dVerse Poets Pub – Poetics

Today Bjorn is prompting us at dVerse Poets Pub for Tuesday Poetics. He is asking us to write something “Halloweeny”, so here is my contribution. I have always been fascinated with late Victorian life and especially the people who used to hang about the extremely fashionable Café Royale in Soho. It’s denizens have always had an “alternate” story for me. This poem in no way implies anything about Wilde or Whistler. It is after all, just a poem. And the Café Royale is still in existence serving their incomparable cafe mochas. Posted for dVerse Poets Pub and Real Toads in Imaginary Gardens: http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-tuesday-platform_31.html

public domain photo James Whistler

The Salon at the Café Royale
Because of his story about Dorian Gray
everyone thought Oscar Wilde was a vampire.
Everyone thought he based it on himself.
Well, he didn’t –
He based in on a young man of whom he was enamored.
However he was a vampire.
His friend Whistler was a werewolf.
I know. I often stood in my window
when I was a child and watched the
two of them leaving the house next door.
I saw how they gleamed in the moonlight.
I watched how they leapt over the garden wall
with the effortless grace of deer.
I watched when they returned and
I saw them splattered with blood
and heard Oscar’s high laughter
and Whistler’s lower chuckles.
I saw them. Yes I saw them.
I was not dreaming when I saw
the vampire and the werewolf
leap down from the wall
and settle weightlessly as dead leaves
upon the lawn.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lh0w01S7Jnk&w=560&h=

45 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Magaly Guerrero
    Oct 31, 2017 @ 13:21:51

    Can’t have Halloween (or poetry) without sharp teeth and a little blood.

    Love the matter of fact tone.


  2. MNL
    Oct 31, 2017 @ 14:12:49

    uh oh, if you saw them,… and you’re still here to write the poem decades later, what are you? ….
    love it!


  3. Vivian Zems
    Oct 31, 2017 @ 14:32:07

    What a frightening, yet thrilling observation. Good flow, too.


  4. Frank Hubeny
    Oct 31, 2017 @ 15:49:54

    I liked the thought of something leaping down weightless as dead leaves.


  5. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Oct 31, 2017 @ 15:52:11

    Oh yes.. this reminds me of a TV -serie I watched called the Frankenstein Chronicles… there you had William Blake, Mary and Percy Shelley… Though pre-Victorian it makes perfect sense to me.


  6. sarahsouthwest
    Oct 31, 2017 @ 16:08:47

    Excellent! Have you read the Radleys, by Matt Haig? Lots of historic vampires in there…


  7. Jane Dougherty
    Oct 31, 2017 @ 16:24:31

    Oscar Wilde was far too tubby to be a vampire! Otherwise, it’s perfectly credible 🙂
    Love those last two lines.


  8. Beverly Crawford
    Oct 31, 2017 @ 16:33:15

    I love the phrase “settle weightlessly as dead leaves”. Well written!


  9. Glenn Buttkus
    Oct 31, 2017 @ 16:40:29

    What fun, nicely penned too. Puts me in mind of PENNY DREADFUL Showtime series, where all the Victorian monsters flourished in one story line.


    • kanzensakura
      Oct 31, 2017 @ 16:44:27

      Yeppers. You are right on the (b)oola. Plus I love the latter Victorian history and am a bit well versed in it. I have been to the Cafe Royale several times and have tried to replicate their cafe mocha, alas! It still falls short.


  10. hypercryptical
    Oct 31, 2017 @ 16:53:49

    So well-penned and so believable. The close excellent and yes “settle weightlessly as dead leaves” most wonderful words.
    Anna :o]


  11. kim881
    Oct 31, 2017 @ 17:22:47

    Smiles – you’ve been watching Penny Dreadful again!


  12. nosaintaugustine
    Oct 31, 2017 @ 18:34:25

    Imaginative and a good backstory, to boot. Love that closing metaphor!


  13. Frank J. Tassone
    Oct 31, 2017 @ 19:34:42

    I love the child-like simplicity you employ in the telling!


  14. thotpurge
    Oct 31, 2017 @ 19:40:02

    This is just brilliant.. loved it Toni.. wonderfully told.


  15. purplepeninportland
    Oct 31, 2017 @ 20:53:33

    This is deliciously frightening, Toni. I love, ““settle weightlessly as dead leaves.”
    Clever piece!


  16. Sumana Roy
    Nov 01, 2017 @ 02:56:37

    Aw…you make it so delightful, specially their graceful leap over the garden wall like a deer. O my 🙂


  17. Marian
    Nov 01, 2017 @ 06:17:59

    Love this!!!!!! Did you watch Penny Dreadful? If not, you definitely should.


  18. oldegg
    Nov 01, 2017 @ 07:27:12

    Vampires, werewolves these other imaginary being are so attractive to mundane lives. Just be brave and do something wicked yourselves and don’t rely on fiction!


  19. jazzbumpa
    Nov 01, 2017 @ 13:04:28

    Of course, the child was not in the slightest traumatized by these visions.

    Nope – not one bit.



    • kanzensakura
      Nov 01, 2017 @ 14:24:58

      And of course her parents didn’t believe her either. Besides, it is only fiction. Why so serious?

      Get Outlook for Android



  20. Colin Lee
    Nov 02, 2017 @ 11:50:00

    I like that creepy weightlessness. It makes an awesome ending!


  21. jazzytower
    Nov 02, 2017 @ 19:08:36

    I love the way you wove yourself into the story. Spooky and fun. I have to go find out who is penny dreadful now : )


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 02, 2017 @ 21:54:51

      Penny Dreadful was a series on Starz? Showtome? I can’t keep cable straight. But it was incredible…scary, beautifl, loving, full of violence, sets custom built in Ireland, costumes to die for and the most delicious Dorian Gray (gorgeous and evil) and werewolf ( moral, caring, vicious) I have ever seen and the most sympathetic Monster that ever lived. I’m sure it can be checked out of the library. Just watch it in order from the beginning. Stunning.

      Get Outlook for Android



  22. Victoria C. Slotto
    Nov 02, 2017 @ 21:16:11

    Fantastic, Toni. I have a huge interest in Whistler, thanks to an exhibit we had at the museum when I was a docent. Do you know of a good biography about him? I find his life so intriguing. Sorry I haven’t shown up yet. I have two haibuns floating around in my head, but David hurt himself and I have the garden to close down before this weekend when they are predicting snow. His surgery is going okay, but this has set him back. 😖


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 02, 2017 @ 21:47:36

      Two words for you: Stanley Weintraub. I loved it although it was not a Whistler Worship book. It showed him at his sarcastic litigious and style maven self. You might can get it on Amazon really cheap esp. If you have an ereader or Kindle. I may even read it again as it has been about 13cyears since I read it. No problem you not being dear friend. I totally understand and wish him and you the best. Prayers for both of you. Who’s cookong? ?? Get Outlook for Android



  23. Victoria C. Slotto
    Nov 04, 2017 @ 22:41:43

    Thank you, Toni. My Kindle is within reach. I would not expect less than the real facts about him of which I am well-aware. I know that you would understand my current situation. Thank you.


  24. utsavsolanki
    Nov 09, 2017 @ 00:26:27

    Love this!


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