Michael Estabrook

Bestiary Poetry

 

 

Colossal Squid

Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni

 

Devilfish we are called today

but the ancients knew us

and our Giant Squid cousins as The Kraken

(classified by Linnaeus as Microcosmus marinus

a true species) the mariners feared us mightily

for we stalked the frigid northern seas

and southern oceans

enwrapping ships with our eight mighty arms

pulling them under and eating

the puny sailors with ease.

 

They could not fight us and for no small reason

for we are genuine monsters

the only creatures gigantic and powerful enough

to take on the mighty Sperm Whale

and live to tell about it.

 

Because we make the deepest depths

our home we are rarely seen

and never end dead and washed-up on a beach

although a 20-foot tentacle has been found

and there are many more trust me

where that one came from.


 

 

Giant Huntsman Spider

Heteropoda maxima

 

Fortunately for you people we live secluded

in caves in rocky crags

along underground rivers

for we are formidable hideous creatures

big as dinner plates with long hairy crab-like legs

the largest spiders in the world.

If you find yourself spelunking in Laos

and happen to stumble upon us

and for some perverted reason wish

to investigate us further get to know us better

heed my advice and remember to pick us up

by our legs only or else

ecky ecky ecky

 


 

Loch Ness Monster

Nessiteras rhombopteryx

 

Since before the Dark Ages we

have been lurking beneath the freezing

deep dark waters of Lock Ness after

having swam up Ness River

from the North Sea.

The valiant Vikings knew we were there

but knew better than to hunt us

or search us out

better to let sleeping monsters lie!

 

Spotted down through the centuries

but becoming an obsession for academicians

politicians tourists sailors monster hunters biologists

cryptozoologists nautical engineers and hoaxers

only in 1933 after the first photo was taken

spawning innumerable films videos sonar images

echo sound recordings and various

“scientific” and submersible expeditions.

 

A surviving Plesiosaur family?

Giant Greenland Shark or Sturgeon?

“Lake Worm” or Norwegian Skate?

School of Bottlenose Dolphins?

Not sure honestly and I wouldn’t tell you

if I knew this is too much fun just keep on chasing me

but please for the love of all that is holy

Stop Calling Me Nessie! I’m A Monster You Morons!

 


 

Griffin

Mixtidae gryphus

 

Unlike these puny modern monsters—

Yeti and Ligers, giant bears and spiders

and the silly Loch Ness Monster,

we were true beasts, ancient beasts

powerful enough to fly off with full-grown horses!

 

Roaming the dusky desert hills and skies

we were integral to the myths and legends

of ancient Greece Persia Egypt Crete even Mongolia

described with fear, awe and respect in the earliest

of the Bestiaries even making an appearance

in Dante’s famous Commedia

where his beloved Beatrice appears before him

in a stunning two-wheeled chariot drawn by a regal Griffin.

 

Simply put we are half lion and half eagle—

the body, tail, and back legs of a lion

the head and wings of an eagle

rulers of both land and air combined

in one majestic creature.


 

 

Werewolf

Lycanthrope

 

Oh yes there are ancient pagan legends, prehistoric myths

but we wolf-man beasts didn’t come into our own

until the Dark Ages in a Europe bulging

with too many people (before the Black Death

rolled through and culled the herd)

such easy pickings forcing us out of the shadows.

 

But I, La Bête du Gévaudan, was the first to be truly verified

given recognition and acclamation

beginning back in 1764 in the little bumpkin French town

of Gévaudan hence my name given me outright

from the start after I tore the throat

out of some moronic peasant villager then killed

and mutilated a lovely 14 year old farmer’s daughter.

 

Over a period of only 3 years from 1764 to 1767

102 people (give or take) in total (put that

in your Guinness Book of World Records if you dare)

were killed by me and me alone, mauled mangled decapitated

dismembered disemboweled even sexually abused (only the girls)

as I became more bored and disillusioned than normal.

 

But it’s all their own damn fault.

No reason for me to have to live in damp dank caves

and hunt at night by the light of the moon

magically transforming beneath the light of the full moon

from man to wolf (just kidding about that part

I was always a half-man half-wolf creature but don’t ask me

how that happened I have no idea honestly I don’t)

 

I got out of control because of them for I could have

been bargained with if only they had tried . . .

if only those stupid peasants had attempted to understand me

rather than fear and loath me casting me out!

Let’s get him! they shouted

Kill the beast! Kill the beast! Cut its throat! they chanted

(although in French of course)

chasing about the countryside with pitchforks and torches

trying to find me trying to string me up burn me

shoot me with these stupid silver bullets

(who makes this crap up, seriously, who?)

 

And no, just to set the record straight, I am not

a giant hyena or a wolf-dog hybrid

or a demented psychopath in a wolf’s skin or a bear

or trained mastiff or a pack of wild warthogs or rogue dogs . . .

I am a Werewolf plain and simple.

I am the first official Wolfman to stalk the land

and through the mists in your nightmares.

And you had goddamn well better learn to treat me

with more respect because I’m not going away anytime soon

and there are plenty more 14 year old

farmer’s daughters for me to terrorize rape mutilate and eat.


 

 

Michael Estabrook is a recently retired baby boomer child-of-the-sixties poet freed finally after working 40 years for “The Man” and sometimes “The Woman.” No more useless meetings under florescent lights in stuffy windowless rooms. Now he’s able to devote serious time to making better poems when he’s not, of course, trying to satisfy his wife’s legendary Honey-Do List. Since the late 1980s he has published over 20 poetry chapbooks, Bouncy House being the latest, edited by Larry Fagin (Green Zone Editions, 2016). He lives in Acton, Massachusetts.