Sin Eater

Back in 1994 there was a series of incidents in the Goth scene here where several people were badly assaulted. One of those victims was my brother, I started going to the clubs to keep an eye on him (which was hilarious because I’m a pacifist). I bought my first mobile phone and carried it with me the idea being that I could call the police should something happen again. What happened was unusual many people started talking to me and over time some shared their stories. I recently wrote a piece called Sin Eater which was based on the experience and it was originally commissioned for the Tate art gallery which was running an exhibition piece on alternative experiences. I withdrew it because I was concerned that those I wrote about may have felt I was exploiting their experiences. In the end it turned out that no one had any issues with it (too late for the exhibition still) so for your reading experience here it is.

Sin Eater


Smoke etched shadows

Crowded the halls

The night you were assaulted,

Dressed differently a bright flamingo target.


The hunter and his prey,

You and your friends

Worried mother sent her eldest

To keep watch armed only with his mobile.


A stranger in a strange land he stood out,

White coat, chinos and shirt,

Seemingly misplaced in a sea of black.


The crowd accepted him,

His reputation working within,

Cross community projects.


Before long they shared their pain,

He was only there to watch, report,

He took it all, a feast of sorrow.


From the abused artist, to the single parent,

They came to him, danced with him,

Shared with him.


He stood watch, a silent sentinel,

Against the violent hounds lurking

On street corners.


Developed an ear for the music

Helped the community until the

Time came, a victim wanting

To take a stand.


Names were given

The police acted

A man assaulted,

Reported his pain.


At last the sin eater could go his way,

The work done,

The tales consumed,

Boiled within him like a fetid stew.


Your scene has grown now

No longer afraid, you run

Alternative evenings:

Your club, Unity,

The message – one of openness.


The sin eater watches’

From the shadows of the smoke machine:

His metamorphosis complete,

Joins the meadowed

Floor of Goths,

The sin consumed.

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