The Neo-emo-Goths

Where did they come from…

this army

of adolescent



Where did they come from…

with the zippered hoodies

that look like the skin

of neon zebra.


Where did they come from…


they identify

themselves with a name I’m not cool enough to know, let alone speak.

I think of them as neo-emo-goths.


Where did they come from…

Wherever it was

there must have been no sun.

They are so pale.

And they maybe played the paino.

With those long boney white fingers.


Where did they come from…

With these elven-waif features

and collar length hair

too apathetic for naturally-occuring color or texture


Where did they come from…

It must have been a place

where men only

were allowed product

for fingernails and eyes, lips and cheeks.

It must have been a place

with a surplus

of Nightmare Before Christmas



Where did they come from…

was it an underground dwelling

with roots poking through the low roof

where they were lined up

bony hip jabbing bony hip

where they were in a catatonia



until some

unspoken signal

triggered the Great Emergence

of the Gothic Groundhog Patrol?


Where did they come from…

Countless suburban closets

where they hung

upside down on pull-up bars

in silence

for years

patiently waiting

for the whole rap chic thing

to run its course?


Where did they come from…

perhaps they arrived from

some faerie world

on magical ships

with long sails unfurled…

Were those shopping malls deemed

as good a beachhead as any?


Wherever they came from

There is this cross-generational connection

It only last a moment.


(S)he is buying a stack

of C.D.s that evoke my childhood:

Oingo Boing

Morrisey The Cure

Madness, Pixies– of course the Pixies

and Sinead


The purchased is bagged

(s)he turns to face me and ruins the moment

with a Billy Idol whiplash smile

I realize this great confusion:

Is this schmaltz or for real

Is this camp or a home in the 80’s…

When you live

in a world fortified with irony

The sarcasm soon becomes

the very air that you breathe.


(This poem was my submission to Randy Elrod’s Wednesday Watercooler.  Click  here. to read the great posts at this gathering of great posts.)


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

2 thoughts on “The Neo-emo-Goths”

  1. Thanks for hosting the watercooler, and for your comments here on the site… Your encouragement is appreciated.


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