Archive for The Dark Young

Goodbye 2015

Posted in 2015, Planet Poe, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 1, 2016 by Manuel Paul Arenas

2015 was an odd year for me. Some very big things came up, but never quite came to fruition as it were. Most of my accomplishments and failures revolved around my book, “Black Hymeneal”.

With the help and guidance of my good friend Michele Bledsoe, I put together the content and layout for the book, which I had been talking about making for twenty years or so. We arranged to have the fund raiser, through Indiegogo, but didn’t even come close to reaching our goal of $2,000. Now, we are changing our original plans and seeing how we can cut costs and use the money we do have. It will still be published, it just won’t be the hardcover art book I hoped it would be, and it may take longer than I’d hoped to get it done.

portrait

Michele Bledsoe’s portrait of me for the “Black Hymeneal” book cover.

Michele is looking into other options, even electronic, which might get us more distribution and still allow us to use our collected funds for a few books for the folks who contributed to the fundraiser. A new goal for 2016, I guess…

come hither.jpg

“Come hither, my little darkling…” one of the many great pics from the Black Hymeneal photo-shoot by Hydroxia.

Also associated with “Black Hymeneal” was when I asked my good friend Hydroxia to do a photo-shoot promoting the book. In our travels to find the appropriate props and costume for the shoot, we realized that we had a strong connection, which blossomed into a very promising relationship, which unfortunately went awry and eventually imploded. As fraught with drama and high emotion as it was, however,this proved to be the closest I have come to a real reciprocated love relationship. I acknowledge that my inexperience in such things, added to my social anxiety,  probably sparked my friend’s misgivings about the whole affair, which translated into her slowly but surely pushing me away until I couldn’t deal with it and hastily put an official end to everything; but I still feel that not all blame should fall on me, as she was a bit impatient with me and also did not follow through on many heavy proclamations she made at the start of things, which gave me expectations that I fret over (perhaps too much, admittedly) when not realized. Even so, there’s no use crying over spilled milk as they say. What’s done is done and if I had my druthers now, I would have forgone the failed romance to save the friendship. She is a smart, beautiful, talented, fun, young lady and I miss her terribly.

IMG_0782_resize

Me and Hydroxia at the Planet Poe show in May of 2015.

In my attempt to process what I was feeling, I tried to write some poetry about it. However, the memories hurt too much for me to get much done, so all I have are fragments of poem ideas which I shall share at the end of this post. The only good which I consider having come from this is that I have some great photos, some great memories, and now know what not to do or say to a prospective partner if and when I get another chance at love.

Part the Second

Drummer Geoff Chse’s cover art for the follow-up Dark Young album, “Part the Second”, featuring a Posada print.

2015 was also the year that my old band the Dark Young finally released the long-awaited follow-up to our 1994 debut album. It is composed of recordings made in several different countries over 20 plus years, and it sounds at home along side of the original album. I wish we could have had a reunion gig to promote it, but we all live in different states now and our saxophonist lives in India at the moment, so that wouldn’t be practical.

Last, but not least, 2015 was the year I joined the Planet Poe theatrical troupe, run by Robert X. Planet, and which specializes in dramatic recitals of various works by Edgar Allan Poe. I have done two shows so far, and have enjoyed it immensely. I love the work and my companions are wonderful people, from whom I have learned a lot about the art of acting. We have plans to do another show in the Spring, so keep an eye out for more news on that in the future.

A snapshot of me, in costume, with the skeleton prop from "The Oval Portrait", taken by fellow troupe member, Joy.

A snapshot of me, in costume, with the skeleton prop from “The Oval Portrait”, taken by fellow troupe member, Joy.

Anyway, I did not quite meet my goals for 2015, but I got close and learned a lot. Hopefully 2016 will prove to be the year I finally realize some of these dreams. I wish you all much joy and prosperity in 2016. See you all next year!

As promised, here are the fragments for Hydroxia:

https://mannysbookofshadows.wordpress.com/2016/01/16/fragments-for-the-griff/

 

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“Part the Second”, by the Dark Young

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 31, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

20 plus years in the making, with tracks recorded not only in several different states, but even different countries, my old band the Dark Young have finally released the follow-up to their eponymously titled 1994 debut cassette tape (!) entitled “Part the Second”. My old bandmate, guitarist Mac Randall, wrote a nice blurb on our Bandcamp page detailing the story of how these tracks came to be. To read this and to check out the album itself just click on the link below:

http://thedarkyoung.bandcamp.com/album/part-the-second

Cover art for "Part the Second", by the Dark Young.

Cover art for “Part the Second”, by the Dark Young.

The image we used for the album cover art, pictured above, is by Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913).

Photo from the recording sessions at the Sound Museum in Boston, 06-07-2010. Left to right: guitarist Mac Randall, Me, and drummer Geoff Chase.

Photo from the recording sessions at the Sound Museum in Boston, 06-07-2010. Left to right: guitarist Mac Randall, Me, and drummer Geoff Chase.

Early Poems

Posted in colored pencil illustration, Gothic Poetry, illustration, lyrics, vampire poetry, Van der Graaf Generator with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

I recently discovered some illustrations I’d done, circa 1992-93, for some of my early poems and wished to share them with you all. They were outlined using fine point colored pens, then filled out with colored pencils.

The first one is “Coup de Corps”, a prose poem, where I compare vampirism to spiritual highjacking…

“Coup de Corps” 1992.

“Coup de Corps”

It’s rather like watching a horrible scene without being able to close your eyes; or being a helpless and unheeded passenger on an endless nightmare ride throughout eternity.

My body is it’s own master. When I speak, the words are not my own. I sit in a cavern somewhere in the pit of my heart and await the day when it is pierced, and the walls are broken which enclose me in this rebellious, sanguinary shell gone mad.

*

Next is “The Necromancer”, which I intended to be a lyric for a possible song from my days in the Gloom Twins duo. We actually came up with a tune for it, driven by a dissonant organ riff (a la Van der Graaf Generator) but it never got past the early development stages. There is a clumsy reference to the Necronomicon, because I was just really starting to delve deeply into the Lovecraft Mythos at the time, otherwise it’s a bit more Faustian in tone. I was never quite happy with the result, but here it is in all of it’s awkward glory, accompanied by an illustration which I am rather fond of. On the shelf is Lovecraft’s Necronomicon, Robert E Howard’s Unaussprechlichen Kulten, and, my own creation, the Grimorium Iuvenis Oscurum.

“The Necromancer” 1992.

“The Necromancer”

I have delved into the realms of darkness, and spoken to the dead

Called upon the daemons who send servants in their stead

Made sacrifice to devils, paid tribute to their Lord

In return for youth and power and jewels for my hoard

The blackest of books I have read, the cursed rites of Abdul Alhazred

Mad Arab’s testament for which he was torn to shreds

Necronomicon, Book of the Dead

Dealing with tricksters, which don’t keep their word, sifting through their lies

Tempting me to leave my circle, I never meet their eyes

The darkest of pleasures I have sought

Untold destruction I have wrought

The blackest of majicks were my tools

But they, in turn, used me–and I am the fool!

Now I have asked for much, without considering the cost

And in my lust for power, my immortal soul I have lost

Within my dying breath, I see Lilith come to me

To burn me with Her infernal love, and down to Hell then drag me

*

Last, but not least, we have an illustration for “My Friend Boris”, which really was written about a spider that lived in my bathtub in Hartford, CT circa 1988. It later became a poetry piece for my old band The Dark Young. Again, that’s supposed to be me, but it doesn’t really look like me. By the way, , FYI; I feel obligated to point out here that I have never sported a mullet, my hair is tucked behind my ears here–LOL!

"My Friend Boris" illustration, 1992, by yours truly.

“My Friend Boris” 1992.

“My Friend Boris”

A spider Lives in my bathroom; today I gave it a name. I called it Boris; I named it after a song.

I hope it’s a boy. After all, I wouldn’t want to offend it in any way by giving it a name of the opposite gender, now would I? Why, I hardly even know it yet!

Boris keeps me company when I’m bored and lonely–what a guy that Boris is.

I don’t know what he lives on. I suppose the baby roaches which I see crawling in and out of the cracks in the walls.

What a nasty fellow that Boris is! Imagine, feeding on babes! Oh well, different strokes, different folks.

Just the same, he is my friend. He is my familiar, Boris is, and I think I’ll let him live.

To roam and feast on his cockroach critters and any other little beasties and vermin which may come to call–uninvited.

What a guy that Boris is, what a guy!

Black Hymeneal Photo Shoot

Posted in black humor, goth, gothic, photo shoot, portrait photography, promotion, skulls, voodoo with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

On May 15th, I did a promotional photo shoot for my upcoming poetry collection, Black Hymeneal. I decided that I wanted to put a face to the book, which already has a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/BlackHymeneal) and let people know what sort of project it is. I felt a bunch of fun photos with a Gothic twist would project the appropriate image for what I have in mind. I asked my friend Hydroxia to take the photos, since I had seen some work she had done in the Gothic vein and could see that she had an understanding of the aesthetic I was aiming for. Of course, I was correct in putting my faith in her talents because (as you see here) she really caught the essence of what I was trying to get across. She helped me find the right props for my surroundings and she also helped me with my look, which is very similar to what I used to wear in my Dark Young days, although the “guy-liner” was her idea (I must admit it does make my eyes stand out a bit more) and she helped me find the amazing robe I am wearing, which we located through Redhead Sadie Vintage:

Redhead Sadie Vintage business card

Redhead Sadie Vintage business card

We staged the shoot in the living room of my good friends Richard and Michele Bledsoe (authors of the children’s poetry book “The Secret Kingdom”); we drank some wine, took some pics, and had an all around fun evening. Here are some of my favorites:

Not sure exactly what this sphere is, but it makes me think of Pinhead's puzzle box.

Not sure exactly what this sphere is, but it makes me think of Pinhead’s puzzle box.

Effervescent crystal ball:

Effervescent crystal ball: “I see a bottle of sparkling Spanish Cava in your future!”

This one's got a voodoo vibe to it.

This one’s got a voodoo vibe to it.

Whispering swart nothings...

Whispering swart nothings…

Me in my colonial days

Me in my colonial days

Can I help you?

Can I help you?

Sepia tone pic of me in my new robe, wearing Richard Bledsoe's glasses. They look nice, but I couldn't see a damn thing through them--LOL!

Sepia tone pic of me in my new robe, wearing Richard Bledsoe’s glasses. They look nice, but I couldn’t see a damn thing through them–LOL!

I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Bava

I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Bava

My paranormal romance novel cover pose:

My paranormal romance novel cover pose: “Come hither, my darkling dear…”

Surprise! Note the bottom cuspids, which almost make me look a little lupine here.

Surprise! Note the bottom cuspids, which almost make me look a little lupine here.

Another paranormal romance cover pose: love the flowing locks and the inviting gesture.

Another paranormal romance cover pose: love the flowing locks and the inviting gesture.

Some behind the scenes shots:

Candle detail

Candle detail; I love the sparkly cobweb drapery: magical!

The set: how many skulls do you see in this picture?

The set: how many skulls do you see in this picture?

Table detail

Table detail

One of the many skulls on our set, replete with votive candle for that extra eerie look

One of the many skulls on our set, replete with votive candle for that extra eerie look

Michele feeds me grapes

Michele feeds me grapes

Flower of Evil

Posted in Beresford Egan, C. Bower Alcock, Charles Baudelaire, Fleurs du Mal, Gothic Poetry, Poetry, The Dark Young, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 20, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Sometime in the early 90’s I found a used copy of the 1929 edition of “Fleurs du Mal” by Charles Baudelaire. Translated by C. Bower Alcock, the illustrations were by Beresford Egan, who had a bit of an erotic art déco vibe to his style.

Title page for Fleurs Du Mal by Baudelaire, translated by C. Bower Alcock. Sophistocles Press and T. Werner Laurie, 1929.

Title page for Fleurs Du Mal by Baudelaire, translated by C. Bower Alcock. Sophistocles Press and T. Werner Laurie, 1929.

I was lost in the beauty and decadence of the language and the illustrations were, are, sublime. I was so taken aback by this book, that I nicked the title of it for a poem, which was basically me putting up a brave front against the world: “I am a flower of evil, and those that touch me…die!” In retrospect, I can see the false bravado, but it later became an effective song (?) for my band the Dark Young. The recording of which will finally become available on a follow-up to our 1994 debut album. More on that later.

Upon completing “Hell-Flower”, I decided to read them both at the next open mic I was to attend, which as luck would have it, is tonight, and here in all its petulant glory, is “Flower of Evil”…

On the tree of life, I am but a biter fruit

Acrid to the palate, and overwhelming to the senses

In the garden of society, I am a blight

Not even the very worms of the earth dare partake of my flesh

A vampiric weed, I suck the life from my peers

I shun the light of day, and grow hatefully in the dark

Although I am alone, no wallflower am I

I am a flower of evil, and those that touch me…die!

"Flower of Evil" illustration, 1992, by yours truly.

“Flower of Evil” illustration, 1992, by yours truly.

The Golem of Prague

Posted in Blood Libel, golem, Golem of Prague, Gothic Poetry, Jewish folklore, Joachim Neugroschel, Paul Wegener, Rabbi Loew with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

“Great Tales of Jewish Occult and Fantasy” by Joachim Neugroschel (1991, Wings Books)

Back in the 90’s I picked up a collection called Great Tales of Jewish Occult and Fantasy: The Dybbuk and 30 Other Classic Stories (1991), by Joachim Neugroschel, which featured themes of mysticism and the supernatural. This was the first time I had heard of a Dybbuk and it is also where I read the original account of the Golem of Prague. I was so inspired by the Golem story, that I wrote a narrative prose poem about it, coming from the point of view of the creature, which I initially entitled “Thoughts of a Soul-less Savior”. Over the years, I have read it at poetry readings and shared it with some of my Jewish friends who appreciate the acknowledgement of their people’s lore from a gentile. My old band, the Dark Young, even made a performance piece out of it which we have finally recorded in a studio, after 20 plus years, and we shall be releasing as part of our long overdue follow-up to our 1994 debut album–but that’s a tale for another blog entry.

The tale deals with the story of the Rabbi Loew, or Levi, depending on the source, who must defend his people against the “Blood Libel”. The Jews of 16th century Prague ghettos were the victims of anti-Semitic attacks and were being accused of kidnapping and sacrificing Christian children in blood rituals (never mind that this soooo un-kosher the very idea is ludicrous). The rabbi made a homunculus, called a golem, out of clay and brought it to life using rituals and incantations. The creature protected the rabbi’s people until an oversight allowed it to run amok and wreak havoc, so he had to put it down.

The Rabbi Loew and his golem.

The Rabbi Loew and his golem.

An excellent film adaptation of this was done in 1920 by director Paul Wegener, called “Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam” (“The Golem: How He Came into the World”), the creation scene of which should be used as the visual for the Dark Young piece if it is ever made into a music video, as it follows the ritual I describe verbatim.

The beginning of the end for the Golem is when he falls in love. [

The beginning of the end for the Golem is when he falls in love. [“Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam”, 1920]

In recent years, I decided to make the subject of the poem a little easier to recognize by renaming it as “The Golem of Prague”, and it shall be one of the 13 poems in my upcoming collection “Black Hymeneal: the Black Light Verse and Gothic Vignettes of Manuel Paul Arenas”, which I am presently putting together and which shall be illustrated by Arizona artist Michele Bledsoe co-author and illustrator of the children’s book “The Secret Kingdom”.

“The Secret Kingdom” a children’s book of poetry and paintings by Richard and Michele Bledsoe.

Michele’s husband, Richard Bledsoe, who also contributed to “The Secret Kingdom”, gave me a painting he did of a golem which ties in beautifully with my poem, which is now hanging on the wall of my living room.

“Golem” by Richard Bledsoe.

I’ve mentioned it a lot on here, but I do not recall ever having posted the poem itself, so without further ado, here is my poem “The Golem of Prague” as it stands today (a note to the reader “circumferring” is a word I created to fit the piece, basically the word is used here imply that the “air sign” is carrying the Torah around the circumference, or perimeter of the golem) :

I am Joseph, the mute beadle of the Maharal; conceived of in a dream, I am the answer to his prayers. God is not my creator, although it is through His mercy that I exist. A child of the elements am I, and of them men which from them are derived.

Seven times did the fire sign encircle my form and I began to glow with a fire in my frame.

Seven times did the water sign encircle my form, and the fire was quenched.

Seven times did the air sign encircle my form, circumferring the sacred scrolls of the Torah and reciting the cabalistic incantations which would set my being into motion. Then, simultaneously, they uttered the Holy Verse of Creation, and I lived!

But I shall only be suffered to do so until my people are free of the dark cloud of the Blood Libel; then I shall lay myself down and my fathers shall reverse, thus undoing, the rituals which bind me to this world.

And I shall return, as they themselves must eventually do, to the lifeless clay from which I was fashioned.