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Aug 8, 2007
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About My Library

Fiction, poetry, art, 19th and early 20th century gothic, noir, mysteries, films


Death isn't dressed up for halloween
in a long black cape with a scythe.
He comes in the wee hours,
on a fire truck, it's engine rumbling,
the siren off.

- tros

"It was in a transient hotel, recently, that I saw myself again, shut up in a room, immobilized, not daring to go out at all. Where else would I have hidden myself except in one of these hotels of the basest order, among other anonymous clients of the night? There, passing many nights and days, lying in wait, watching, fully clothed, from behind a door or, at the slightest noise, taking flight over the rooftops, I had been terribly afraid, and I couldn't shake the impression that I stayed there for centuries, perhaps, or that I had successively exhausted several existences which had yielded nothing but poisons to glut a trough already sloshing with disgust, shame, and desolation."

Francis Carco
trans. Gilbert Alter-Gilbert

"In a few minutes, my companions began to disappear one after the other, leaving nothing but their shadows on the wall by which they were soon absorbed, much as the brown stains made by the water on the sand disappear as they dry."

- Gautier
The Club of Assassins
trans. Maurice Stang

"It is what Orientals call "kief" - it is the absolute of happiness. The characteristics of vortex and tumultuousness have gone. It is a calm and frozen beatitude. Every philosophical problem has been solved. All the knotty questions with which theologians have battled and which are the despair of thinking humanity have become pellucid, limpid. Every contradiction is now an identity. Man is a god."

- Baudelaire
Wine and Hashish

If, after living an unclouded day-to-day existence together for many years, two spouses looked closely at each other, if they looked deep into each other, they would find - they were bound to find - two strangers separated by a thousand trivialities, a thousand tiny lies, a thousand insignificant disloyalties. Their souls never really knew each other, however sincerely they believed in their friendship and their love.

In normal life, friendship is nothing but a false idea, a convention we gradually grow accustomed to. And love ... that was just sundry fragments taken from cheap literature mixed together with a few clammy pleasures to liven up the cliche' and anoint it with tawdriness.

- Mario de Sa-Carneiro
"Mystery" from "The Great Shadow"
trans. M. J. Costa

The dead die hard, they are tresspassers on the beyond, they must take the place as they find it, the shafts and manholes back into the muck, till such time as the lord of the manor incurs through his long acquiescence a duty of care in respect of them.

Echo's Bones
Samuel Beckett

The Song of Wandering Aengus

By William Butler Yeats

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.


From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then, in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

Edgar Allan Poe


By Edgar Allan Poe

Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old—
This knight so bold—
And o’er his heart a shadow—
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow—
‘Shadow,’ said he,
‘Where can it be—
This land of Eldorado?’

‘Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,’
The shade replied,—
‘If you seek for Eldorado!’

The Drunk in the Furnace

For a good decade
The furnace stood in the naked gully, fireless
And vacant as any hat. Then when it was
No more to them than a hulking black fossil
To erode unnoticed with the rest of the junk-hill
By the poisonous creek, and rapidly to be added
to their ignorance.

They were afterwards astonished
To confirm, one morning, a twist of smoke like a pale
Resurrection, staggering out of it's chewed hole,
And to remark then other tokens that someone,
Cosily bolted behind the eye-holed iron
Door of the drafty burner, had there established
his bad castle.

Where he gets his spirits
It's a mystery. But the stuff keeps him musical:
Hammer-and-anvilling with poker and bottle
to his jugged bellowings, till the last groaning clang
As he collapses onto the rioting
Springs of a litter of car-seats ranged on the grates,
to sleep like an iron pig.

In their tar-paper church
On a text about stoke-holes that are sated never
Their Reverend lingers. They nod and hate trespassers.
When the furnace wakes, though, all afternoon
Their witless offspring flock like piped rats to it's siren
Crescendo, and agape on the crumbling ridge
Stand in a row and learn.

W. S. Merwin

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