Friday night at the Ghostery on Relentable Drive,
and a whirl of leaves blew in,
took my vaguely personal shape.

Talcum-powdered others
like to do their ghosting,
whispering and wispy pale,
but I don’t play that game,
I’m as solid as a memory
of a memory.

A translucent stranger glowed nearby,
with a nimbus and a greater unifying theory.
My unwritten cache was empty,
so I mentioned a mélange of leaves
and people I would rather be.

She told me she was a traveler
from an antique store beyond Orion’s Belt,
and spoke of suburbs I had never visited,
of twenty first century metrics,
of the floral compass of our thoughts,
of Pompeiians and Atlanteans,
their inverse inconvenience,
and said that she could play the lyre
like a lyrebird.

And what of you?

I remember guileless and plotless days
when every sunfall showered
cabochon-cut crystals,
mostly semiprecious

when everyone was harlequins, and edible crayons
filled up all 
my carefree line-drawn pages

when all I saw was bones and x-rayed flesh,
disintegrating radium emanations

and I never finished a sentence or a verse
or analyzed my incoherence

Now living is a song that I don’t like,
with unimpressive grey-scale lyrics
and thistle flowers for dinner,
a compendium of rocks and fish—
twelve metamorphic pages and a tail fin so far.


When the Ghostery moved on,
she took me to Nocturnia,
the museum of abandonment,
where autoluminous trilobites
and pearly ruinations were inlaid
in the marble floor and columned walls.

It was later than it had been,
and I lived so far away whenever I was lost.
I told the traveler I would spend the night’s remains
in any cozy alcove.

I must sleep beneath a covering:
an obsession, I’m afraid,
also not to blow away.

I found some esoterica disassembled in a corner,
a blanketing of bolts and broken pottery,
paper macchiato.

I’m wondering, in the daylight, would you
consider haunting my apartment?

Good night, she said, and wished me
sweet realities.

Another Ghostery is software; Ozymandias, Shelley (1818); Nocturnia is the Land of Night.

nightscape with milk thistle (part above)

32 thoughts on “ghostery

  1. So many great lines and phrases…
    ‘I’m as solid as a memory of a memory,’ and ‘I lived so far away whenever I was lost’ are my favourites. Wonderful writing!

    • Thanks Nikita, I try to stick to the facts. Sort of. Possibly facts from dreams. 😃 I think dreams are made from memories, so when we remember a dream, it’s a memory of a memory.

  2. I like your shape being fashioned by a whirl of leaves. As usual with your poetry I would like to read it many times because it is such a pleasure and so uniquely surprising. Thank you.

    • The leaves might be more a state of mind than anything else. It’s a question anyone can ask themselves, how do they see themselves from the inside? The answer isn’t always the same, but it’s interesting. My pleasure, Margaret.

  3. She sounds more faerie-like than ghost-y. Where she came from sounds really interesting. So many great lines here, as always. 🙂

    • Thank you, Annie. That’s true, although the line is blurred in the fantasy world, where ghosts don’t always have sheets over their heads. 😃 In fact, fantasy rules can be made up as you go along, which I find quite appealing. Perhaps she was exaggerating a little, it’s hard to know.

    • You’re welcome! I get ya. That’s why I escape to my fantasy world from time to time. I’m the one making up the rules there. 😊

    • Me too, don’t know why, maybe because they ruled the planet once. I have no Italian but my Portuguese is okay and and usually close, that’s where the paper came from.

      The sweet realities seemed right for the ending, glad it amused. We all have to face up to reality sooner or later, although I try to avoid it whenever possible. 😃

    • Hah-Hah —- the PAPER! I guess that’s where the coffee-topper “dusting” came from.

      From trilobites to megabytes…. Now THEY rule the day.

    • Thanks, Peter. I have an explanation for the lyre phrase which will undoubtedly make it more confusing. 😃 In Portuguese there is an expression “to be of the lyre,” which may mean lyrical as in English, but also to live in a Bohemian/independent/heartfelt way.

  4. Do the edible crayons taste as sweet as scented markers smell? They would be terribly addictive, methinks.
    Sleeping beneath a covering is a must for me as well, even though I’m not made of leaves.
    How nice of the translucent stranger to wish you sweet realities! 🙂

    • To be honest, Magarisa, it’s been a while since I’ve eaten a crayon. 😃 When I was a child, I did sample them although they weren’t the edible ones. I must buy some and try them.

      I suspect it’s generally good not to be made of leaves, with a few exceptions, e.g., if you’re a birdwatcher or on a secret mission in the jungle. With the cover, yes, from what I’ve seen, it’s a personal thing that doesn’t just depend on the environment.

      Nice, but the “realities” raises a number of questions. I think that one way we know dreams are dreams is that they don’t have a continuity or development from one night to the next, they are separate (even if they repeat). If they did, it would be “sweet dream,” and we might start wondering which was reality (as in fantasy stories).

  5. Oh boy. This one blew me away like your whirl of leaves! You are such a wellspring of imagery. “I remember guileless and plotless days when every sunfall showered cabochon-cut crystals, mostly semiprecious.” Your wishful look back at the past with its edible crayons takes me there – no analyzing back then. I’m going to read this several times just for pleasure. No ANALyzing!

    • I don’t think it hurts to look back fondly every now and then, especially when you’re up to your neck in today’s “lifestyle.” For a child everything just is, no need for plans and complications.

      I remember when I was very young, looking up at my father one morning as he was shaving. He said “Can you do this?” He had an upper denture plate from an accident, and he slid it forward. I tried and tried with my tongue, but I just couldn’t push my teeth out. This is being guileless. 😃 Thank you for sharing your thoughts, BG.

  6. I give up! Can’t choose a line or two, this is so beautiful and I think I smell the fragrance of innocence and betrayal, wanting the very thing that was let go. My imagination inspired by your beautiful lines. Please find someone to mow your lawn 🙂

    • Thank you, Sobhana. Yes, so much we leave
      behind, and sometimes carry what we’d better not with us.

      Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist master and poet, was once tending cabbages when a disciple found him. The disciple asked why he wasted his time with the cabbages when he could be writing wonderful poetry. He replied that without the cabbages there would be no poetry. So I’m guessing they were magic cabbages, and lawn mowing is nothing like that. 😄 Still, it does get you away from the computer.

    • Thanks, Paul. If I believed that I could write endlessly, I would become an instant couch potato. It’s the fear that the well is going to suddenly run dry that keeps me writing.

    • Thanks, I think our dreams are made of memories, so when we remember a dream, it’s a memory of a memory. Admittedly they’re not really that solid. And once a dream is remembered it’s available to make new dreams, and then new memories, the wheel of dreams. 😃

  7. the images you paint with words are more vivid than any colour wheel spinning against a black wall. enjoyed reading and spinning my head around crayons and all those other words of things I haven’t seen in ages.

    • Interesting, I just wrote about a wheel, and here is another. Sometimes I have those flashes from childhood, of colors so bright you could eat them. I think it’s a child’s way of experiencing things, at least for child me. I still have a fascination with really bright colors, but I try to keep it under control. 😃 Thanks, Gina.

    • Watched a video recently about tasting words, on Ted Talks and I am inclined to believe that colours are just as tangible. Go wild with them Steve, colours do beg to be exploited and worshiped in turn.

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