otter marks, plastic, heavy potpourri, pie, potatoes, salmons, taste of wind, cold wind, wet, walk behind building warm, hospital, beams and plaster, operating theater, narrow stairs, in that space, in that room, attic, what smell?
And these are of them.
Where are the dead? smooth marrowstone cliff face, sound of helicopter like the air in southern California,
Ordinary wonder at the world’s bits of order
Every moment is ghost once it is past. Nothing of time makes it linear
makes ordinary experience
One my children were here and once I was family
To be conscious is not to be in time
Once was a man with a broken neck
I am the remnant
of what history was on about
This is my ghost story—What I know is nothing more than breath. What I miss is something I do not know or that I’ve contrived or that is a space.
Here is a place of disaffection
My ghost story, the remnants of what I was once, a man with a broken neck. Contrivance, space in the air, a lick of icecream, a river otter, a bit of driftwood.
At the still point of a turning
gas like sulfur or nitrogen richness, the absence of smoke and a mist rising,
still point of a turning world
a flash of lightning when my head hits the counter, numb pinky and water in my hair, wet head, numb toes, the give under my feet,
I feel for you I feel
Sealions barking splash raise self up silhouette water wakes wind in trees like paper flapping, two bald eagles, crows playing, line of gulls. Once were children here once was family. Now it’s only the hanged man, his neck cocked oddly, he’s got bright eyes.
When everything is revelation
taste of cold, taste of the inside of my mouth, chocolate like a narcotic hands yellow numb, the cracked and opened tree the tree inside the tree, smooth bark and curved, shadow and rough outer like a seed or nut cracked, the engulfing, the way the moss hands like reaching down to you the way it bows
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children
moments of hemlock, the high small birds, the chickadees and kinglets, water, sound of water running and of rain, and the sound of anxiety in voices, the small birds so high up and high pitched, the sound of wren, of robin, bald eagle bald eagle bald eagle, shrew all sight, once was family
what seemed corporeal melted
the spooked mule with the dragging rope and they carried it down and there was something like a wind that passed by, smell of potpourri. Frog and deformed and living inside of this. Texture of greens if it could possibly be captured without focus and the smooth brown. Fire nearby
And into breath
Your deformity renders you unrecognizable. Your broken neck renders you appalling. Your ghosts render you horrifying.
Upon the heath
the abundance of wrens, the Bewick’s on every spare branch, the wrens calling at me calling for Saint Stephen’s and the empty rooms where someone wrote about ghosts
ere set of sun
Things were good between us once
once I was here and I was a family. Once my children were here and once was a family there is a hole right there and why always is it scratch scratch scratching at my window because it is not but an ache and the ice cream the hiking up the windswept hill of grass the water and beach all along a dog and then
Out out damn
The ghost picked up a blade but its hands passed through. The ghost told her not to pass that way and she paid attention, his neck was at an odd angle
I am faint
Once was family once was family once was
my gashes cry
My ghost my memories pointed up the hill, away from the path.
So should he look /That seems to speak things strange
Away from tree where he’d hanged, neck crack, 93 years before. The tree now struck by lightning, now laid down in the moss and ferns.
So should she look
This room was inhabited once. Notice how the stairs have been worn, with black on the white and a dipping in the middle. I can imagine I see someone’s face next to mine in the mirror. I’m always alone I was so alone I am alone
I’ll do, I’ll do, and I’ll do.
And what do I believe? it can lock itself
I’m haunted by my own ghost standing at its trees along the path, warning me off and warning me to the road, or telling me to just stay there, not to move, here be monsters, because once I cross by, once I walk the path, you’ll be there waiting
and I’ll be lost.
* * *
Quotes are by William Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, Susan Neiman, Aaron Mccolough