My Ghost, No Longer at This Address

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My doorway.

My Ghost, No Longer at This Address

Upon my untimely death,

a chaotic redundancy

as death is untimely

 

except suicide,

which I don’t currently abide,

but that’s another vibe…

 

I request my epitaph be

“Life was often confusing,

difficult, and demoralizing,

but I laughed a lot,

so maybe it wasn’t all bad.”

 

Verbose, yes; feel free

to edit before placing

on headstone, or urn.

 

I have no preference

on my corpse’s disposal.

If I’m right, it is

only an empty shell anyway,

 

as sturdy abandoned houses

that once hosted countless

Christmas dinners

are no longer homes.

 

The phenomenon

or mechanism of me

is long gone from here.

** *

Written for imaginary garden with real toads FASHION ME YOUR WORDS ~ Lets build houses. Also shared at Poets United’s Poetry Pantry #377.

As we’re close to Halloween – widely regarded as the point where the threshold between the living and the dead is at its weakest – I found myself thinking less of home building, and more of ghosts, including my own, leaving their bodies (their homes for the duration of their lives) for the first time.

 

Smirking Dragon

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Photo by robbertdb on Unsplash

Smirking Dragon

As the sun settled into soft angles

just above igniting western skies,

 

it spotlights a cumulus cloud curiously

shaped like a coiled, smirking dragon

lazily floating eastbound, her neck and

 

grinning head preening north by northwest,

drawing your attention toward Orcas Island

 

and one of the most perfect moments of

your life, when you were inexplicably

comfortable in your own skin while both

 

alone and in unfamiliar company

at a destination wedding you attended

 

against your will, watching two outliers

pledge their lives to each other as you’d done

twice over, with the second time inexplicably

 

working out much better than the first,

which compelled you to make that journey

 

in the first place to that unfamiliar island

surrounded by unacquainted people

to witness an unfamiliar couple

 

pledge their lives to one another in a

series of moments the smirking dragon

 

reminds you that can only be described as perfect.

As the dragon cranes her neck northwestward,

it evaporates into the ether,

 

leaving only her fluffy scaly body and

a disembodied smirking head, which also

 

slowly vanished from misty existence

leaving you wondering why your second

attempt at sharing your world with a woman

 

worked wonders while your first effort failed

spectacularly, or why your second trip to

 

Orcas Island was fun, but not nearly as

magical as that first one, or why that beautiful

smiling couple of strangers beginning their lives

 

together ultimately could not fulfil

their pledge to one another even after

 

committing to create another beautiful,

smiling, giggling, spunky stranger together, but

then it hits you as the headless dragon corpse

 

became just another cloud fading away from

the settling sun, which ignites the western sky

 

as eastern clouds are devoured by earth’s shadow.

We often chase perfect destinations

seeking to relive perfect moments, as

 

if we were living ghosts who for fleeting

moments have forgotten how to live. But

 

we have far more in common with misting

smirking cumulus dragons that we see

than the ghosts we chase in familiar places.

***

 

Shared at imaginary garden with real toads.

Smoke Break Outside a Hip-Hop Nightclub in Australia

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Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash

Smoke Break Outside a Hip-Hop Nightclub in Australia

Displaced from the throbbing, blustering melody,

we sat outside as you finished your cigarette.

 

Or perhaps we stood. Or stooped. I don’t remember.

It was dark, except for your spark. I, the moth.

 

Or perhaps I, the flame. It’s all relative and subjective.

Our vibe, the only objective syncopated groove.

 

The crisp midnight air contrasted with the

heat generated by our dance-grind inside.

 

That’s actually a lie, or perhaps a half-truth; I

don’t recall if the outdoor air was cool or not, my

 

Fahrenheit or your Celsius. Too many or too few

degrees, synching with you put me 180-out.

 

Time-shifting was never my strength, much

like socializing, or adhering to social norms.

 

Both loner and lonely, even among family and

shipmates, but alone here with you, I’m content.

 

Time well-spent sizing each other up, taking measure

within melodic measures in timeless movements.

 

Our conversation flowed easily and deliberate;

each pause with purpose, each query also an invite.

 

We rode beats and straddled bars, improvising, learning,

changing tempo on the fly, milking fleeting moments.

 

A riffing jazz duet, bubbled by kindred hearts, momentarily

forgetting the raw sting of overcrowded loneliness.

 

I pretended not to be bothered by the smoke as you

pretended not to notice, shooing it from our session.

 

I casually took the butt from your lips, pressed it to

mine and inhaled your toxins with unforeseen confidence.

 

My urgent thirst to share your poison shocked us

for a moment. You smirked as I tried to suppress a cough.

 

“So, do you have someone waiting for you back

on the other side of the world?” I think you knew.

 

“I do,” I answered honestly, casually, returning your

cig. You casually discarded it. “That’s nice,”

 

you offered, unconvincingly. “Are you both happy

together?” you asked, eyes questing for deception.

 

“We are,” I lied, probably unconvincingly, to

both you and me. You didn’t press. “That’s good.”

 

I guess we must’ve been stooping, because I now

recall that you stood after that, and I after you.

 

You smiled warmly and I braced for you popping our

harmonic bubble with a conciliatory parting handshake.

 

“It’s good to find someone who makes you happy,”

you said, as if that’s a thing no one else knew.

 

“I just have one more question for you, sailor-boy.”

You squared-up to me, smile slowly fading.

 

“Oh? And what is that?” I think my tone was

still flirty-neutral, but I half expected you to

 

chew me out for teasing you or leading you on.

But I was still milking our moment for all I could.

 

When lonely folks like us find kindred spirits, it is

difficult to not find ourselves trapped in their orbits.

 

I knew it was socially inappropriate to indulge in

you, but with you I felt free to be me authentically.

 

I wasn’t teasing; I was connecting. Nothing would

come of this, but it felt real. I hoped you’d felt it too.

 

“I was just wondering if you would mind if I kissed you,”

you asked, closing the distance. “I hope you

 

don’t mind.” But you didn’t let me answer.

I think you already knew you didn’t need to.

** *

Edited to share at Real Toad’s Tuesday Platform, hosted by Magaly Guerrero

Enemy of Delusion

Boondocks Spring

Image source: GoComics

Enemy of Delusion

Small talk is a dishonest

and barely varnished lie

I walk in and demolish

the scarcely garnished try

 

and then I’m the bad guy

defend my unclad

psychotic truth,

my ironic pursuit

of uncouth certainties

 

but you’re hurting me

by not paying fair

and laying bare

when we both see

inequities

 

and then you say

you don’t see our color

with respect to political cover,

 

correctness when I reflect

on your blindness

I’d rather you select

Kindness

** *

Written for imaginary garden with real toads FASHION ME YOUR WORDS TO FOLD ~ Ergo, imagined By Gillena Cox . We were challenged to write based on our discovery of ourselves in a Peanuts comic, or a comic strip of our choice. Obviously, I chose the young black revolutionary, Huey Freeman, because of couse I did. 🙂

Drawing a Blank

Drawing a Blank

Drunken-lotus when I wrote this

I’m chokin’ on my brokenness

hopein’ against hopelessness

woke and I was scopin’ this

 

truth in our reality, ponderin’

where should I be, wonderin’

calamity, astonishment

at query of accomplishments

 

this verse is dumbfounded and

this verse is dumbfounded and

I curse this unfounded and

Herculean logician canned

 

Olympian delusions

many eons and no solutions

egocentric push got me listenin’

to Kendrick’s Kush and Corinthians

 

cramming solutions to the feat

in the fetal position, repeated

achievement unsaid and unlocked

dragging myself out of bed when I block

 

all the straggling self-hate that says

 

this poem is a lie to self

this poem says goodbye to health

throw him evil-eye yourself

this poem is a cry for help

 

help, help, help, help

 

I added melodrama here

so you could save what’s left

 

even the Dali Lama fears

nature of life bereft

 

an empty diorama, years

neglected and distressed

** *

Written for imaginary garden with real toads Literary Excursions with Kerry ~ Metafiction.

Essential Stargazing

Essential Stargazing

I stare up at rivers of stars

trillions of billions of miles

eons into shadowy pasts

possibly null, lifeless void

or maybe, billowing, countless

lonely souls like you and me

gazing back at us

 

eternities apart

from one another

unlike you and me

though close by comparison

in action of thought

never quite close enough.

** *

Written for imaginary garden with real toads Flash 55.

Day 29 – Widow’s Bay at Sunset

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Image source: Google

Widow’s Bay at Sunset

“Turn back, dear heart,”

said the young spear-wielder

to her warrior lover.

The setting sun bathed her in ethereal pastels,

giving her the air of a beautiful archangel,

standing on the path

between the warrior and the bay below.

She continued carefully,

perfectly articulating each of her next words,

hoping to drive them home for effect.

“I must confess; I have deceived you.

I’m no bodyguard; I am an assassin.”

 

“I know,” the warrior replied,

slowly reaching for the hilt to his sword,

sunset enveloping his

tormented countenance in silhouette.

“And I hoped it wouldn’t come to this.

But across the bay lies my lost father,

and answers to questions

that have driven my lifelong ambitions.

You and I have fought side-by-side

and shared much until now.

You’ve seen my heart,

and you know I cannot turn back.

Why betray us now?”

 

“Oh, how I’ve dreaded this moment,

my love,” said the spear-wielder

with a mild quiver in her voice,

deliberately lowering the tip of her weapon

to bear-down on the warrior,

widening her stance for balance. “And yes,

I’ve seen your heart and offered you mine

in quieter moments.

I know you cannot turn back.

But I have a sworn duty to eliminate

anyone who gets too close to the truth.”

 

“Sworn duty?” The warrior’s voice rose

and shook incredulously. “To whom?

Who sent you?”

 

“If you set foot on that cove,

the Syndicate will find out,

and it will be over for you, me,

and everyone else close to me.”

The spear-wielder spat those words

like rancid milk.

“Please,” she hissed,

almost in a shout-whisper. “Turn back.

We can run away together,

start a new life.

No one else has to die,

no one would know- “

 

“I would know!” yelled the outraged warrior,

now in mid-crouch. “Now please! Stand aside!

Forget your bounty, your duty

and I will forget your betrayal!

I promise I will protect you and your family

when this is over.”

 

“You know you cannot!”

the spear-wielder shouted back,

gathering better footing.

Then, much softer,

“You know I cannot.”

 

The air between them slowly faded

from sepia to soft fuchsia as

blackbirds returned to tree lines

to roost for the night.

Even the evening breeze paused to contemplate

the star-crossed combatants’ predicament.

 

“I am most regretful

that it must come to this,

dear heart,”

conceded the warrior,

the grip on his hilt now firm, resolute,

the fire of outrage in his eyes giving way

to misplaced compassion

and the near-perfect serenity

of pre-combat Zen.

 

“As am I, my beloved,”

the spear-wielder wearily replied,

twirling her weapon, brandishing it,

coiling into an attack stance,

she, a reluctant cobra,

preparing to battle the only man

she ever loved enough to die for

to the death.

“Don’t hold back.”

 

“Oh, how I loved you so,”

the warrior lamented,

drawing his sword.

 

“That is a lie,”

the spear-wielder said

with a morbidly-amused sneer.

“You still do.”

 

The calamity of their weapons meeting at near-dusk

roused roosting birds from surrounding tree lines.

** *

Written for imaginary garden with real toads Penultimatums: Voyages’ End (Almost), imagined by Brendan.

Day 28 – Lies of the Boogeyman

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Image source: Unsplash.com

Lies of the Boogeyman

The Boogeyman’s a liar

he taps at windowpanes

the fear that he inspires

are but tree-limbed shadow-veins

 

His thunder rattles senses

his lightning shows me ghosts

his wind-howl rattles fences

but his silence scares the most

 

He waits for me to slumber

pacing my bed at night

at first birdsong of wonder

he vanishes from sight

 

Sunlight breaks his dominion

quite childish, as I look back

for its my adult opinion

he’s with me, in light or black

 

The Boogeyman is real, it seems

the liars, my own eyes,

I find grown-up peace in sleep-filled dreams

the birdsong terrifies

 

The Boogeyman that I despise

indeed, the very light I see

the darkness I surmise, I see

embedded inside me.

** *

Written for imaginary garden with real toads Boogeyman prompt, imagined By Rommy.

Day 20 – Midwatch Apology

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Midwatch Apology

Sir, so sorry for my outburst.

Unprofessional, no excuses.

But with good reason, you see…

 

I was training the new transfer on radar.

I explained weapons-lock on primary…

He told me his spirit-guide was the wolf.

 

I dunno, sir. Seemed like personal shit to me.

But I moved on, described secondary lock…

And crows tell him when his lady wants to talk.

 

Now that’s just damned peculiar, sir, isn’t it?

I’m not one to poo-poo First Nation Mystics…

But a lady usually wants to holla at her man, right?

 

I mean, isn’t that true, like ninety-percent or so?

If someone needs a crow reminding him to-

I’m sorry, sir. Way off topic. Not my concern.

 

So I showed him how to use track-while-scan

to keep tabs on surface contacts to take with guns…

He told me he had a six-and-a-half-inch long penis.

 

Hell fuckin’ naw I didn’t ask about his schlong!

 

Sorry, I mean. No sir. I didn’t wanna know.

I never wanted to know about any man’s tackle-box.

He just volunteered that shit, like it was normal.

 

Like he was proud of his little bishop or somethin’.

Like that’s some shit you tell a shipmate

who’s trying to train you to help defend the ship.

 

Anyway, I guess that was my breaking point, sir.

That’s why I shouted, “Aw HELLLLL naw!”

and asked to be relieved of watch for a few minutes.

 

Sir, so sorry for my outburst.

Unprofessional, no excuses.

But with all respect, sir,

 

please instruct the first-class petty officer

to refrain from discussing his girlfriend,

his spirit animals, or his sad little rudder

 

while the second-class petty officer trains him

to operate the weapons control console

so the Lone Wolf can qualify for the midwatch.

** *

Written for imaginary garden with real toads prompt involving a crow, or crows. I’m not sharing it there though, as this poem-a-day thing is really kicking my ass and I don’t have time to enjoy others’ poems as much as I’d like.  

I’m sad to say, this was inspired by actual events. I… should probably see a therapist.