ghost story

i had gone to the back of the room and left them telling their stories one by one with seldom an interruption. the voices gave warmth to a cool autumn morning while the delta breeze slid soundlessly across the train tracks and the torn upholstery of abandoned cars to the branches of the trees tapping on the glass all around us to get in.

i poured myself a mug of hot coffee and stirred in a bit of sugar, standing there with my back to them, listening half-heartedly and somewhere between consciousness and last night’s dream.

after a few hearty slugs of the black stuff my eyes woke up first and stared into a congregation of uneven framed black and white portraits from times before now. century old tired and long faces looked back at me and over my shoulder as if they were part of our gathering in this old meeting
hall, a former nondescript bar once with billiards for the truck drivers and laborers in the yards.

i felt a chill carry over the nape of my neck as i realized i had become some medium some conduit between my audience hung by nails alongside coffee mugs on the wall, and the living boisterous
true fellowship behind us. i stood perfectly still then

turned to see the speaker at the head of the table, an older gentleman with a way about him and expressions i would not forget to remember him by. as i turned slowly back my eyes getting larger to see, alighted on an old rusted peg, the visage of the living man! he was silent yearning to be free, framed right there before me… and in small white numerals in the corner of the photograph… i read in disbelief the year! it was 1923.

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lost ina video

He was an older man, single and retired and replete with cash, dating a woman he knew through her employment at a casino he frequented. He was forever dysconnected to a timeless place of artificial light and sound. He committed an atrocity, an even several hundred yards detached from the crime scene. He was once flesh and blood but got lost ina video poker game that never ended, and whatever connect he had to reality if any, was severed. Nobody can understand how this can happen to a man, and few will ever forgive him. His father was a known criminal and he was born into a family on the run. This cannot account for his psychotic break. He left behind him a timeless place of artificial light and sound. And thousands upon hundred thousands of broken hearts.

salt whispering

salt whispering of the great sea change


She knew the siphoning to be as surreptitious as it was dangerous down the river a ways, where community and real estate parted, where souls were handed off shamelessly to areas unincorporated and lesser know than a cold case file in a sub-basement archive a steep fall off the side of a paper trail, where who knows? met who cares? in the quicksand of the lost. shoelaces, cell phones, rolling papers, broken glass, one-eyed jacks, matchbooks with names scrawled into them, worry stones, loose change. there, gathered en masse, were those who frightened her by their differences, ghosts, salt whispering of the great sea change.

it wants me

it wants me to stay in bed
the trespass of hope
it wants me in my head
dispatching despair

it wants to convince me
i am worthless
i am nothing it wants me to stop
answering the door
and the phone

and i don’t stand a chance
it wants me to die
each new day
and again

when i am worn out and have no more to give
it wants more out of me

it wants my dignity
my self-respect
my laughter
my smile

it wants what i cannot give
what i no longer have
’cause it took it from me
already

i say

just go away!
be done with me! 
move on!

you will keep on wanting and wanting
and i will be someone
you helped me become

someone who knows how to survive you
outlast you
outshine you

someone whose pain people
see in my eyes and
draw closer

with. without you

what you were you were without adornment and adornment was nothing without you

when you left, you left your belongings behind. i thought you had forgotten them and gathered them up to return to you. there were drawings and jewelry and clothes and papers. what was missing was you. that’s when i realized these things, all this stuff, had no meaning without you. i left messages for you that you would never return. you go where you go and you take yourself with you. you would never return for your stuff. and without you it has no meaning, it can only be given away to someone in need. and we are left needing you. and i am left without you. and i miss you.

generics -iii

The association in her case was not transparent. If she introduced the darkness to light, they might achieve net neutrality and no one would have to pay. She would funnel all the nonsense down the pipes built expressly for that purpose, and run the drainage of his company into a far corner of the yard where nothing ever grew, she thought. Then reproduce the unkempt sound by some peripheral brilliance, and follow a stream into its relentless river, with side effects of curling back and slowing down. She saw herself surfing a wave and tumbling down, again and again until she got it right. The sharks would circle, yes, but she had chum to feed them. Some day she promised herself an escape from undertow, the gravity above all.

talk show generics -ii

He was demure in between binges. She was the polliwog in his flying fish fry, hiding under the curtain in the fringes. They were mutuals who secretly willed a corruption, playing hide-n-seek in a hobby lobby of manipulations. She got busy with telemarketers on the home line, keeping them guessing in a cold steep run up of daytime, followed by the evening news, the blackouts and hysterics. The whole enchilada was ready made for talk show generics. Not her. People like her.