Saturday, August 06, 2011

Ghost Fragments

When I try to speak French, Italian spooks me,
less the form than the mood of it, the flighty rise and ebb.
People talk about phantom limbs, but rarely of the phantom itch.
The itch occurs, but what’s under it?
At the Salvation Army there’s a ghastly rack
of coats, the line-up of might-be ghosts
I know a slender woman haunted by her former heavy self.
The body has been exorcised; the spirit will not let go.
The song in my head this morning, a song I didn’t know I liked.
The typewriter, too, is not extinct. It lives on
in street work, factories, rivers, in feet descending stairs.
My father’s boxy black one.
My electric Brother.
in love, the ghoul of hate
When I was in high school, a boy in the next grade
was decapitated by a train, stumbling home drunk
by the overpass. Charlie. Everyone knew the story.

I can’t go through that part of town without thinking of it.
As if I'd been there. And it’s not Charlie who haunts
that part of town, but what happened to Charlie.
The parts haunt the sum.
The choir in the ostrich.
The goon in kangaroo.
the past / the smell of lavender / a stroke that stays in the bones / trauma /
fog / exhaust trapped in the atmosphere / abortion / childhood /
perfume / regret
We’re all haunted by Auschwitz, even the deniers.
We all stand here shoeless in the Polish snow.
to say nothing of graveyards
only the dead really give up the ghost
As a noun, “haunt” refers to a place a man can frequently be found.
He occupies it, fills and inhabits it, seeking
something he’ll never come home with.

(in response to Dave Bonta's post at Via Negativa)


Dominic Rivron said...

Like the forensic use of words.

Just now and again you come across a blog post which really demands of you that you take time to really take it in. This was one such for me.

(humfulecDo you read Fred Vargas? Just read a about an itchy phantom limb in one of her books).

Dominic Rivron said...

A comment haunted by humfulec. So that's where the word verification word went first time I tried to post the previous comment.

Charmi said...

Sarah, this is perhaps your best poem.

Kathleen said...

Yes to these ghosts. And I hear typewriters, too.

tony said...

I Landed Here via Dominic.A Happy Landing!

Robert Mc said...

I am posting a ghost
in response. Thanks for this, and thanks for leading me to Via Negativa.

SarahJane said...

thanks for reading, all.

Robert - i liked your ghost post, too.

Dominic - I haven't read Fred Vargas. I will look him (?) up.


Dana said...

"The typewriter, too, is not extinct. It lives on / in street work, factories, rivers, in feet descending stairs."

I like that, so I am saying it back to you.

SarahJane said...

The typewriter is a cult.

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