                         
than the sky outside.


By dawn any vampire still prowling around
is as good as doomed.
It’s his turn to run scared, faster than the speed of daylight,              
towards an abandoned graveyard…

The name on the gate belongs to a family that lived
high and mighty in yonder castle.
He’s their last of kin. Has been since the serfs went
on a rampage, breaking in
looting, armed with knives
and scythes.
Hiding in the cemetery saved him. An angel or devil had them
combing the forest, until rain
and darkness finally fell,
ending the threat.

Then came the Count’s revenge. On moonless nights he rises
to the occasion: blazing red eyes
hand grown claws, fanged like a bat,
shrouded in a hooded cloak.

Some die of fright, others bleed to death. Either way appeases him.
What the serfs sowed, so 
shall they reap. All of them.

His downtime’s spent in a coffin. It lies low, but not buried,
under a bush by the gate…
as a whole, beyond suspicion.

Once inside, he can rest on his laurels, sleep off the craving
that drove him to drink, wake up
feeling like a new man.

Michael Bates is a retired international publishing executive. Although born in the USA, he has lived abroad most of his professional life, in Latin America and Europe. He currently resides in St. Petersburg, Florida and maintains a web/blogsite of poetry entitled three by 3 at http://michaeljbates.com

He has been published in print and electronic media, recently in Miller’s Pond, The Sacred Cow, Bitchin’ Kitsch, Verse-Virtual, The Open Mouse, and The Columbia Review.