Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Inner Goth




My Inner Goth's name is Hestia. She thrives after the sun goes down: in the lengthening dusk, or silent midnight, her little dark spirit flickers like the last guttering candle end in a sootblackened candelabra, her impression in the mirror gazes back at me in shadowy reflection, her pallor streaked with the silvering of the old glass.

Surely her Halloween might be better spent: a kiss in the graveyard, a picnic on a gravestone, summoning shades in a gloomy parlor somewhere. Instead, she'll be with me, trailing behind a noisy, happy, clattering herd of small costumed children. She'll adjust the little black veil on her hat, and wipe the kohl tear-tracks from her cheeks, reciting, sotto voce

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk...

As I step on Skittles, flung behind the revelers, as my boot heels crunch on watermelon Jolly Ranchers, and catch in the elastic thread of abandoned plastic drugstore masks...

...but if you should catch sight of me, across a crowded street, and call to me "Hestia!" I'll raise a languid hand in greeting...


sterling candelabra, from Grandma Eva, on our Victorian organ, a wedding gift from my dad to my mom

47 comments:

Brian Miller said...

ha...beautiful...if you seem a morose joker trailing a pirate and a ghost, you'll find me. love the candelabra! happy halloween!

Leah said...

Hestia will be certain to keep an eye out for the morose Joker!

Jill said...

AMAZING candelabra...VERY special indeed!

Happy Halloween oh gloomy Hestia!

Poetikat said...

I hear ya! My inner Goth, Maude, goes to the movies on Halloween night—losing herself in a dark corner where she can reminisce on nights gone by. (She's come out for a bit in my treatment of this TT.)

I loved the bit about the Skittles. That was classic! (Too cheery a sweet for a Goth. We like our black nibs and dark chocolate cherries, or maybe some candied blood oranges).

The Silver Fox said...

Nice counterpoint between Hestia's world and ours.

e said...

Love your alter ego for Halloween and that candalabra is gorgeous.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

My heart aches for Hestia! May she find her inner Goth satisfied when the moon begins to shine on all hallows eve.

Beautiful candelabra...a true treasure

Hunter said...

Nice call on the Keats. And lovely candelabra.

underOvr (aka The U) said...

Hi Leah,

Lovely candelabra and organ pic. You sent me scurring off to read Keats. :)

Thank you very much.

U

Baino said...

Have fun. I love any opportunity to dress up, or down! You can match your black veil feish with your long glove fetish . . perfect!

Jimmy Bastard said...

Hestia, the strong willed Goddess who intrigued many with her quest to remain a virgin. A true vision of loveliness, idolised by Pan and Dionysus. Alleged to have no luxury other than single knitted woolen cushion.

Yes. I'd say that was a fair likeness.

Ronda Laveen said...

Beautiful photo! You captured the feel of the season so well in all that you've given us here on which to feast. I haven't thought about my inner Goth in a long, long time. No, I guess that's not true. It is she who walks with me as we lift the veil between worlds. My shadow self, Maua.

Roy said...

Poor Hestia, doomed to drag her gloom along in the wake of joyful kids having a blast. What's a curmudgeon to do!?

We don't have a lot of kids in our neighborhood; we haven't in about the last 5 years. And nowadays here they usually have a city-wide party for the kids at Toppa Field or Easton's Beach, so they do their Halloween fun en masse rather than trailing along from house to house. The poisoned candy and apples with razor blades in them from the '70s and '80s have taught parents to be wary of trick-or-treating. Parties organized by the city are a lot safer!

Leah said...

Jill: thanks! I'll pass the regards on to Hestia...and that candelabra, I love it too, although it's so crazily outmoded. We have a pair of them, in fact. I'm always trying to imagine a way to use them that will fit into my more humdrum lifestyle.

Kat: (or should I call you Maud)--that is so funny, because Sarge was suggesting black Nibs for a Goth sweet! He also suggested Necco wafers, but only the licorice and faux chocolate ones...

Fox: thank you sir! The worlds are threatening to come together in one big Goth blowout!

e: thanks, I like that alter ego too, I'm really growing quite fond of her! I guess that's her candelabra now; she'll make better use of it.

Pat: I'm truly hoping Hestia will find satisfaction on Saturday night! If not in the trick-or-treating, then perhaps in a glass of absinthe taken by the flickering candelabra light...

Hunter: thanks, I love that moody de trop poem. I memorized it in high school and still can recall bits of it, if forced...

U: oh good, I hope you'll enjoy your Keats! He can be so much fun, if one is in the mood.

Baino: yes! long black gloves will go perfectly. I'm sure that Hestia is pulling hers on even as we speak...I too love to dress up. I fear that this year, though, I'm too lazy, so I'll have to just go there in my mind.

Leah said...

Jimmy: you got my reference, you clever, clever man! But then, you always do seem to get my references.

Ronda: isn't the idea of a "shadow self" a lovely one? Although my post was somewhere between jokey and not-jokey, I actually take my inner goth seriously. I am very pleased to hear about Maua.

Roy: I shall join forces with Hestia and embrace my gloom!

Halloween in NYC has gone through many incarnations since I was a wee one. It was safe for many years, then suddenly completely unsafe. Now we keep our trick-or-treating to one big block that is closed off to traffic every year, and is well known as a nice safely policed place to bring your kids. It's really quite fun, although I shouldn't dare admit it...

kylie said...

well, i should comment on something about another superb post but the truth is i stand in awe of you for trick or treating. i can think of nothing worse, although it might be different if it were the done thing here.....

Leah said...

Kylie: I don't really mind the trick-or-treating, I must confess. We usually put a lot of work into Hedgie's costume, so it's a chance for her to show it off publicly, and then there's the rampant avarice of the candy collecting (most of which never does get eaten, truth be told), a fun thing in itself.

As I think I commented to Baino, Halloween in NYC carries a sense of thrill and other-worldliness which is truly magical. Roaming the dark streets, in costume, feels both dangerous and playful, a chance for everyone, even the adults, to embrace their sense of adventure...

I don't think its essence is especially capitalist, either, when you get down to it--although of course the mega-corps try for that angle--it's more about wild abandon and letting your freak flag fly. But maybe that's just NYC, I don't know.

Candie Bracci said...

I must say that was a delightful post Leah!

Suzanne said...

"Hestia, before you go down there, let's have a beer!"

You're the best. Love your writing as always and apologize for missing so much lately. Thanks for the beautiful little note. You made me smile. I've missed you too darling. Be careful Halloween night, I wouldn't want you to break an ankle tripping on all that candy! Hope you and Hedgie have a great time.

XO Moi

P.S. The photo's gorgeous.

Pat said...

Love the candelabra. I suspect you have a mild dose of Halloweenitis and suggest you are tucked up in bed with a pumpkin poultice. And Sarge if you insist:)

Betsy said...

Love your writing! Have fun with the kiddos...and post pictures! :)

otin said...

My counterpart stands on the other side of the road laughing and smiling! :)

JGH said...

I will tell my Brooklyn friends to be on the lookout for you , Hestia. Now you've got me thinking about what I would name my "inner goth". Great post!

plainolebob said...

Leah,
the inner goth, how halloween, with a, languid hand in greeting.
wow.
One of your followers has selected you for the award we give out on "Hot Dawg" Friday, the site is located at plainolebob2.blogspot.
Congrats and
BIG HUGS

California Girl said...

Love Skittles and your inner goth and candelabra. How lucky you are to still take the childrew trick or treating.

mago said...

Thick fog outside.
I hear heavy machinery.
Moving.

There is no road, there.

I am old.

HOw I envy them their laughter.

Karen ^..^ said...

The candelabra and the organ are gorgeous. I love the way your pictures turn out, all dreamy and misty. Beautiful.

I don't know if I have an inner goth... more like an inner emo kid at times I think.

mapstew said...

Was Hestia not swallowed by her father at birth?


??

The Idle Devil said...

Wish I could bump into u that night! :) Will Severus be joining that picnic on a gravestone?

Jimmy Bastard said...

Leah, it's always easier to navigate a fragrant wooded hillside, rather than a barren landscape of bare wood.

...and you know how much I like to seperate the wood from the trees.

Marianna said...

Great post!! Happy Halloween :)

xoxo

nick said...

Goodness, you're well into character here. Be careful or you'll never return to real life, you'll be sucked helplessly into the shadowy twilight of Halloween-world for ever and a day.

Rinkly Rimes said...

Being in Oz I'm not into Halloween but I certainly like the painting of the lady in black which you display.
Very funereal.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Oh, my goodness! Hestia is my stripper name! What are the odds of THAT happening?

I will be trailing behind Snow White and a tambourine-playing gypsy.

Innocent Owner Of Mad Cats said...

What a perfect story for Halloween! Looking forward to going back and reading your other stuff.

plainolebob said...

Congrats

savannah said...

i have a mask for the street festivities and then, we've commandeered the outside dining porch of a local resto for our own pagan ball xoxoxox

(absolutely stunning photo, sugar!)

Scarlet Blue said...

The skittles took me by surprise, a great image.
My inner goth needs a talking to.
Sx

Leah said...

Candie: thank you good lady!

Suzy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!: I'm so happy to see you here...not that I don't see you on facebook, but something about blogger is so cozy, isn't it?

Pat: Sarge and a pumpkin poultice! I'm in!

Betsy: I will definitely post a pic. I'm just off to tailor a chiffon ghost in a moment...

Otin: Hestia waves at Otin's counterpart!

JGH: I'm glad to hear that you might have an Inner Goth as well, and it's such fun to name them!

Bob: what a cool award, I love it!

CG: You know, you're right--I was sort of whining about it, but I really do love Halloween, and I love to see my daughter so happy and excited. It really is fun.

mago: that's actually a fabulous little poem you've got going there. You are the best.

Karen: Inner Goth, Inner Emo Kid--they can both be channeled for the greater good! xo

Leah said...

map: That was actually Hera, not Hestia, who was swallowed at birth, and then born again as a fully grown girl. Boy those myths are psychodynamic, aren't they?

Devil: Severus will most definitely be joining me for the picnic! I am counting on him to bring the sandwiches and pop.

Jimmy: Indeed.

Marianna: and back to you!

nick: my characters are beginning to make me feel as if I have just a wee touch of dissociative identity disorder...

Rinkly: isn't that a neat picture? It is rather somber, though. Or perhaps that's what's good about it!

Leah said...

UB: Hestia is your stripper name? How oddly a propos. In a funny sort of topsy-turvy way. Have fun trailing the kiddos! And as Suzy said above, don't trip on any Skittles!

Innocent Owner: thanks for dropping by, and for the very nice comment! Come again anytime!

Bob: thank you sir!

Sav: now that does sound like an enviable way to spend the evening, I must say.

Scarlet: You should definitely scold your Inner Goth--sometimes they need a good scolding!

Leah said...

MAP: crap, I just got schooled by my 8-year-old. It was Athena who was swallowed by her dad, and then birthed through his forehead. But actually, I just looked it up, and I found a source that said Hestia was as well.

I guess those dads liked to swallow up their daughters. Creepy.

Harnett-Hargrove said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harnett-Hargrove said...

Sorry, typo...

You have that in your HOME? What a beautiful Victorian Organ and beautiful sentiment. -Jayne

Megan said...

Bloody brilliant.

I respond to your languid wave with lifted eyebrow...

Donn w/2nz said...

My inner Goth craves listening to the Cure a couple times a week...other than that, I'm good.

mago said...

? I am no poet. It simply is: We had a terrible fog last night and it played seemingly acoustic trickery here: I heared very heavy machinery moving, big engines humming, as if I could touch them: But in the direction the sound seemingly origined there is no road.
I noticed that this sound made me fear. and I felt very old. It was after a ten hour shift in the middle of the night. And i thought about all the things children do and how they can laugh at things like bones and blood, I find it hard to laugh at.

Charles a co-worker told me that he saw a documentation about two brothers working on a dam, kind of security thing, over years. The learned fear only when they became older. charley does not go easyly into the night, in some areas, anymore. And I have to finish this asap. Leilah is a friend, but she takes a lot.