by Jonathan Taylor

Even the weather was in on the act,
shrouding Whitby Abbey in fog,
whipping up the sea into half-hearted
choppiness. The hotel was packed
with taxidermy, imbecilic mammals
grinning from every corner,
out-of-tune pianos which could
play themselves. Dracula Museum
broadcast doom to the harbour
and all the fish and chip shops.

We were there with our twins
(which should’ve been uncanny
but wasn’t). In the two-penny
arcade a guy with a bleeding fist
threatened to punch me, seemed
for a moment the one genuine thing
in the place. But even he couldn’t
be bothered in the end.

PHOTO: Whitby Abbey (North Yorkshire, U.K.) from Dracula’s Whitby by Ian Thompson (Amberley Publishing, 2012).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem is very much based on truth: we recently took our twins to Whitby — the coastal town on the Northeast coast of Britain, where part of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is set — for a couple of days. It really was “shrouded in fog,” and the sea really was stormy; but even the twins didn’t seem fazed by any of the gothicisms surrounding them.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jonathan Taylor is an author, lecturer, critic, and editor. His books include the novel Melissa (Salt, 2015), the memoir Take Me Home (Granta, 2007), and the poetry collection Musicolepsy (Shoestring, 2013). He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Leicester in the UK. He is father of twin girls, Miranda and Rosalind. His website is jonathanptaylor.co.uk.