Nocturnes: A Foreign Aristocrat's Dread Disappointment

Yes, you have proven, to a certain point,
that I can kill in London with complete
impunity.  Those bumblers, Scotland Yard,
lack skills sufficient to investigate
the draining (with some mutilation) of
a corpse.  But yet, the choice of victims is
not thoroughly addressed in your research.
You did not seek aristocrats, bankers,
merchants, scholars or tutors in your spree:
only these whores---these poor pathetic whores---
on whom plagues and despairs have multiplied,
with hardly one full set of teeth among
them.  These you offer cheerfully,
the worst of London's disenfranchised crowds;
whose births have not been celebrated, nor
their deaths regretted.  Blood is blood is blood:
but I can sip it from the beautiful
throat of a squirming adolescent whose
virginal privates thrill to my entrance;
or I can, gagging, take it from some slut
whose throat is full of opened, leaking sores.
And, even worse for you as well as me,
you could not keep your flip braggadocio
private, although I asked for utmost stealth.
(Young Mr. Harker was much more discrete
when he brokered my purchase of Carfax).
You sent triumphant letters---to the Yard,
to newspapers, and individuals.
The ear, the piece of kidney---neither of
those was required by that task for which I
recruited you.  Yes, this will cost your life.
You will know how those harlots might have felt---
and how my multitudes of victims felt---
when life, no matter how much it suffers,
is taken.  No, you will not rise, undead.
Even the least of those who follow me
in that existence have more wisdom in
their fingertips or fangpoints than you have
shown in these last three months.  I will be quick:
your neck will snap like some dried chicken bone.
Your body, with a flash, will fall into
this murky Thames:  its thick fog will conceal
this moment that you and I, only. share.
If your soggy remains are found at all,
the nameless record of you will declare
you one of those unfortunates who seek
peace, and release, within the river's depth . . .
unless it spews you up like Jonah's whale
spewed him and, on its shore, small vermin will
devour---in bestial haste---the most of you.



Author's Notes/Comments: 

Acknowledgement to Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula; and to the multitude of books, articles and essays about the Whitechapel murders of 1888.

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allets's picture


It is interesting that a novelist can create a whole new genre: vapire novels (sci-fi fantasy/vampyre). There is Mr. Darcy Vampire and Abraham Lincoln Vampire along with a wide range of authors who have developed heros and villains popularized by the Tom Cruise movie, based on the LeStat novels. Bram wrote the script for the movie Nosferatu. A letter to one who betrayed a vampire who is about to be drained. Intense, yes. - slc



q.v.'s picture

Yes indeed.  One of the more

Yes indeed.  One of the more forgotten sources of Dracula is Sheridan LeFanu's short novel, Carmilla, which is far scarier, I think, than Stoker's.  I read my first "kid's" version of Stoker's when I was about seven and found it far creepier than Frankenstein (I exp[ect because Karloff had made the moinster more understandable, especially to children).  Curiously, though, when Stoker's mother wrote to congratulate him on the novel's first appearance, she told him it was not quite up to Mary Shelley' Frankenstein.  They tell me that Stoker was also heavily influenced by Jack the Ripper and by Oscar Wilde's sodomy trial.  Some scholars have suggested that Stoker may have had contact with the Whitechapel girls (and transferred their "characters" to the castle girls in the novel) . . . possibly even Mary Kelly herself (from what we know of her and the type of client she accepted, they would might have been drawn to each other)),. and when Stoker was courting his wife, Florence, she was also seeing, at the same time, Oscar Wilde, although she ultimately chose Stoker.


When I wrote the poem, my starting point (and only my starting point) was the great rage Lugosi was able to summon toward the end of the film when he realizes that Renfield has led his enemies right ito Carfax Abbey.  In the novel, and implied in the film, Dracula, for obvious reasons, requires discretion from his servants.  Neither Renfield, nor the person addressed in my poem, quite delivers the required satisfaction.



Ground's picture

Oh my

This was intense and chilling. I was thinking, thank heavens thousands of people know me. Lol. Creepy dark stuff. I could see it in 17th century attire. Dark imagery... 

I thought of Jack the ripper while reading it. 


The only problem with this type of story is that there are actually real world people who have been that sick. Scary stuff!!! 


 Made me feel like I need a cigarette. 




© Ground

q.v.'s picture

Thank you very much.  I am

Thank you very much.  I am certainly glad to know---I rejoice in it---that you thought of the Ripper, because that is the implied addressee of the poem (and that tells me the poem works).  Stoker portrays Dracula as very cautious, because he was (in his human existence) implied to be a warrior and quite the strategic thinker.  Stoker shows his motivation, in coming to England, as seeking a fresh feeding ground, as he has drainned Transylvania dry (European vampire legend includes small animals as potential victims, if human beings are not available, and I like Beaumont's addition, to the legend, in his short story, "Place of Meeting"---which has a great twist ending---about the "long fast").  Just like, before modern warfarfe, spies were sent in to assess the situation, I can easily imagine Dracula wanting someone to test the water for him.  And the five murders of the Ripper cycle would have tested that qustion easily.


Your remark about the cigarette is one of the finest compliments I have ever received on any of my Nocturnes or Nuances.  Thank you so much, and now I can go on with my Hindernberg poem and feel that I am---to borrow Umbert Eco's words---"free of every fear."  


I tried to catch the typos, as my left hand is still not working correctly, but if there is a couple i missed, please forvie me.