Brian Fanelli

The November Featured Poet is Brian Fanelli

Please feel free to email Brian at: bfanelli84@gmail.com



A boy, I wanted Dracula’s cool,
to be a young Christopher Lee with slicked-back hair,
a castle to call my own, gothic archways,
rooms filled with books,
immortal brides in flowing gowns
who’d never leave me
because I’d always know what to say.
I wanted to bare fangs at enemies,
turn into a wisp of smoke,
a screeching bat like Bela Lugosi.
I wanted to sleep all day,
learn the coolness of night,
unbound by curfews,
other than first light.
I always dreaded mornings anyways,
squinted at first rays seeping into my bedroom,
pulling me from dreams where I wore a cape,
feared nothing but the sun upon my skin,
a reminder that nothing is immortal.


There was something so innocent about the Monster—
Boris Karloff as Frankie,
his long, sloped forehead,
lumbering walk, imperfect posture.

He had no choice how he looked,
lightening zapped by the scientist.
Who would want to look like that,
stitched together limb by limb?

The Monster just wanted to feel something soft,
like flowers in little Maria’s hands,
a contrast to the man-god scientist
hauled up in a dank castle.

When townspeople came with pitchforks and flames,
I sided with Frankie and remembered neighborhood boys
who pointed at my pock marks and acne,
who laughed when I stumbled with a basketball.

I wanted a different ending to that movie, Frankie as ruler
of the castle, who could pass without shrieks from onlookers,
on his way to see Maria who didn’t drown, but lived
in my ending to pick flowers with her friend.


After we finish some horror movie
about a young couple who moves
into a spookhouse, I never listen late night
for the sound of footsteps upstairs,
a light flickering in the hallway,
or a door creaking from the dustiest
room in our home. I don't worry
about a dead rat smell within walls,
or claw marks on floors, always
the first sign of demonic presence,
we learn from these movies. We don't need
the supernatural to gray us a little bit faster,
to draw lines near the corner of our eyes.
We are like those young couples in the movies,
leaning over the counter, wringing our hands
until our thumbnails leave small red marks on our palms.
We don't blame a ghost or poltergeist for the loud groan
of floorboards, but know how age wears this place,
this house dated almost 100 years.
It is not the supernatural we fear
or why we bark at each other like couples in those movies.
It always the bills, bills, bills.
the drip, drip, drip
you did not notice last time you were in the basement,
and like those couples, only we can disarm each other’s anxieties,
but sometimes it takes a few beats,
 a few red-faced scenes until we realize
only we can defeat the big bad together.

Brian Fanelli resides in northeastern Pennsylvania and teaches at Lackawanna College. His latest book of poems is Waiting for the Dead to Speak (NYQ Books), winner of the 2017 Devil’s Kitchen Poetry Prize. He is also the author of the collection All That Remains (Unbound Content) and the chapbook Front Man (Big Table Publishing). His poetry has been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and Verse Daily and published by World Literature Today, The Paterson Literary Review, Main Street Rag, The Schuylkill Valley Journal, and other publications. On his downtime, he likes to hike, travel, write about horror movies, and listen to records.