Tony Dawson

The Nature of Gothic

I once met a Goth girl in a bar 
who said she was a comic,
yet her deadpan demeanour 
revealed no trace of humour.
She was fun but not really funny.
After a number of drinks—
and a few knowing winks,
she invited me back to her place—
well, I had run out of money. 
Once there, one thing led to another, 
or rather, one thing led to THE other… 

As I was undressing her, 
it gradually dawned on me 
why she referred to herself as a comic.
She didn’t do stand-up or even tell jokes,
she was literally an anatomic, 
graphic novel. Her body, covered 
in a variety of tattoos, told a story 
as she lay, spread out on the bed; 
in fact, several stories,
if you varied the order 
in which her vignettes were read. 

Her left breast portrayed Scylla.
One of the writhing heads was the nipple.
The right one was Charybdis
and that nipple mimicked the ripple 
in the eye of the whirlpool. 
My Goth! A girl with a classics degree!
I was deeply impressed 
when she was undressed
as reading her stories in various ways, 
say, jumping about like the knight’s forays,
in chess, you could follow Aeneas’s route
through her very own silicone valley, 
between Scylla and Charybdis
an experience I had no wish to miss. 
Choosing the bishop’s moves would
produce Jason and the Argonauts’ tale 
and finally, the rook’s moves could
reproduce the story of Odysseus. 
I kid you not. I am being serious.

Below her navel, it got more OT, 
as in ‘over the top’ and Old Testament: 
The figure of Moses held up a sign
that said: “Roll up! Roll up! This way 
to the burning bush!” Here was the shrine
in my Goth’s promised land. 
“I’m on fire,” she said. “Please put it out!”
“Of course,” I replied, “no need to shout.
I’m holding the hose in my hand!”

Turning her over onto her front 
produced an eye-popping scene: 
the whole of her back 
represented a classic foxhunt
with the hounds heading south
toward her …. nether regions.
“D’you ken John Peel with his coat so gay,
“D’you ken John Peel at the break of day,”
I hummed to myself.

Several other red-coated men
mounted on stallions were
galloping down to her crack 
with a pack of hounds in full cry. 
The weary young fox, naturally sly,
had entered the crevice
of her plump rump, 
leaving only its brush 
sticking out like a rush.
(Even Aesop wasn’t able
to write a fable about an ass
swallowing a fox!)

The Goth lifted up her rounded cheeks, 
for the hunt to run uphill.
Now apart from the extra thrill,
it gave me the chance to look inside
to see where the fox had managed to hide…
As I say, she was a comic. 
Not really funny, but polychromic.

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