Archive for Black Light Verse

“Thalia” to appear in Spectral Realms #9

Posted in Ashley Dioses, Black Hymeneal, Black Light Verse, Gothic Poetry, K.A. Opperman, Literary Journals, Poetry, published poems, S.T. Joshi, Spectral Realms, Thalia, vampire poetry, Weird Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2018 by Manuel Paul Arenas

In my recent effort to join in on the current weird poetry renaissance happening in the literary genre journals, I joined a few forums on Facebook that focused on the writing and publication thereof. I have enjoyed my interactions with other writers on these forums, some familiar, others not so much, but each one respectful of the other and willing to lend a hand or give a friendly word of encouragement to their fellow scribes.

That being said, it was on another forum dedicated to a particular poet (whose name I shall withhold for privacy reasons) where I saw a post announcing the acceptance of one of their poems to the journal Spectral Realms. I offered my congratulations and mentioned how I’d always longed to get published in that particular journal but always seem to miss the submission date. Besides, I said, I was terrified of having my work dismissed by editor S.T. Joshi, adding that I would be crushed if he deemed my work unworthy of appearing in that esteemed journal.


Enter a caption

Spectral Realms #1, Summer 2014.


My poet friend’s response was to submit something right now. Unsure of what I read, I asked whether that meant they were currently taking submissions. They replied in the affirmative. I then asked whether there was a link to follow and they said no, but would send me the contact info. I then got a private message with Mr. Joshi’s contact info and instructions to mention their name in the body of my message of introduction. I was stunned. I quickly popped in my USB with the manuscript for Black Hymeneal and pulled up my poem “Thalia”, which I had been considering for The Audient Void, copied and pasted it into a fresh document, which I then attached to an email for Mr. Joshi. Oh, and I forgot to mention that during all this my time on my library computer ended and I had to pull everything up all over again on an express computer 3 minutes before the library closed for the night!

It got through though, and Mr. Joshi was very complimentary, calling it “a fine poem”, but asked if I would either add punctuation myself or trust him to do so for me. I told him that punctuation was not my forte and that I trusted his judgment to make the appropriate adjustments. He seemed pleased. Now I await further instructions on how and when to submit my bio. If all goes as planned, this will be my first proper publication, aside from a vanity press publication of Tasty Little Muffins. I hope it shall be the first of many yet to come.

PS: For the curious, a recording of me reading “Thalia”, accompanied by moody music and images from my 2015 Gothic photo shoot by Hydroxia may be found in the “About” section of this blog.

PPS: I have decided to reveal the identity of the poet who so graciously facilitated the publishing of my poem as I think it’s only fair to give credit where credit is due: It was Miss Ashley Dioses, a young poetess out of California whose book Diary of a Sorceress (2017, Hippocampus Press) is definitely worth adding to your weird poetry collection. Her beau, K.A. Opperman also has a great collection of poetry entitled The Crimson Tome (2015, Hippocampus Press). I shall write a post about the both of them in the near future.

Update 5/29/2018:

Just received a message from Mr. Joshi requesting a bio, and sent him the one I cooked up for my Manuscript of Black Hymeneal. Spectral Realms #9 should be coming out in July, and I will post an update when I receive my contributor copy.

Dimas Akelarre

Posted in Black Light Verse, Dimas Akelarre, Gothic Poetry, Poetry, Weird Poetry with tags , , , on September 22, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Dimas Akelarre is a swart-hearted man, who plies his craft by night

Worshipping the Black Goat, tributary salute: osculum infame

Piping on his gaita a lusty sarabande a-wash in pale moonlight

Misdirecting tyros down a doom-laden route, itinere flammae

Like blissful dervishes they whirl across the veil to atramentous realms

Tenanted by creatures: sightless, wan, and grasping, coveting the quick souls

Careening through Hell-fire, on a tour through Sheol, with Dimas at the helm

Laughing as they wither, screaming when not gasping, upon a track of coals

Willfully satanic, he walks the Left-Hand Path in fiendish company

Tricksters and despoilers inveigling mankind to renounce the daylight

Lucifuge Rofocale and the Great Black He-Goat round out his coterie

Misanthropic monsters intent to undermine and to the world benight

His evil upas trills throughout the centuries tainting whither it flows

How far its tendrils reach to spread their hellish blight only the Darkness knows

“El Aquelarre” (1797-1798) by Francisco de Goya. Essentially, “Black Mass”, “Akelarre” is the Basque spelling, and seemed an appropriate appellation for this sinister character.

TV, Monsters and Me

Posted in Black Light Verse, Carolyn Jones, Chiller Theater, Count Chocula, Creature Feature, Dark Shadows, Don't Touch That Dial, Dr Paul Bearer, First Studio, Franken Berry, Frankenstein, Goth Girls, Groovie Ghoulies, Hammer Horror, Lara Parker, Mistress of the Dark, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Morticia Addams, Richard Bledsoe, Scooby Doo, The Addams Family, The Dark Young, The Grimoire of the Dark Young, The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, The Munsters, Trish Justrish, Under Television Skies, Universal Classic Monsters, Vampira, You'll Die Laughing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas
Ad for Shock!

Ad for Shock!

In 1957, Universal Studios gave leave to allow their films to be shown on national television stations distributed in their Shock! package which included sixty odd films from their archives, including such classics as Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, et al. as well as their respective sequels. Thus began the monster craze of the 60’s, which has never died out completely ever since.

The Chiller Theater opening segment. The hand would rise from the pool of blood and drop the letters spelling "Chiller".

The Chiller Theater opening segment. The hand would rise from the pool of blood and drop the letters spelling “Chiller”.

When I grew up in the 70’s, I lived for monsters. I didn’t care about sports athletes or super heroes, I lived and breathed monsters. My cousin Jason and I would watch shows like Chiller Theater and Creature Feature, which featured movies from the aforementioned Shock package along with some other monster movies like the Toho Kaijū films (i.e., “Godzilla” and “Mothra”) from Japan, but I always preferred the Gothics. Creature Feature was hosted by Dr. Paul Bearer, who started my interest in Horror Hosts and whose bad puns and macabre humor can be found in my current stage persona.

Dr Paul Bearer host of Creature Feature on WTOG St Petersburg, Florida from 1973-1995.

Dr Paul Bearer host of Creature Feature on WTOG St Petersburg, Florida from 1973-1995.

My cousin was obsessed with Dracula, and I Frankenstein. We ate Count Chocula and Frankenberry cereal, watched Scooby Doo and the Groovie Ghoulies and collected anything and everything monster related, especially if it featured one of our two favorite monsters.

Monster trading card from the You'll Die Laughing series featuring Lon Chaney Sr in the Phantom of the Opera (1925). Notice that Mary Philbin's face has been replaced witn an unknown. I have read that this was done for copyright reasons, but it only seems to be on this run of cards from the 70's, as the later versions did not seem to do this.

Monster trading card from the You’ll Die Laughing series featuring Lon Chaney Sr in the Phantom of the Opera (1925). Notice that Mary Philbin’s face has been replaced with that of an unknown. I have read that this was done for copyright reasons, but it only seems to be on this run of cards from the 70’s, as the later versions did not seem to do this.

When I rediscovered “Dark Shadows” in the 90’s, my mother informed me that I used to watch the original show with her back in the day and even had a thing for a witch, whom I can only assume must have been the character Angelique, played by the lovely Lara Parker.

The lovely and mysterious Angelique, as portrayed by Lara Parker on the original Dark Shadows series.

The lovely and mysterious Angelique, as portrayed by Lara Parker on the original Dark Shadows series.

One crush I do recall, however is Morticia Addams, as portrayed by the exquisite Carolyn Jones. Even before I knew what sex was, I found her mesmerizing. Morticia Addams paved the way for my infatuations for Vampira, and Elvira, and, to this day, I hold her directly responsible for my fixation with Goth Girls.

Carolyn Jones as Morticia Addams, circa 1964.

Carolyn Jones as Morticia Addams, circa 1964.

Aside from my obsession with it’s matriarch, the “Addams Family” show was also a lot of fun, better than the broader comedy of “The Munsters”, which I also liked to some extent, and I really took to heart the Addams Family message of acceptance; it was okay to be eccentric and to walk on the dark side without being outright evil. Herman Munster always tried to get his family to fit in with their neighbors, whereas the Addams Family embraced their weirdness.

Along with my dark interests and fetishes, I can trace my entire creative persona to one children’s show. On my return visit to my beloved Boston in 2010 to record the vocal tracks for the long overdue sequel to the debut album by my old band, the Dark Young, our drummer, my good friend Geoff Chase, showed me a video of a Canadian children’s show called “The Hilarious House of Frightenstein”. The main premise was that the Count, a vampire, and his trusty servant, Igor, had been banished from Transylvania, and could only return when the Count revived Bruce, a Frankenstein monster. Every show they would try, to no avail.

What is significant about the show are two featured segments. Now anyone who knows what I do, or more importantly, what I’ve done, is aware that since the late 1980’s I have been creating what I call, my Black Light Verse; essentially, light verse on dark topics and have honed my craft as a performer, mostly during my tenure with the Dark Young, doling out these dark ditties with servings of dry humor and droll anecdotes. During my stint with the Dark Young, I created an onstage persona, a sort of Gothic Alistair Cooke, with my long hair spilling out over my velvet burgundy smoking jacket, sporting a cravat and a pentacle, I would sit in a chair with a cloth-bound tome, the Grimorium Iuvenis Oscurum (the Grimoire of the Dark Young), from which I would read my poetry and tell my stories.

Me onstage with the Dark Young, circa 1994.

Me onstage with the Dark Young, circa 1994.

Well, as I watched the show, I was surprised to find that I was already familiar with it. Memories of watching it as a child flooded back very quickly. Then came shocker number one, when Vincent Price came on (his spot was a regular feature on the show) and recited a bunch of spooky poems in his usual witty and urbane manner, the possible progenitor to my Black Light Verse, then came shock number two, when “the Librarian” came on.

Billy Van as the Librarian from the show "The Hilarious House of Frightenstein".

Billy Van as the Librarian from the show “The Hilarious House of Frightenstein”.

Played by Billy Van, who also played the Count as well as various other characters on the show, the Librarian was an old man with a shock of long white hair, and a mustache, who wore a suit and sat in a chair to read cute little nursery rhymes and fables in a dreadful tone. The joke being that he found them terrifying, and couldn’t understand why no one else was moved by them. So there on this children’s show, which I had all but forgotten, was the template for my adult stage persona; it was alternately a blow for my ego and a piece of the puzzle put in place.

Over the years, I have continued in my love for monsters, graduating from the iconic Universal Monsters to the Hammer Gothic exploitation films of the 60’s and 70’s, but it wasn’t all monsters and femmes fatales for me. For instance, Monty Python’s Flying Circus is mostly responsible for my love of wordplay and mixing high brow culture and low brow humor. In fine, if it weren’t for television in general, I might not have become the black bard that you all know and loathe today.

Ad for show

On January 16th, 2015, I read this entry to an audience at the First Studio in downtown Phoenix. It was for an event called “Don’t Touch That Dial”, which tied in with the art exhibit “Under Television Skies”. Host Richard Bledsoe and several local poets and performers read works and performed pieces which celebrated the early days of Television.  Below is a picture taken by Mr Bledsoe during my set, and next is a photo of me helping out with artist Trish Justrish.

Me, stressing a point.

Me, stressing a point.

Trish Justrish and Me

Trish Justrish and Me

Women Wielding Words in the Alley (10-07-14)

Posted in female poets, Gothic Poetry, Poetry, poetry recital, Shot of Java, Weird Poetry, Words in the Alley with tags , , , , , , , on October 9, 2014 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Last night, I had a personal wish fulfilled when my friend, who for privacy reasons I shall simply refer to as Hydroxia, read “The Bed” and “Luvian’s Pelt” (a sequel to “The Bed”) from my “Greenwood Manse” poetry cycle at the “Women Wielding Words” event at A Shot of Java in Glendale. I wrote these narrative poems in first person as if a young woman, who is never named, is relating family lore to you, the reader. The stories take place in a roughly Victorian setting and vampires, werewolves and witchcraft abound throughout; the female characters do shine, albeit with a dark light, despite the repressive society and time period they live in and there is much dark humor and myriad references to classic horror tropes.

I wrote these poems in the early 1990’s and have always wanted to hear them being read by a woman, as I always feel awkward as a middle-aged man saying lines like “…For I am a smart young lass; virginal, pious, and pure as the snow white dove.”  Hydroxia finally scratched that itch.

She did a great job reading the poems, as well as two Hallowe’en themed haikus of her own creation, and even dressed for the occasion in appropriately spooky glamor with an elegant dress that would befit a vampiric countess, spider earrings and a choker (to hide her tell-tale puncture wounds?). If I ever finish the third installment in the series, I shall definitely ask her to debut it for me as well.

If you haven’t read it already, here is a link to a previous post which features the actual poem “Luvian’s Pelt”:

Hydroxia reads

Hydroxia reads “The Bed” and “Luvian’s Pelt” from my “Greenwood Manse” poetry cycle.