Teraphilia means love of a monster. Ryan Meyer likely enjoys this condition and writes poems to the monster under his bed that he wished would come out and play. In Dear Demon, he concludes,
“Crawl out from under my bedframe
Whenever you feel safe enough.
There’s no need to feel afraid:
I won’t bite.”
And in The Boogeyman Lives, Meyer tears down our image of this ogre and ends with,
“Most of all, he isn’t human, he isn’t
A metaphor for your Earthly fears.
He is much, much more than that.
He does in fact wait for you,
Underneath your bed.”
Embracing the macabre, Ryan makes every poem a slice of the dark side, the unknown and unknowable, leaving us closer to the subject but still in the dark. Because this is where the fun is for those who enjoy the unearthly. The poems, written in free verse, lend themselves to reading aloud, some even conjure up a group around a campfire, anticipating a good scare.
Meyer’s descriptions conjured memories for me. The Gusts of a Tempest brought back the pond on the farm.
“This silence grew louder during
Our pause, settling around us like silt
At the bottom of a pond…”
Anyone who ever walked in pond muck never forgets--and to compare silence to the silken terror that envelopes your feet and legs gives it such strength. In He Looked Like Me, we “shrug off anxieties...like a rain poncho”. In Sour, a woman “lets her inhibitions slide down the surface of the bar”. The poems are full of graphic word-images.
I am not a poet, nor a student of poetry, so cannot critique the literary qualities of Haunt. But I am a reader and enjoyed most every poem, thinking of where they could live again as a Halloween greeting card, or paired with an illustration or as the inspiration for a film. Some of the poems will haunt me.