Archive for goth

Purple Ghost

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2015 by ofherbsandaltars

Is it because my dick is not yet bolted on

With screws of flesh and hammer of bone

That I am not welcome in your presence alone?

(And do not mention the stag night)

Is it because I wore a dress on All Hallow’s Eve

And she seemed insecure, not knowing –

Is this thing a boy, is it prettier than me?

I do not trust it…

But no, it was before –

Always before,

That she knows our tangled histories

Stretch back into the infinite, unknowable,

Like the tangled webs of galaxies

For isn’t that what children are?

And how can she ever know

What is gone and lost, forever more


But I know what came before

I know what lies beneath

The thickening flesh of his exterior

The boy I knew was bones and hair

Insecurity, thin fingers, a drifting coil of weed smoke

Redbull cans and Prozac pills,

Angst and nihilism and Nine Inch Nails

How can memories not prevail

Against the puckered lips of a nervous present

Manipulation, mistrust inherent

And worst of all his own lethargy

To let his history drift away

Like the unmoored boat of all he used to be

So who are you now, Mr D,

With your suit-clad figure and your new degree?


I do not know this thing I see

The boy I knew is dead to me.



…Or does he wander, like some wraith of memory

Still sitting in a Brite-ian cemetery

As though he never saw this ugly reality

For isn’t that what memory is, intangible,

Prone to fits of doubt, or nostalgic romance?

If the past is a place and memory is its realm

Do our past selves all wander through the

Minds of one another?

Is each one of us a fleshy thing,

Surrounded by the ghosts

Of everything it used to be

The lust, youth, naivety

And with every version that emerges

From its cobwebbed black cocoon

It grows uglier, more staid, more grey and wrinkled and realistic

For isn’t that the crassest word?

As we turn into our parents, into sagging caricatures

Souls trapped in office blocks,

In briefcases, management meetings

In closed-lip kisses and casseroles

And if this is the thing you really are

Then I’ll just keep your memory

Of the imperfect thing you used to be

When you would smoke weed under a dripping starlit canal bridge

When the world was full of magic, blacklight and uncertainty

When we saw the planes plough, exploding, into the Twin Towers

In the dingy monitor of your dingy room

And it meant nothing to us at all

Because we were too young to fear the adult things, like war and loss and catastrophe

Because all we needed was you and me

And everything seemed temporary,

The whole world disposable

In its unknowable concrete tangles

Its maddening adult routines

The demands of your mother

To fill the fucking dishwasher, James,

And we always stood apart from it

In the tangle of thin limbs under sex-smelling duvets

We made a shelter from it all

And the world seemed more purple

Purple like my hair, and purple like your bedroom

There is a shade of purple that to this day belongs to you

But you do not belong to it

Now that you are something else

With your suits and your stag nights

And your…and your…

There are no words for unremarkable

We know things by their difference


I watch you sink into her world

Her dreary adult world

Like a screaming black amoeba

Devoured by a larger one

And you are gone forever.


The Gothic Ailments of Gargle

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 27, 2014 by ofherbsandaltars

Gargoyle Noctum Sinistra was the gothiest goth to ever walk the Earth. He was born with a mane of jet black hair, yet wholly bereft of eyebrows, and in his morosely down-turned mouth grew two needle-sharp fangs. The placenta that followed him into the world was webbed in a sinister pattern of spidery black veining, and in his early days, Gargoyle had a strange tendency to scream in the throbbing monotones of Bela Lugosi’s Dead. When his mother tried to breastfeed him, Gargoyle sank his baby-fangs into her breast, and spurning her milk entirely, sucked out her blood instead. Affectionately known by his family as ‘Gargle’, that peculiar baby grew into a peculiar child, with ghostly white skin and long pale fingers, thin and eyebrowless and sullen. The other children at school thought that Gargle was weird, because sometimes he forgot to flush the toilet, and would leave behind him a bobbing turd that was shaped quite naturally into a bat or a coffin or – with eerie yet admirable talent – an eight-legged spider.

By the age of twelve, Gargle had developed an inexplicable allergy to all fabrics that weren’t black, and was living almost entirely off a diet of milk, which had to be dyed green and steeped overnight with several stars of anise, that it might resemble absinthe – anything less would result in violent projectile vomiting, wherein the expelled fluids would spatter the wall in elegant dribbles which invariably spelled out DEATH. After Gargle suffered an entire month of insomnia and began sleeping in the cellar in a prostrate wardrobe, his long-suffering father finally relented and bought him a coffin, in which Gargle enjoyed the best night’s sleep of his entire existence.

Gargle’s high school years were fraught with misery and rejection. From the very first moment, the other children saw his strangeness, and made him their eternal scapegoat – that essential child which must exist in every classroom, that the others might bond over his slow destruction. As more and more of Gargle’s weaknesses became known, his days at school became ever more hellish. Children quickly learned that his skin would redden and start to smoke if poked with the corner of a One Direction CD, and that reading the fashion tips in Cosmopolitan could make Gargle’s eyes bleed. The final straw occurred when Gargle had just turned fifteen, and his tormentors discovered that playing Taylor Swift songs could make him faint on the spot, shortly followed by the appearance of angry red welts across his forehead, spelling out ANGST. At this point, Gargle’s mother intervened, and moved him away from those terrible children, to a high school on the other side of town. That was when everything changed.

On Gargle’s first day at his new school, he noticed some children who looked a bit like him. He watched them in fascination, that day in the schoolyard, until they noticed him, and began whispering amongst themselves. Finally, a girl with purple hair stepped forward, leading the group towards him. Gargle chewed his lip with one nervous fang, getting ready to stick his fingers into his ears at the first vile strains of Taylor Swift. But instead, the purple-haired girl asked,

“How come you’re allowed to wear all black? Why don’t they make you wear school uniform?”

“I’m…allergic to it,” Gargle shamefully admitted. “I’m allergic to…colours…”

The girl said nothing, but seemed intrigued by this notion, so Gargle reached out one thin pale hand, and brushed it against the maroon sleeve of her sweater. Seconds later, his fingers turned red and blotchy, and the girl stared in amazement.

“You’re allergic to colours?” she repeated, sounding awed.

“All colours,” Gargle agreed sadly. “Except for black…”

The strange children continued to watch him, and their expressions looked almost envious. It was the closest thing to sympathy, even to friendship, that Gargle had ever been shown, and he found himself continuing on that miserable tangent, of all the iniquities he had been forced to suffer in life. He told them about the absinthe flavoured milk, showed them his dental abnormalities, explained about the spontaneous eye-bleeding which would occur in the presence of bad magazines, and he got so carried away with his tale of woe that he only just managed to stop himself before he revealed the shameful secret of his perpetually spider-shaped shits, at which point he lapsed into awkward silence.

That,” proclaimed the purple haired girl, “Is so fucking cool!”

And with these words, Gargle became the undisputed king of their strange little group.



Over the next few weeks, Gargle’s life underwent radical changes. He had friends now, three of them, and although Gargle wasn’t entirely sure what one was supposed to do with a friend, the other children talked him through it. Having friends meant sitting together at lunchtime, and sometimes after school, and the purple-haired Lucretia (once known as Tracy) introduced Gargle to music that didn’t make him faint or haemorrhage, which Gargle found intensely exciting. On the walls of Lucretia’s bedroom were big black posters of those weird musicians, and all of them looked like Gargle – pale and thin and elegantly corpselike, and Gargle began to wonder whether he hadn’t been born wrong after all; instead perhaps, he had been born special.

Gargle floated through a haze of absolute happiness for those brief few weeks, and occasionally he almost caught himself smiling, which was a daunting art he had never quite gotten the hang of. But then, in the fourth week of Gargle’s new existence, another boy joined the school. He was wearing a black velvet coat over his school jumper, and it was so long that it swept the ground as he walked. For the first half a day he carried around a dramatic silver-topped cane, until one of the other kids stole it and started whacking people over the head, at which point it was permanently confiscated. Gargle’s friends noticed the new boy, who was called Kevin, and invited him into their group. For a few days, all was well, until Gargle noticed the slitty-eyed glares he was getting from their new friend Kevin.

By the second week, Kevin had changed his name to Raven Obsidian, and every time Gargle didn’t know the words to a Goth Song, Raven-Kevin would snort scornfully, and begin a long-winded and pompous lecture on the detailed history and inter-member rivalries of that particular band. Raven-Kevin, Gargle was coolly informed, had been a goth since he was seven years old. Raven-Kevin could name the members, ex-members, and prominent family members of every goth band that had ever existed. Raven-Kevin would never dream of leaving the house without crimping every hair on his body, including those growing in his armpits, and when he ran out of black nail polish once, Raven-Kevin had stood in the snow for three straight hours in the hope of acquiring some stylish frostbite. Gargle was intimidated and depressed by all these things that he didn’t know, but for some reason, Lucretia and the others didn’t seem to care. The more things Raven-Kevin bragged about, the more they scorned him, and lavished their affections on a very confused Gargle. It clearly made Kevin furious.

Over the course of a further week, Kevin changed his name three more times, from Raven to Nightshade, from Nightshade to Death, and finally, with obvious desperation, to Doombat-God-of-Suffering. He took to wearing a cape and sunglasses everywhere he went, even after he got his toe stuck in the folds of his cloak in a gloomy stairwell and almost broke his neck. Kevin-Doombat’s next move was to murder his mother’s goldfish, and then to begin wearing its soggy corpse around his neck as a reminder of the ‘tragic mortality of life’, but this activity was quashed on the third day by their English teacher, who could no longer tolerate the stench of rotting fish. By the end of that week, Lucretia and co. were deeply amused by Kevin’s ongoing insanity, and they had begun sniggering about him whenever he seemed to be out of earshot.

At lunchtime, Lucretia informed Gargle that she was having a gathering tonight. Her parents were away, and not only that, but she had caught her older brother smoking weed, and to ensure that she wouldn’t tell, he had given her a little bag of that very same weed. And tonight, they were going to smoke it! Gargle nodded, privately hoping that something as supposedly enjoyable as weed wouldn’t make his eyes bleed, and Lucretia added in a whisper,

“But don’t tell Kevin!”

“Tell me what?” demanded a squeaky-yet-imperious voice. “And my name is Doombat, God of Suffering!”

“Oh…” said Lucretia. “Sorry…”

Doombat-God-of-Suffering continued to scowl at her, and after a long and tense silence, she added reluctantly,

“We’re…sort of…having a thing, tonight. At mine. But…it probably won’t be very good, and you live really far away, so you don’t have to bother co-”

“Doombat shall be there!” announced Doombat, before spinning on his heel and marching away across the lunch-hall in a dramatic swoosh of black velvet.

“Shit,” said Lucretia.



That night, they gathered in Lucretia’s room as planned, where she was sitting on the floor with a pack of watermelon rizlas (stolen from her brother in the hope that their dismal red colouring would not offend Gargle’s delicate constitution), a bag of weed, three lighters (just to make sure), and a gleaming new skull ashtray bought especially for the occasion. After half an hour, and several angrily scrunkled rizlas, Lucretia succeeded in rolling a lumpy-yet-functional joint (with the addition of a few crushed cloves to appease Gargle’s weird system), and there was still no sign of Doombat-Kevin. As soon as Lucretia picked up a lighter though, the doorbell rang.

Shit,” said Lucretia.

She jumped up and ran off to answer the door, and when she returned, Gargle could see her black-painted lips twitching slightly as though in a desperate attempt to restrain herself from laughing. Seconds later, he discovered the cause of her amusement. Kevin-Doombat had painted his entire face jet black, and appeared to be nothing more than a greasy tower of soot with gleaming eyes.

“Bit…racist, mate,” commented Justin, frowning slightly. “You’ll get beaten up walking around like that!”

“Doombat fears nothing!” declared Doombat, “You foolish mortal! Doombat is protected by the powers of darkness! And this is not racist, for I doth not seek to align myself with the people of colour! I hath painted myself in these shades of night that I might experience the darkness of my soul more truly!”

There was a badly stifled snigger from Justin, and Lucretia surreptitiously kicked him in the back before sitting down next to Gargle, and picking up the joint. Doombat dumped himself down between Lucretia and Richard, and Justin shuffled nervously sideways, complaining,

“I don’t want to be looking at you while I’m getting stoned, all painted black like a creepy gollywog, you’ll freak me out!”

“Fear is for the weak,” Doombat replied haughtily. “And fear of the dark is for idiotic normals. Art thou a normal, Justin?

Justin declined to comment on the subject of his own normality, when compared to a walking, talking, racist anecdote, and Lucretia picked up a purple lighter, to begin their first ever journey into the world of drugs. It was quickly apparent that adding cloves to the joint had been a dubious move – though they tasted wonderful, they crackled and sparked and scorched the lungs of the unfortunate smoker, but for the price of not making Gargle’s eyes bleed, the others suffered these pains, and within minutes they were all flopped out on the carpet, beaming dopily and waving vague hands in front of their faces. Justin rolled onto his stomach and slithered across the floor like a giggling slug to put on a Cure CD, and seconds later, Doombat commented,

“Ah, the children of the night – what sweet music they make!”

“Do you ever…” Justin began, slithering slowly back from the CD player, “Do you ever…like…drop all this bollocks?”

“Of what ‘bollocks’ dost thou speak?” asked Doombat.

“The bollocks, the fucking bollocks, mate! Don’t you ever just drop it and…like…talk like a fucking person for once?”

“I apologise!” Doombat squeaked indignantly, “If I hath offended thy peasant ears with my supreme eloquencia!”

Justin dissolved into hopeless sniggering, and Lucretia fuzzily agreed,

“He is right, Kev- I mean, Doombat. When you first…came to school, you didn’t talk like a…like such a-”

“Like a retard,” Richard mumbled, staring at the ceiling. “Like a retard…”

Moron,” Justin corrected. “You’re supposed to say moron, these days.”

Doombat opened and shut his mouth several times, and then scowled. Lucretia hastily added,

“Not in, like…a nasty way, or anything, I just think…that you try a bit too hard sometimes…”

“Well, I’m sorry!” Doombat squeaked, still scowling, “I’m sorry if I’m not as cool as Gargle! Even though Gargle doesn’t know the names of Andrew Eldritch’s second cousins, or the meaning of the German bit in Marian, or the-”

“But none of that bollocks matters, mate,” Justin interjected, picking up a lighter and waving the flame back and forth in front of his squinty eyes. “No one gives a shit about all of that bollocks, we’re not in a school quiz here! You’re like that bloke off Mastermind all the time, if that bloke was a…like a-”

“Retard,” said Richard. “Like a retard. A really boring retard…”

“Yeah,” Justin agreed, nodding sagely. “Gargle’s cool because he’s just so…Gargle, but you’re like a walking dictionary of bollocks every time you try to out-Gargle him. And I’m telling you, mate, that is really racist, all that bollocks on your face. What the fuck were you thinking?”

Gargle frowned, letting the bickering flow over his head and beginning to feel increasingly paranoid. Kevin-Doombat’s attempts to ‘out-Gargle’ him didn’t feel like flattery, not at all. The things that Kevin envied about him were all innate parts of himself that he could never, ever change, and every impersonation of Kevin’s just turned his innate weirdnesses into a pantomime, into nothing more than a crude mockery of his life and his body and his soul and his-


“This is exactly what we’re talking about, you dickhead!” Justin cut in, rolling his eyes impatiently. “Stop losing your shit and being mental because you’re not Gargle – no one wants you to be Gargle, because…like…Gargle’s already Gargle, so…you can’t…be like…oh, fuck it, I dunno…” he trailed off, frowning, and returned to hypnotising himself with the lighter flame.

“But…Gargle’s so cool,” said Doombat, in a small, defeated voice. “And I just want to be cool too…”

Gargle chewed his lip with a contemplative fang, and after a long and awkward silence, he confessed,

“But…I’m not cool though – not really. At my old school everyone hated me, and whenever I tried to be cool, the music made my eyes bleed and the clothes gave me a rash, and…everyone laughed at me, just like they’re laughing at you. And I’m only cool now…if I even am cool…because I met you guys. So I think that…maybe there isn’t even such a thing as being cool. There’s just…proper friends, who think you’re cool. That’s all that matters…”

Lucretia smiled at him gratefully, and shuffled up to give Gargle a hug. After a moment, Gargle smiled the first real smile of his entire life, until it gave him face-ache, and welts appeared across his cheeks, spelling out NEVERMORE.