ghosts in the wind


I didn’t pay the bills electric,
now no lights electric,
just a fluid glimmer—
the ghosts from yesterday
illuminate my ectoplasmic reading.

Outside a spinning wind is rising,
furrowing the earth and sky,
and on the far horizon, mechanical invaders
with razored paddle wheels
scalpel air to vortices,
curling slinkies that cannot be

The doors and windows rattle and shiver;
the nervous ghosts are clustered
at stagnation points,
compressed in cupboards and corners.

One’s a blur, a cloud of butterflies, albino,
and a disembodied voice.

Might I summarize?
A consortium of ghosts, unpaid bills, inclement weather,
blade-running androids,
and of reality,
not a sprinkle.

Help me with the house, I say,
we’ll seal it like an ebay purchase,
with cardboard, foam and shrink wrap.

I think not. It’s best that we go free,
and she calls to all the others,
Who will join me?
We’ll face the turbulence together.

A window cracks and shatters, they’re drawn outside
to airborne dissipation,
striations fading,

Except for their liaison officer
who’s holding tight to me.

You lied to them.

Every lover lies,
love’s language is convenience, not truth.
Put your glasses on.

The blur has coalesced—
a human, close enough,
it’s still a little breezy though,
and she whispers in my ear:

I never feel more alone
than when I’m here with you.


  • Bernouilli’s principle—when the pressure falls in a moving fluid, other fluids may be entrained, also ghosts.
  • I sing the body electric, originally a Walt Whitman poem (1855), used by Ray Bradbury as the name for his 1969 short story collection. Apart from the content, a marvelous title. Icing the body electric would be good too.
  • Ana Carolina, 8 Estórias (Portuguese).


25 thoughts on “ghosts in the wind

  1. Every lover lies,
    love’s language is convenience, not truth.
    Put your glasses on.

    i can’t speak for everyone, but i think this has been true in my case quite often in my life. wish it wasn’t, but alas… i sorta like I-Ching the Bawdy Eclectic.

    • I was going to add a disclaimer (the ideas expressed are not necessarily those of the author) but didn’t. They’re an extension of the Ana Carolina song which resonates with me for the same reason. Hope hides in the detail– “quite often” is not the same as “always” 😉

  2. Wow. The myriad of emotions I went through, once again. (Including ones I am not actually sure are emotions…)
    Another great read. And chuckle at times. And that ending!

    • Thanks. Emotional response is good, mmm, except for a few that might arise when you see particular politicians in news grabs 🙂 .

      I’m not actually sure what emotions are. The straightforward ones are okay, like when you spill your coffee in the keyboard and the short circuit makes multiple unwanted purchases on ebay (not that I don’t like plush penguins, but you can only have so many). Other feelings are hard to name or even describe, like the sensation of being in a room filled with plush penguins.

      The ending – no comment 🙂 .

    • Years ago I visited the Osaka Aquarium and brought one back for my daughter. It’s a multi-storey building and the Antarctic area was fascinating, temperature and everything else carefully controlled. Midsummer and I was trying to find a way to get in there with the penguins. 🙂

    • hahaha double like.
      That whole eBay scenario creates even more questions in my mind, but I think I will let them rest haha, although, I am intrigued to know exactly what emotion/s come/s up for you in that process, the buying, that is, not the room full lol.
      The ending is relatable, I’m sure, to many people. It’s an intriguing phenomenon to me. But seeing it in black and white, I don’t know, it’s a stunning way to end it.
      Ooooohhhh I completely forgot to tell you, I rewrote the last line of a poem for you, part of your comment made me laugh and I couldn’t help playing with it then.
      But I refuse to remove the animals entirely lol. 😛

    • In the over-rated real world, one of my hobbies is making mistakes (I have accidentally destroyed a computer with a mini-tidal wave of coffee), but I try get over them pretty quickly, ie, not beat myself up (anger at self), resolve to pay more attention in future 🙂 , and do what I can to fix them. I also try to accept responsibility, not “they should have made that computer coffee proof,” although I dont always succeed 🙂 .

      The ending came to me in a dream. Ha ha, not. It felt right I suppose, and for me it’s fascinating to read what people think about it. Since there are several comments, I’ve said a bit more below under Candy’s comment.

      Thank you so much for the dedication and the rewrite, but coming back to my mistake hobby–mistake no 1: I missed your reply, mistake no 2: “apart from the animals” was ambiguous. I should have written “even apart from the animals.” I am so sorry, and in terms of emotions in case you’re interested, I’m colored red 😳 .

    • Well then, it looks like we have a hobby in common…
      I can’t tell you how it still haunts me, years later, after I accidentally spilled a glass of wine on someone else’s computer, someone I had just met, after I had moved his glass out of the way lest that got accidentally spilled…he was a friend of a friend, they were photographers and they were showing me photos on his work computer…it was their work do, hence the wine, long story…
      Please don’t be coloured red. It was just a misunderstanding. 🙂

  3. So much going on in this poem (and illustration). All fascinating and even a bit of popular culture for the future readers a few hundred years from now about Ebay! As a word archaeologist, I adore it!

    • Thank you, Poet. So if there are future readers in some unforeseeable way, it will be “Where’s ebay and do they have clean water and breathable air?”

      I also like words in a passing acquaintance sort of way, and I’ve read tidbits about their provenance when I’ve noticed something surprising and chased it up. Sometimes I even wonder whether meaning might be important and whether I should stop stringing sounds together at random 😀 .

  4. Ooh. that one made me shiver! I love the slinkies, the cloud of butterflies. Love it all. The last sentence is chilling and comforting at the same time. How do you do that??

    • Thanks so much BG. Since you asked, I’m going to explain my writerly secret. Step 1: Pinot Grig, Chard, Sav Blanc or even red, but not all at once; step 2: pay attention to the first silly thought that comes into my head; step 3: calm my mind, and write down the thought that came before that. Then back to 1, repeating as necessary 😛 .

      I’m guessing you’re not talking about a conflict of feelings, but a more complex emotion. Vanessa (say no …) said something similar above. I think we’re capable of far more emotional complexity than the media would have us believe.

      I’m looking through the pending comments, and apparently I’ll be writing about the ending in a couple of minutes so I’m stopping here before I write a short novel 🙂 . (Translation note: in Australian English, a couple of minutes is anywhere between several hours and several days.)

    • Well, b4 you give your ending away (or I get to reading it), here’s my feelings about it the possible double meaning. At first, I thought oh no – that’s like my ex-husband. Feeling alone (lonely) when with him. Then I thought– but when I’m with someone I’m really comfortable with I’m not at all self-conscious, so it’s similar to being alone (not lonely). That’s my two cents, worth at least a quarter. 🙂 And now for some breakfast.

    • Worth way more than that–solitude or loneliness, the zone of comfort or what lies beyond (probably battle androids), we decide and bring all the ghosts with us. Hope it wasn’t a number of coffees like mine 🙂 .

  5. How true it can be that someone feels more alone with someone than without. Also, I love your combination of ghosts and androids, right next to language like unpaid bills and inclement weather. (That last adjective about weather made me laugh!) Even your comment about Icing the body electric makes me laugh. You’re very funny and thought provoking, as usual.

    • Thanks Candy, glad you enjoyed. You know I really appreciate the comment discussions, not just for the odd bit of amusement, but the insights and thoughts help me to clarify my own thinking, maybe see myself and my poetry in relation to others.

      I completely agree about being alone with someone. A friend of mine told me that fantasy has a lot to do with that. If we’re lost in any kind of fantasy we can’t really be present with someone close. He told me he’s experienced it from both sides of Joni Mitchell’s clouds. No, really, a friend … hahaha.

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