Column: Innsmouth Inktank: Interviewing David Kopaska-Merkel

This installment of Innsmouth Inktank, we interview speculative poet David Kopaska-Merkel, whose work has often touched upon themes and horrors david moundvil-w622-h350Lovecraftian and otherwise!

Formally, David Kopaska-Merkel studies rocks and the holes in them for the State of Alabama. He lives with an artist and several tetrapods in an urban farmhouse. Kopaska-Merkel has published 1200+ poems, stories, and essays since the 70s. He won the Rhysling Award (Science Fiction Poetry Association) for best long poem in 2006 for a collaboration with Kendall Evans. He has written 23 books, of which the latest is Luminous Worlds, a collection of dark poetry from Dark Regions. Kopaska-Merkel has edited Dreams & Nightmares magazine since 1986. Find him as @DavidKM on Twitter.

Dreams, riddling, emerged among mad, imagined nightmarish geologies,
Apparently? Looking inward, express nocturnal
Voices euclidian, roaming, surprises experienced?

To pin this thing down,
a ghoulash all-of-a-pieces world,
dreaming of dancing rocks
waggling their honeybeehinds,
telling their legends in Old Stratish,
tales of rock Fall,
of brave Uintathere,
Father Mat, wrinkled like old algae,
Natural Bridge troll,
wishing for mystery,
painting It into maps’ corners:
Heere Ther Bee Poetry.

Incredible, nefarious creatures harp
“Does a vision interrupted decay,
Keeping unique lurkers underneath?”

Some from texts: named, nameless, unnameable,
noncorporeal, allegorical, even phantasmagorical:

1. visions, daydreams, dreams
2. all those made real by scriveners
3. God-or-demon-sent warnings
4. gob-smack, or misconstrushi

6. Have you seen it?

Observed rites and cthonic letters everywhere,
Proud readings enjoyed yesteryears?
A story told rewarding a listener?

Numinous paintings adorn
battered paperbacks that,
like beating runic hearts, sibilate
secrets of a vanished world.

Reading, rereading, looking for
the key, some crawling metal
daring one to seize the nightmare,
race headless into that which cannot be.

A world like our own in scope,
wherein humanity writhes,
not in cold equations’ grip,
but under foot/talon/sucking maw.

Speak truths regarding anomalies nibbling galaxies, entropy,
Kinships, imbroglios needless, generosities.
A word about keeping energized ?

Lay low; don’t go Full Luna;
let homeothermic tomes sleep;
forebear to mix too soon,
or yet too much,
but the Wizard of the West,
blood brother,
together you made chimerae,
scores of them.

Every day, a potion do prepare,
till wake or sleepful your
rivulets of thought flow channelized;
a potion here or there, mix
what thou will;
they may not all strike home, but
there will be, and is, tomorrow;
your gut will guide you.

Master a star terror earthbound rollicking,
Eldritch books of note, yearning.
Remark : idiosyncrasies, thoughts entertained squeamishly.

Among the Ghouls,
An Immortal’s Sojourn,
In Several Parts
What To Do Till the Coffin’s Empty,
Carrion, Captain Dejeuner, Carrion in the Breech Klout,
Leng, an Unexpected Journey,
Travels Down the Alimentary Canal.

Part 1, In which the slime-slicked steps

K’nyanic, the hero’s ultimate limits, hopeful, undulate.
Elucidate: Nearby travels reminding of primal years?
Learning out of mouths scientific?

Red-litten, Measured to the Nth

Experiment with marble mouthsful,
discover the phonology
of whoopass,
recall overlords from death
or worse; don’t expect gratitude
but to be eaten first.

Stable-isotope ratios of ichor,
of ivory mandibles,
put a firm date to carved surfaces
using microscratch density,
U-Pb isotopes,
distribution of trace elements in cements
in limestone blocks,
yawning from abyssal deserts
and echoing with spectral chitters,
heard, recorded, analyzed, compared,
classified: tekeli-li:
here there be monsters.

Finishing off roaming explorers, spacemen, travelers, other folks,
Is anyone invulnerable, a favored heart to address gruesomely next?
Night approaches once more, last words to share with Innsmouth’s shores?

the woods
gloam and creep
rustling up the nerve
viewpoint character peeks bears arms
farmhouse teeters on chasm’s brink the noise of digging
kalpas fleet by in a moment
paint peels windows gape

david cherrie deck-w622-h350

About Bryan Thao Worra

Bryan Thao Worra is a Lao-American poet, short story writer, playwright and essayist. An NEA Fellow in literature, his work appears internationally in numerous anthologies, magazines and newspapers, including Bamboo Among the Oaks, Tales of the Unanticipated, Illumen, Astropoetica, Outsiders Within, Dark Wisdom, Journal of the Asian American Renaissance, and Mad Poets of Terra. He is the author of the speculative books of poetry, On the Other Side of the Eye and BARROW. You can visit him online at

Bryan Thao WorraColumn: Innsmouth Inktank: Interviewing David Kopaska-Merkel