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Somnia, terrores magicos, miracula, sagas,
Nocturnos lemures, portentaque Thessala rides?


Hor., Ep. ii. 2, 208.


Visions and magic spells, can you despise,
And laugh at witches, ghosts, and prodigies?



In spring 2010, just after the publication of DM XXXII Kismet, Editor-in-chief Adam Henry Carrière challenged me to resurrect the first issue of Danse Macabre, the fruit of summer 2006 — brutally sacrificed around Halloween that year to make way for DM II.


The resurrection looked simple. All I needed was its location in the internet ossuary, a sturdy browser, and a stout heart. However, I accepted with pretensions to arcane knowledge because Adam had referred to me in his challenge as “hacker-boi.”


One hates to disappoint.


The resultant page was lame and halt, as such resurrections often are. It loaded with painful slowness, images and text flashing into its shifting frame like Lazarus blinking in the sunlight. Yet it was clearly, recognizably Danse Macabre. The familiar la bella luna shone from the page, and Baron Samedi himself grinned in welcome.


That single, simple page, a ghost of its former self, whispered in the unmistakable voice of Danse Macabre.


Yes, of course DM has a voice. Several voices, in fact. But more on that in a minute.


DM I whispered: An online journal of imaginative verse & prose dedicated to the magical, the ethereal, the supernatural, the dark, the absurd, and the unknown.


We still hear that delightful mission statement in the basso profundo undertones of DM’s hearty chortles at academic posturing and in the pleasing contralto of its lyrical moments. We still hear it in DM’s coloratura soprano flights of fancy, and we still hear it in occasional hysterical shrieks of sheer literary madness.


The voice of DM, recognizable even as a gurgling moan from a Vegas hospital bed, has swelled in range and volume, issue upon issue, and it continues to swell. It’s the voice of the contributors, the editors, and most of all, the voice of Adam Henry Carrière. Pinch-hitting as a ventriloquist in DM’s unmistakable voice from 2009 to 2012 was the most fun I’ve had with a keyboard, and I’m pleased to see each new issue appear online.


Congratulation to Adam and to all editors and contributors past and present, and congratulations most of all to the lucky reader just stumbling onto Danse Macabre for the first time. Poke around in the archives, do your own mini-resurrections, and listen to the voices. Just remember that you shouldn’t always do what the voices tell you to do…


Again, congratulations on 100 issues of Danse Macabre! Here’s to 100 issues more!


Former DM Senior Editor, Archivist, and blog-monkey James Kendley is the author of The Drowning God and The Devouring God, available from HarperCollins Publishers. He is also director of education services for Cricket Media, He is father of two, husband of one, and lives in northern Virginia.



~ Porte D'entrée ~


Peter Baltensperger


Sharon L. Dean


Kane X. Faucher


Rich Ives


Mór Jókai


John Kearns


F. Sheridan Le Fanu


Peter Marra


Dmitri Merejkowski


Elizabeth I. Riseden


Abby Sheaffer


Tom Sheehan


Diego Sieiro


Patty Patten Tiffany


Mark Twain


D. C. Weiser



Elizabeth I. Riseden

Tea Tasting


In the tired gloom of a winter afternoon
some women in the library pick at their arms
until they bleed, while sampling oolong.
In another corner a party in paisley
housewives’ dresses & stiff-starched aprons
push meat hooks with laden
carcasses---bloody beef at room
book carels. Perspiring,
they break for lapsong souchong
served steaming in stoneware mugs by iguanas
opening butlers’ trays. Lobster
claws replace lemon,
pomegranate seeds sugar,
breast milk fresh expressed
surpasses that of cows.

Just returned from the clinic,
a gathering of harpies
demands jasmine, laughing
while rubbing their fuzz-pilled sweats
worn thin to raggedness---comfort soothing.
These cackling pariahs, newly
returned from sex object exams
dry tears with tea napkins hand
embroidered with orange and purple
dragons. They chat of Chinese fans, fear eclipse
by those who sport salamander scales.
Orangutans in maids’ black and white
set crystal orbs about,
serve porcelain cups of green tea
to the group, just entered, chanting hosannas,
burning joss sticks, forming palm crosses,
churning out pyramids, each
with a single apex eye.
Fragile snow light bathes and bastes this coterie.



Elizabeth I. Riseden was retired from college teaching and living happily in Carson City, Nevada, when in April 2006 she became Danse Macabre’s first contributor with Tea Tasting. With many wild things surrounding her and a backyard panorama view of the Sierra Nevadas, she wrote with passion, precision, and power, turning her sources of wonder into music of the highest order. Surrounded by her family, Liz passed some years ago. In celebration of our 100th issue, Danse Macabre remembers Liz and dedicates our second decade to her fond memory.





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