The Day the Zombies Got Chuck

*April is poetry month so I thought I would feature some poems. This one is ‘The Day the Zombies Got Chuck’ by Mark Teats. It’s in an anthology titled Undead: A poetry anthology of Ghosts, Ghouls, and More edited by Bianca Lynne Spriggs & Katerina Stoykova. It was published by Apex but is now out of print. Find a copy if you can because there is some great stuff in it. This particular entry is one I enjoy. It starts out to seem a bit silly, albeit composed with darker humour, but then takes a more insightful turn that adds surprising depth to the poem. Overall, I think it’s great, and wanted to shed some light on it. Also, I have no affiliation with Apex and paid for the copy of the book I’m sharing this from.

The Day the Zombies Got Chuck

by Mark Teats

The day the zombies
got Chuck
We were all sad
took a pause.


Set down our
picks, pikes, spears, axes
shotguns
leaned them against the chain-linked fence.

Took a deep breath
shed a tear
ceased fire
said a kind word.


Words barely audible over
the groaning crowd
of stinking, endless undead
outside our stronghold.


Remembering Chuck,
poor Chuck who was
fast, funny, a good scrounger of ammunition
a veteran zombie clubber.

Chuck, who forgot
the cardinal rule:
Run, always faster than the next guy;
in this case, me.


From safety we looked on as he was
torn limb from limb
Listened reluctantly
to his screams, his cries for:


Help!
Mother!
Mercy!
Please!

I won the coin toss
took the shot
Wasted a bullet
wasted him.

The zombies did the rest
had their gruesome feast, fought over Chuck’s scraps
We joined in
raised our bottles, clinking a toast.


Many a kind word was said about Chuck
about all the good he was and
More importantly
about all the bad he wasn’t.

They say
inside every man
is a poet, who died young
Cannibalized by the conforming world.


But they seldom mention that also
Within that same man

is a dead-beat-dad
a seedy bartender
a washed up ballplayer
a neglectful husband
a serial killer, even a
potential zombie
that could all come to full fruition.


And none of that happened with Chuck.
Here, here!
We raise bottles to lips, drink deep,
look out on the encroaching zombie mob.


The day the zombies
got Chuck
After our sadness
our pause.


We picked up our
picks, pikes, spears, axes, shotguns
raised them again, repelling the endless crowd of filthy undead
Pressing the sagging fence.


Chuck: sure we’ll miss him
But we have to keep fighting the good fightand it’s not like we can bring him back
That’s what the zombies do.


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