Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Post About a Ghost

I just read this post by Sarah Sloat.  Her new chapbook is out from Dancing Girl Press.  I just ordered my copy, you should get one for yourself, as I don't share well. Her post referenced the blog Via Negativa, where I became enamored of the ghost poems published there.  Here's a ghost poem of mine.  I just read it the other night at a reading in a de-sanctified church, with a pale Jesus stretching his arms out behind me on the wall.


In the concert hall in Evanston I met my dead sister,
I could sense
her bulk when I closed my eyes; she was silent
and invisible,
two years gone, shot in the head with a stolen
gun, killed
by her own determined hand, and in the dark theater
I reached over
and briefly touched that hand, now made of air, held
her cold hand, while on stage
Greg Laswell sang his songs, which repeat
and repeat
that all of us are broken.

Do our sad dead return? Sister oh my sister I want
to believe
but I do not believe—I listened
to the music,
I’d downed three glasses of mediocre
red wine
and fancied I sensed you, a presence. But
I write this
in daylight, away from music, away from booze and all its
suggestions; I’m riding
the train, dust swirls across an asphalt lot, dust,
some dry leaves, Kathleen

are you with me today? There’s a seat free
next to me
on my commute, oh dear dead and intangible sister,
in this moment
could I reach out and hold your lost hand? Might I myself
live beyond
the imperfections and needs of the body? But here’s
what I know:
I spoke
to kindly men in blue suits, I initialed the forms,
every portion
of the ruin of you given over
to the crematorium’s

Some say this world will end in fire.