Art by Norman E. Masters,
I am not afraid of ghosts. I call them in and call them out and bump with them through the night. Lovers and those who loved the passing twitch of the tail of somebody else's life all get down on the dance floor of dreams for a last applause from the gray hooded clowns of remembrance. I once made out with a witch. God! She was hot to trot. Figured I would find heaven in her charms so I had my wicked way and she had her Wicca way with me. Her spell binding ass still haunts the belfry where the bat-boys of youth still roam. That ass would be the same age as mine now if we had both survived our life-style. Hope her magic worked out for her. My card tricks are still going wrong. Jeeze, He said, rubbing the stubble on his chin. No, this is not one of those songs that some old guy recalls over a glass of lilac wine in old flicker music of lost flames. Ghosts can be as mundane as Monday. I hear now the tap of platform shoes tripping over flairs in the retro forties somewhere. Why did we all want to be ghosts back then? It was the movies that did it and that crappy music and Robert Redford. Some of us jumped over the edge in a sundance and have not been seen since. My ghosts are as pitiful as dried sunflower seeds. They come at me like milk-teeth in the mouth of a wolf-cub. Here is my mother again and my father standing outside the photograph of time. Father, take a seat -- welcome to the joy luck club of lost children. He never does though; he is one of those wandering ghosts doomed to haunt himself for the want of a little sex education. But let's not wander too far away from our ghosts. Ghosts, after all, just want to have fun. I like to bump into my spirit children, the ones that saw me coming from afar. Whenever the ghost of a chance came, I took it. That is why the spirits of the night knock upon my door -- they want a chance to be what I became. Here are the raincoats of stormy weather and the umbrella mushroom clouds of cold wars. Greetings to you my comrades in arms. I am thirty meters down now, where all ghosts glow like sub-maritime memories, close to crush depth, and bumping along at the bottom. Whenever I get this deep into the night waters my ghosts come down with me and breathe light into the darkness. Good hearted ghosts that tap on the shell of this submarine and moon their hearts into light. They bring psychedelic record sleeves of Beetle-Mania and lava lamps of forgotten habitations. The ghosts walk and they walk a moon dance smiling at the ambiguity of how I was once being them. Ghosts come back because they want to be your pets again. They want to be your puppy-dogs and kittens. In this way they can teach you what you missed the first time around, when you thought you were human. They want to say: Treat me as I am. Not as what you think you thought we were. They want to be as you are. It is a giving thing. They want to live for the sake of you. Ghosts are all kinds of sure footed mishaps you made while not looking after them. I see my friends now. They are still living and dead. When I scratch my head their dandruff falls like snow from the Himalayas off young mountains. Such young tip-tops of what we all could have been had we not been watching out for ceilings. The pathways through our hearts are now ghostly and the Holy Ghost is our motel. We travel still. My eyes have no focus on the furniture of this life, but on the worm of what eats us into light. Here is my hand you spectral letter writers of what could not have been said without you. I am the ghost of what you became and I accept what you became of me. Let us take a night manoeuvre into our reality. Dreams are only talismans of what we could have made real if we had been bold enough to be ghosts. I bid all come to me to bump for awhile in the night, in the ghost dance of the night where we are a light dancing in the dreams of us. A half burnt cigarette in an ashtray, music that has lost its back-ground, a child's hand we let go of too soon. too much jazz and not enough horse whispering, too much of a good thing fading away to gray -- these ghosts linger, until we are the healing of them, until we are the wound of them that goes through the night as ourselves. I am not afraid of ghosts. I enter them as their truth. They enter me as mine.