©2021 Michael Raven

moonlight kissed
green watercolor blue
aurora shouldered you
naked in the starlight
down riverside
with rushes swaying lazy
dizzy in the head
filled bliss sigh crazy
Photo by Taryn Elliott on


I used to hang out at the clubs and watch a local goth band (in retrospect, I don’t know that I would label them as such) back in the day named Morticia. They were great folks to chat with: never too haughty or above the people who paid the cover charge to see them and I think they did what they did more for fun than out of seriousness. I mean, they named themselves after a campy sitcom character and they never came off as treating it as anything more than theater (unlike quite a few goth bands in the 80s, which took themselves far more serious than many fans did). I can only say that I was always aware of the campiness while I listened to them and, well, that was as much part of the scene as were the Sisters of Mercy wannabees.

One incarnation of Morticia. Regulars, Matt and Jody are the two on the right.

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denise with the
black and sick-green
painted nails and the 
rat's nest siouxsie hair
hefted each of her knit long sleeves
showed me her arms
etched with words like:
in block letters
to scare me away
"i'm ugly, on medication and
i cut myself. see?
doesn't that scare you?"
expecting me to make excuses
as to why i had to leave

i smiled sadly, 
not sure how to tell her
i'd share her pain,
if she'd only let me

sharing not in her nature --
she drifted away without waiting for
my response,
ophelia in the weeds


He shift-stuttered down to the fisherman’s warf, streetlight’s malarial fingers reaching down from skyward, casting sick silhouette shadows from him as he went. The shadows knew how to dance, though he was certain nightclub vampires had decided he couldn’t — he envied the ghosts cast from his tormented shape and their ability to both draw smiles from the bloodthirsty and for the moves he could only mime when the music thrummed in his bowls and groin.

None of the times he’d trod these dock had he’d seen a fisherman in the Greek wool caps decorated with braid on brim. Nor anyone bringing fish to dock after high seas or in competition with orca whales. He was probably either too late in the past or too early now, though it approached the witching hour as he shambled along. The sole convenience store had sold him snuff when he was still almost a tourist, a newcomer. Maybe the fisher king did reside here.

He wished he had some snuff now; perhaps it would chase away the writhing shapes pouring from the honeycomb brickwork now, moray eels looking to taste his mind. Instead, he shook his katana, still sheathed, red tassels threatening the mouths and hands reaching for him.

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