Chase Dimock: “The Haunted Pop-Up Halloween Store”



The Haunted Pop-Up Halloween Store

is the zombie corpse of a long dead
retail outlet rising from the grave.
Beneath the orange banner
looms the faint spectral glow
of a Borders Books sign.

Crumbling red Circuit City tile
lines the gates of hell.
The ghosts of VCRs and Walkmen
haunt the shelves now lined
with sexy nurse costumes
and adult sized My Little Pony onesies.

The souls of empty Blockbuster DVD cases
moan in the aisles, grieving the hole within:
the lost copy of Shrek II that will never be returned.
Radioshack floppy disks flutter like bats
in the rafters, blindly searching among
the plastic pitchforks and novelty severed hands
for the Tandy computers they once called home.

The death mask of Geoffrey the Giraffe
silhouetted in dust and grime on the wall
looks over a display of polyester werewolves
hears the faint memory of children jumping rope
and dressing Cabbage Patch Dolls drowned out
by the eternal loop of “Monster Mash”
bellowing from the rusty intercom.

Come November,
when Smarties and Almond Joys line
the discount candy bin and the trucks collect
boxes of unsold rubber Pennywise masks
the retail Zombie will shut off the fluorescent lights
and bury himself again beneath the crumbling
asphalt parking lot and the scuffed linoleum.
It once more becomes the haunted K-Mart
teetering on the hill. The ghosts peer out
eyeholes cut in their Martha Stewart bedsheets.
The damned wipe Ecto-Cooler off their chins.



About the Author: Chase Dimock lives among mountain lions and coyotes in an undisclosed location between Laurel Canyon and the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. He serves as the Managing Editor of As It Ought To Be Magazine and makes his living teaching literature and writing at College of the Canyons. He is the author of Sentinel Species, published in 2020 by Stubborn Mule Press His poetry has been published in Waccamaw, Hot Metal Bridge, Faultline, Roanoke Review, New Mexico Review, and Flyway among others. He holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Illinois and his scholarship in World Literature and LGBT Studies has appeared in College Literature, Western American Literature, Modern American Poetry, The Lambda Literary Review, and several edited anthologies. For more, visit


More by Chase Dimock:

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