No Masks Here

Yesterday I came across an untitled poem by Upashna that refused to quite let go.

Dusk pours her dregs of light on the weary bones draped in a corrugated yellow skin threading the silk suture
A melange of reverberations in the air-
a distinct chirp of hatchlings
calling it’s dame at prey,
the yellow tailed black cockatoo
spils it’s heart in gay.
while the nightingale sings it’s repertoire for the mind forsaken in love..…

Untitled, Upashna

I found it both beautiful yet also ineffably disturbing. I realised why it summoned a sense of alluring dread when I logged into YouTube to see this Graham Plowman composition as a recommendation:

The echoing was inescapable: as soon as I saw such a blatant message, I realised the poem evoked the King in Yellow too. A most worrying circumstance.

Frequent readers might be wondering why I might find two references to the King in Yellow worrying or even surprising: I am after all, a fan of Lovecraft and similar authors.

However, I don’t tend to listen to vlogs, Lovecraftian or not, and my Lovecraftian music fix is fulfilled by the HPLS albums I own rather than dark ambient on YouTube; so to have the recommendation appear not merely on the homepage but in first place suggested some vast alien process behind the pretence of popular music and talking heads.

Worse, when I reread the poem, the references were no longer obvious. And do not Chamber’s fictions of “The King in Yellow” focus on literature as a mask over reality?

Of course, there are myriad mundane explanations, multiple ways it needn’t be some vast decadent imminence intersecting with my fiction-suit. Perhaps it is, as others say, merely the strain of too much typesetting fueled only by black coffee.

But cannot they see his waxing decay in the very heart of such? The aesthetics of literature and a stimulating drug! Next they will say Una was fed this morning!

(Read the poem. It is rather good.)

9 thoughts on “No Masks Here

    1. The prophet Chambers speaks of tatters.

      Some see a connection between the King in Yellow and that masked creature which rules deep within the Plateau of Leng, a creature whispered to be of the same disturbingly plump stock as the Moon Beasts.

      So, xanthous ribbons trailing in the breeze of another realm or some hint of flabby tendrils within the hood would fit, but a cloak that ends in tentacles does seem a touch off.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Indeed! Lovecraft describes the High Priest Not to Be Described as “robed in yellow silk with red and having a yellow silken mask over its face.”

          The closest we get to a description of the King in Yellow’s face in Chambers is an assumed link to “the pallid mask”. However, Chambers does say the “tatters of the King” are hiding Yhtill which could be suggestion of a creature masquerading as a man.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. The strongest fear is fear of the unknown.

              There is something darkly pleasing about sources disagreeing on whether Hastur is a being or a place and how Hastur and the King in Yellow exactly fit together. My current theory is some composite: after all, if Yog-Sothoth can be a set of spheres then why can’t Hastur be a living city ruled by itself from a different time/space co-ordinate.

              This is why I don’t consider most of the Gordon/Yuzna films as Lovecraftian horror: they are definitely based on the stories, but are very much centred on the mundane horror of rubbery gore.

              Liked by 1 person

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