His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood (Hänen suunsa maistu koiruoholta)

Benjamin Vary

Radio Play in one act


Benjamin Vary, 2008


Narrator, flute (doubling piccolo and bass flute), micro-tonally tuned harpsichord, solo strings


Poppy Z. Brite (Finnish translation, Ilkka Äärelä)



First Performance:

Risto Kopperi narrator, Petteri Pitko harpsichord, St Michel Strings, Benjamin Vary piccolo, flute, bass flute and conductor, Mikkeli (Finland) October 31, 2008


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Commissioned for the Mikkeli City Orchestra’s Ghost-time Halloween Concert, His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood furnishes musical accompaniment to a live reading of Poppy Z. Brite’s infamous, gothic-horror story of the same name.

Despite their determination to try everything life has to offer – sex, drugs and music – nothing manages to ease the sense of emptiness suffered by our young protagonists, Louis and Howard.

Retreating to Louis’ familial mansion, (naturally deserted) on the edge of a swamp near Baton Rouge, they hit upon the idea of robbing graves to provide them with new thrills – not to mention a steady supply of absinthe.

The lure of a powerful amulet (rumoured to be buried with a white voodoo priest) proves too much for Louis, and together they descend on the graveyard in the darkness of night to steal it.

Later in the nightclub, Howard overhears how a teenage girl has been found dead by the river – “all grey and dried out, like the meat had been sucked out of her”.  Meanwhile, Louis has met an irresistibly attractive, young man who has an uncanny knowledge about voodoo…

Death. Decadence. Decay. Vampires. Voodoo. Forbidden pleasures. Youth counter culture.

His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood is a truly yucky, horrifying story that is not for the feint hearted.

Strictly for adult audiences only. Contains strong language, sexual references and adult themes.