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Ghosts

A House of Dreams Becomes a House of Ghosts

A photo which floated past on the internet this morning, also made this segment of one of my novels float past.

From “He Lives In The City / He Drives To The Country”

It had been a house of dreams, it was now a house of ghosts.

   Ghosts tranquil and benign peered through the dusty upper windows, stood in wait behind the boarded doors. The dreams of long ago, which had tumbled down the stairs, and frolicked through the rooms, were now memories in the minds of ghosts.     

   The ghosts were themselves memories, destined to further fade with each new birth. But there would be no births in this house, as it slid inexorably toward decay. The lackluster brown shingles would be more smudged, the remaining panes of old glass would break, the floors would warp and collapse, the unkept roof would succumb to the years of harsh weather. 

     Even the `No Trespass’ sign was barely legible. Then where would the ghosts go?

     Blaine left his car and walked toward the house. 

     If he had eyes to see, who would be there to greet him?  Would children’s dreams, fair-haired and boisterous, burst through the front door and surround him in games of tag and laughter?  Would he get caught by their enthusiasm (would he become a child himself), and race behind the trees, burrow into the hay, hide between the bins of potato and turnip, intent not to be `it’. 

     Or would he meet the ghosts, quiet and tentative at the top of the steps, moving slowly with their uncertain smiles. Would they greet him with a wave, invite him into their warm-smelling kitchens, offer him fresh tea, and squares right out of the pan?  Would he sit in the stream of fall sunlight flowing across the well-oiled floor, and talk about childhood?

     Blaine walked part way up the drive before he stopped.

     He knew what lay beyond the boarded windows, and the sagging door upon its rusty hinges. Wallpaper would be water-stained, and curling off the plaster walls. There would be lumps of refuse in the corners of the rooms, with one inevitable rusty bedframe lying on its side. There would be gaps in the ceiling, where beams of sunlight shimmered through motes of dust. There would be holes in the baseboards, where earnest rodents made comfortable homes.

     There would be musty smells offering a hint of long-ago meals, and something gone bad in the pantry. There would be one upper window (at the back) which still had a tattered lace  curtain, half obscuring what had once been totally private. At night he would hear bats.

     It was not this house he had come to see, of course. Of course, not this derelict house, which he knew could never be restored, and which was so beyond help even death slept while visiting. 

A Jack-o’-Lantern Prepares The Way For Halloween On Partridge Island

I have made a lean-to

For the Halloween Pumpkin.

It faces all incoming

And outgoing

Ships.

I check my jack-o’-lantern

On the Hour

From eight after dark,


When it’s lit,

To the first hour


Of the next day.


When it is extinguished.

It is alight for


A Trinity of Nights.

It offers the Souls


Warmth,


And a place to cluster,


Away from the Lighthouse.

Sometimes their shadows

Dim the flame.

Sometimes those incoming


And outgoing


Ships


Veer their course,

Away from Partridge Island.

Sometimes I don’t make


My hourly check.

For the Dead


At this time of year


Can be

None too friendly.


I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2021 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}

Halloween Approaches Partridge Island and the Dead Are Already Knock Knock Knocking At The Door

Paw, the cat/kitten,

Black as the dark night


With one white mitten,


Is look look looking

Over his shoulder,


To stare,

And stare.


There are hints of


The approaching ghosts,


Preparing their visit


To this world


From the Other,


On All Hallows Eve.

Paw, the cat/kitten,


Sees that they are


Moving ever closer,


And he doesn’t know


Whether to


Welcome them


Or not.


(I’m The Lighthouse Poet Laureate of Partridge Island /1821 – 2021 / A lot of stuff have I seen / A lot of stuff to report}

Ghosts At Sea Make Sailors Sing A Song

sea-shanty

And the wind is whistling past the  graveyard and past the land and past the sea and past the ships upon the sea and past the sailors upon the decks and in the companionways, tethered by their ropes and harnesses and heaving their axes and mauls against the shattering ice coating their still upright ships and even here even in this peculiar time the sailors revert to their age-old method of coping with their labours at sea and the perils of the sea and they break out into thunderous shanties – yes, even thunderous enough to best and beat the thunderous wind and crashing waves – that tell of wind and waves and women and graveyards and ghosts and the whistling that is supposed to keep the ghosts at bay, and, keep the bodies beneath the ground.

“Heave ‘er to, boys/

“Heave ‘er to and smash her down/

“Get the rhythm, boys/

“Get the rhythm so we won’t drown//

“It’s girls or ghosts, boys//

“Girls or ghosts that we next meet/

“Smash that ice boys/

“If you want our meeting sweet.”

“They’re singing about you,” says Alison Alexandra.

“And you, too,” says R/Jane-the-Ghost. “And I don’t mind if you’re the one to win.”

“It’s the wind, boys/

“Screaming like Banshees from Hell//

“Give ‘er Hell, boys/

“Or that’s where we will dwell.”

(Image) https://www.stives-cornwall.co.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/Sea-shanty.jpg

Kafka Ponders The Past And The Ghosts

 

prag-cz-3

In Kafka In The Castle I fill in Kafka’s missing diary entries. It is believed that many of the gaps in his real diaries, he removed and destroyed.

14 March 1918

The past.

 And again the past.

Why can we not be rid of that which – moreso than practically anything else in life – is gone?

I am not even sure what I get from memories. Why do I stroll along the road, reach some humble heights, and imagine (by glancing in a particular direction) I can be closer to a person or event? For even if I reached that place, there would be nothing to recapture.

I am not the me of then.

Swimming in the lake; living in a shack by the shore; climbing the mountain. None of these would mean the same to me as they did.

Even if the Swiss girl were present, and had a new song. The new me – the new she – the new us, would be swamped by our old ghosts, making comparisons no two humans could defeat.

I think the ghosts are such, she could right now walk up beside me – yes, even singing her lively song – and remain unnoticed.

The Ghosts Tread Heavy In This Time Of Pandemic

o-ghosts-facebook

There are a lot more ghosts

Now

Than there were before.

The earth,

And the heavens (of course),

Heavy

With ghosts.

Weighted down with

The new/old arrivals.

There are ghosts behind the ghosts.

There are legions of the dead,

Lined up to peer

Over my shoulder.

They breathe with satisfaction,

Upon the hand

That writes the word

Ghosts.

The millions of departed,

Disturb the air enough,

To stir the hair,

On my moving wrist.

They keep a place in line,

Patiently waiting,

For me to join them.

[Image] https://s-i.huffpost.com/gen/1315880/images/o-GHOSTS-facebook.jpg

Death And Satan Are So Often Holding Hands

Even though my current novel is a picaresque, and *relatively* care-free. it goes to other places, as all life must. So, with Alison Alexandra about to go a round with Old Nick, I resurrect this following segment from There Has Been A Sighting, my first Satan novel.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mr. S. unexpectedly takes her arm, and begins to lead her along a winding, flagstone path. She has never seen such large pieces of the stone, and they glisten as if polished. 
      The path skirts a small stand of black spruce before it continues to the river. He stops her at the mouth of a gravel walkway leading through the trees.
      “Let’s pop in here.”
      “Your little acre of the Black Forest?”
      “Hardly an acre.”
      “Precision.” Breeze laughs. “Whatever would my father think of you?”
      “Does any father think well of any man when his daughter is concerned?”
      “Probably not.”
      “No,” agrees Mr. S. “So not to worry.”
      “He would think even less of someone leading his daughter down the garden path,” observes Breeze.
      “That would be before he saw what I am about to show you.” 
      Mr. S. holds her arm tightly, and guides her onto the gravel walk. It leads directly to the base of a tree, then makes an abrupt curve between the largest of the spruce. 
      One of the boughs is so low Breeze ducks her head. She has the sensation of being in the midst of a forest, for the heavy branches obscure the surroundings.
      “If I may be permitted a moment of drama.” 
      Mr. S. covers her eyes and speaks softly. 
      “Will you turn to your right, and take a few steps?”
      Even though he had asked, Breeze is startled as he gently eases her forward, and she feels a slight urge to resist him. Her steps are more cautious than the gravel walkway demands, and the press of his body is noticeable. She counts her footsteps under her breath. She is surprised when they stop at half a dozen, and he quickly removes his hand.
      “She’s beautiful.” Breeze stares, open-mouthed.
      “Yes.” Mr. S. is pleased. “I think so, too.”
      “An angel in the woods.”
      “The angel of peace.” Mr. S. walks her around the statue. “Not at all bad for a knockoff.” He pauses behind the wings.
      “A knockoff?”
      “A reproduction.” He puts his foot on the pedestal, and leans forward. “I don’t really know how old it is. Certainly last century – possibly before.” He points to the blue folds. “I’ve had the paint cleaned and touched up. Is it too garish?”
      “It … it stands out.” Breeze hunts for a word. “Let’s call it vibrant.”
      “They said it was probably close to the original colour.” Mr. S. walks around the statue and again halts beside Breeze. “Since she stands in so much shade, it’s for the best she stands with lots of colour.”
      “Do you believe in angels?”
      “I’ve just had a night-long fight with Satan. I have to believe in angels.”
      “Does she have a name?” Breeze leans forward to inspect the angel’s outstretched hand.
      “I’ve never given her one.”
      “That’s one of your suspicious half answers.” Breeze grins.
      “When Mother Ursula spoke to her, she called her `Pet’.”
      “Pet?”
      “`How are we today, Pet?’ `You got a soaking last night, 
Pet’.” Mr. S. glances at the statue’s face. “That sort of thing.”
      “Oh.” Breeze also decides to look at the angel’s face. “It’s not what you’d call a Christian name.”
      “Ursula would get a laugh out of that.” Mr. S. smiles slightly. “And so would the angel.” He turns toward Breeze. “And so do I.” He takes her hand. “Which is probably your intent, so I won’t again slip into the past tense when talking about Ursula.”
      “She’s not dead yet.”
      “Her living will gives the machines seventy-two hours.” Mr. S. looks at the angel. “I suspect it’s a wry Christian reference.”
      “So if she rises on the third day, we won’t be surprised.”
      “You have more optimism than even the Sisters.” He glances at her. “And they tend the machines.”
      “Machines have their place.”
      “Yes.” Mr. S. releases her hand. “But so does death.”

{Image} https://pictures.abebooks.com/LAWBOOKEXC/30356379021_3.jpg

When The Ghosts Escape

1c9d05b5df9fd8b43933b0a382686fde

When ghosts escape
Where
(quite frankly)
Do they go?
 
A question that is
(quite frankly)
Only slightly more
Problematic
Than
Where do they
Come from?
 
It’s a grave question
Worthy to be
Unearthed.
 
And how,
When the ghosts
Escape,
Do we
Find them?
 
Where do we look?
 
How will we see
What we can’t see?
 
For ghosts,
Once they escape,
Like to sneak up
Behind you
&
Look over your shoulder.
 
They want to see
What you are doing.
 
They want to
Make comments.
 
They want to go
“BOO!”
And scare
The living shit
Outta you.
 
Because
(let’s face it)
That’s just
The way
Ghosts
Are.

The Ghosts In The Fog

robbie-george-sea-smoke-rises-up-around-maine-s-portland-head-light-on-a-cold-winter-s-day
I can see my hand
In the fog,
And
The building,
Across the street.
 
That is about all.
 
So, I know
The ghosts,
Are not
As close
As they sound.
 
The Ghosts sound like Fog Horns
 
And that’s what folk
Up
And down
The coast
Say
That they are.
 
Fog Horns.
 
But – they aren’t.
 
They are ghosts that moan,
And wail,
And cough,
And even
Sputter,
On the wind,
In the fog,
Where they can hide
Out in the open.
 
It is true that they do moan
For ships.
That they do give warnings
In the fog,
Where they can not
Be seen,
Because they look
Like fog.
 
They give warnings
Because
They have all come
From ships,
Where once they lived.
 
But now they don’t.
 
They went down with ships
At sea
And
Along the coast
To their
Cold and wet
Death.
 
Days ago
Years ago
Centuries ago.
 
To be buried at sea
Is not
To be buried
At all.
~ D.E. BA U.E.
(image) imgc.allpostersimages.com/images/P-473-488-90/89/8955/8SOR300Z/posters/robbie-george-sea-smoke-rises-up-around-maine-s-portland-head-light-on-a-cold-winter-s-day.jpg

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