Category: poem

Wish

This is a rather haunting piece, inspired (I think) by my recent watching of Outlander.

Wish

I wish for a spectre, something

to remind me of you and your deadly ways.
I have your grave dirt in my hair, the Polaroids
of you that turned out black, your cracked tooth

I wear as a talisman.

I desire more,

your tattered burial shroud,
your spider-webbed thoughts,
the cross you refused to wear

because it clashed with your hell-fire flesh.

Finally, your shade comes,

spreading cold like a disease,
your hands open to mine.
We touch, and I realize my mistake.

You smile as I turn to mist,

and in this gray land, I search for you,
growing accustomed to not breathing,
easing into the idea I may never see you again.

Reunion (poem)

This has something to do with the passing of Leonard Cohen. At least, I suspect it does. Or maybe it’s just another meditation on mortality. Either way, when I finished, I sighed and slowly tried to disentangle myself from the world of the poem. I wasn’t entirely successful, as I’m still thinking about these two hours hence.

Reunion

When she could no longer feel
her arms (her legs went years ago)
she summoned him with her mind:
You must come now. No questions.

He arrived at dawn, boiling with fear,
grinding his teeth into paste.
He found her in the garden, facing
east, whispering to a makeshift sun.

He gathered her up swiftly, kindly
and offered a blue prayer to anything
that would listen, any god or mortal
with the power to turn minutes into hours.

Nuptials

Like many of my poems, I’m not entirely sure what this is about. I think it needs a few more drafts, but I’m intrigued but it.

Nuptials

I feel for the meat hooks and the tender eyes
that patrol the harbor, the insincere toasts
given at my oldest brother’s wedding the day
of the monsoon when all renounced figgy pudding
and said, “The hell with Christmas, we’re going
to Azerbaijan for the so-called holidays.”

And so we did, dooming my redoubtable brother
and his his Manichean bride, large of eye and heart,
to swim the coldest waters of Tungsten Sound
and fly desolate paper airplanes from the dirty beach.
We sent them a postcard burned at the edges.
It read, in part, “There’s an edge of the world.”

Story

Story

He found subtlety in her spaghetti,
which was reason enough to marry.
She loved the coal-dust in his laughter
and how when he ate her food he got fatter.
The hills around them rotated ten times
before he collapsed in a hole and died.
Her people told her to move on, but it was
ten more years before she learned to get along.

The Man and the House

The Man and the House

The lawn mower creaked and moaned, discontent as always. Face high rank, it said, expecting the grass to waver like an unsure jury. Oh, shut up, the blades said. Crab grass. Typical.

The chair rocked back and forth and decided the kitchen clock needed dismantling. It went into kitchen and said, “Your gears are mine.” The kitchen clock suffered its fate with characteristic integrity.

The bedroom was witness to fire but kept it to itself, even when the man shook a broom at it and shouted, “Give up your secrets!” The bedroom muttered resolve to itself. Mum was the scorched word.

The bathroom cried itself to sleep.

The garage fantasized it was a root cellar.

The man, shaggy and dumbstruck, stood in the middle and calculated risk.

Dear, yet Cursed, Rachel

 

I’m still around, though not writing as much due to the demands of my new job. I’m teaching English to 8th graders, most of whom regard me with cool disregard or outright contempt…but there are some who get me. I sense a few sparks flickering to life, and that’s encouraging. I still come home tired–and some days plain exhausted–but I haven’t been so drained of energy that I’ve started siphoning from my spirit.  Taking spiritual energy and repackaging it to give away to young people who can’t help but be vampiric, especially those who have little or no support at home, took a disastrous toll on me when I last taught in public school. Not again, say I.

I’m determined to find a way to write more. Twenty minutes a day is reasonable, and I can build from there.  In that spirit, below is the first poem I’ve written in weeks. Weirdness, it seems, is still with me.

Dear, yet Cursed, Rachel

“I hope you don’t mind a little bit of blood,” said Dear Rachel,
unleashing a torrent of red upon my finest carpets—recently cleaned!—
and heaving a crimson sigh that colored the rest of my days,

numbered as they were, I know, counted and sifted by a cowardly
man using the sky as cover and the clouds as disgusting, disguising agents,
oh, how I knew, and yet—AND YET!—Dear Rachel commits to a visit
and has the bitterest gall to bleed and bleed and bleed freely for at least an hour,

during which time I prayed (I’m ashamed to say!) and called upon friends
near and far to remove her, to chain her, to lock her away and swallow the key,
kill and bury themselves in an old-growth forest so nothing but nurse logs
would know the fate of the vile metal and Dear Rachel would be Cursed Rachel
and then forever forgotten, erased as surely as my lineage which dates back to

“Invisible Daughter and Ghost Dog” and “The Tallest Man in the Room” (published poems)

I have two poems out in White Ash Literary Magazine, but since the journal is print only, I wanted to share the poems here. They’re two of my favorites.

Invisible Daughter and Ghost Dog

My wife hates when she does it —
her face goes blank, her limbs slacken,
and then she blinks out of sight.
Behold, my invisible daughter

or behold her as I do during these times
by listening for telltale signs she’s about —
the soft padding of her feet, her anxious breath
as she pretends she wholly gone

and not just temporarily unseeable.
If she goes outside, you can still hear her
summoning Cinnamon, our erstwhile Chihuahua
just recently upgraded to ghost status.

“I go invisible to see him,” my daughter says
and I play along, pretending she doesn’t
also get a crazy kick out of startling people
and rooting around in drawers with no fear

of being caught, except by me, possessed
of nearly supernatural hearing. It suits
me well, given my daughter’s predilection
for vanishing, and my old dog’s mysterious whines.

I often sit with him in my lap, and I only
know he’s there by feeling his bony back,
his freezing nose, his tattered fur.
My daughter smiles in approval.

At least, I think she does.

____________________________________________

The Tallest Man In The Room

Emboldened by bourbon
and an alarmed biological clock,
she–sunny, petite–
approached him.

His shoe was half
the length of her lower leg.
If she willed it, she could shrink
herself down to doll-size
and place herself
in his pocket, there to dance
with his loose change.

She looked up.
“Hi,” she said.

He looked down.
“Hi,” he said back.

Thus it began.

An End and a Beginning

I am here, newly born, forged from the fires of adversity and the long shadows of self-loathing. Long have I crawled the shores of despair, riven by thirst only to find the bitter gall or rejection and alienation. I continue searching, praying to distant gods, and…

…okay, enough of that shite. All I’ve done is make this blog my “official” home (as a Poet and a Writer, replete with capital letters because I’m special). It’s now writingforghosts.com because I like the name and don’t plan on changing it even when I become rich and famous and hole up in a dismal castle somewhere.

Some of you will note that this site has far fewer posts than before. I made a number of them private because I may still pilfer from them, but I want to start fresh. New voices, new freewriting sessions, new everything.

Don’t take anything too seriously on this site, not even the poems, characters, and stories. Especially take with a truckload of salt anything I say about myself or others. As the late, great Kurt Vonnegut wisely says, “All persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental.”

Stuff to follow. I hope you dig it, but if you don’t, that’s fine. The world is wide, the blogs are plentiful, and magic abounds. And I’d like to think a little of that magic lives here.

-RC