by Lee Rene


For many, the word “Gothic” conjures up visions of cadaverous beauties with ebony fingernails or ghoulish music tinged with melancholy. The Gothic is much more and lives beyond perception, in irony, in fragments of dreams, nightmares and distant memories. It knows what you truly desire, and those things that you whisper in the darkest of shadows. The Gothic is everywhere and is part of us from birth to death. Old ladies with skin like parchment, whispering behind fans in an overheated Southern church, are Gothic. Mansions with gables, cupulas, abandoned swimming pools, faded family images, a crucifix with candles illuminating a darkened room, Budapest, the Bayou, and the Pere Lachaise Cemetery, anywhere Spanish moss drapes over dying trees and night blooming jasmine perfumes the evening air are quintessential Gothic. The silence of a graveyard, rosaries, painted dolls, lace fans, wrought iron candelabras and Victorian jewelry woven from the hair of the dearly departed are as Gothic as absinthe, elderberry wine, rosehips and tea laced with arsenic. An ancient Bible, crepe used in mourning, or an afterbirth, preserved and passed down for generations, are touchable Gothic. Bandeleon music accompanying a couple dancing a passionate tango is Gothic, Argentine style. The Gothic encompasses all that is macabre, bizarre and curious. It lurks the shadows, in those moments when something flickers in your peripheral vision on the edge of a mirror or whispers to you in the night.