Lying Loser Club

The Tingler

as a boy

I couldn’t tell the truth

if my life depended on it

not that I was a compulsive liar

or even lied that often

but under any sort of questioning

I was guilty

regardless of being innocent

Did you do that?

no – which was the truth

Go to your room

Until you are ready to tell the truth.


No buts. Now go you lying loser.

to avoid that banishment

I’d have to tell a lie


but I was even a worse liar

thanks to a movie I saw

where a sort of centipede

would materialize

around the spine

when you were scared

lying scared me

as much as telling the truth

I would feel those

million sharp legs 

sinking into my back

my skin would tingle

The Tingler!

that’s what that movie was called


a lie would kill me

it would crush my heart

burst out of my nose

brain spattering everywhere

insect legs would dig out from my eyes


so I was afraid to lie

the punishment for telling the truth

was bad enough

not be be believed

not to be trusted was confusing

it was better to leave the room

let them think what they wanted

because the clearly truth 

made no fucking difference


at that age

they made sure

I knew I was a lying loser

a useless dishonest kid

which I know now was a lie

and that’s the truth

I love this piece. I love performing this piece even though I can’t wire the occasional seat with one of the vibrating motors Willam Castle used when The Tingler was first released. I had seen a little more I wrote this piece so the images of the film were clear in my mind. Vincent Price was in fine form. The effects were decent considering the state of the art of the times. The black & white photography allowed things to look more realistic.

The piece gives the essential plot of the centipede that appeared around the spine during moments of extreme fear. Though as a kid when I first saw The Tingler on a Saturday matinee I didn’t think it was factual. But as a kid I was a bad liar & a bad truth teller as well. Of course then I didn’t the moral quandary I have in the poem.

I did experience belittling language from teachers, other kids & my Dad. I’m sure teachers & my dad didn’t have malicious intent though but things like ‘do you want to be useless all your life’ that were meant to make me work, study harder had the opposite effect. The wanted to toughen me up but all they did was convince they were right.

My Dad was convinced that one of those useless things was my interest in horror magazines – actually he said those magazines were useless. It was short jump from useless magazine to useless me. I poured over every issue longing for those model kits of Godzilla pulling a train apart, of the Wolfman howling at the moon. I don’t know if I ever got one of those monster kits. For birthdays I did get given some balsa wood kits for model airplanes, plastic kits for cars but was useless at getting them put together. If I still had my old issues of Famous Monsters I could probably buy a house.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? 

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