Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Go Find a Ghost!

Photo by Kathy Kieth, Pollock Pines

—Kevin Jones, Fair Oaks

My father had been
A mounted disciplinarian
At the youth farm
And he
Had his methods.

For minor infractions
I’d be sent to the far room
In the cellar where the
Double murder/suicide
Took place

Spent a lot of time
Down there.  Night vision
Is still very good—
Whether things
Are there or not.

Has always been
Pretty dull
For me.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

The City’s condemned the Hangman’s Tree,
saloon dating from the Gold Rush days, its bar
built over the stump of the noosing oak. They say
it has a ghost, or several. The City’s not afraid
of ghosts, just of collapsing walls and timbers.

When they tear the building down, where will
the ghosts go? Is there truly a ghost? Surveillance
cameras, audio recorders, dousing rods, probes
and sensor meters—inconclusive. But how about
exhaust fans, to move ghost-scent around,

make it available to a dog’s nose? A dog trained
to sniff out humans, alive or dead—bet he
could smell a ghost. Maybe tonight, without
a moon, I’ll sneak under the yellow DO NOT
CROSS tape and tell my dog, “Go find a ghost!”


—Taylor Graham

Tonight the membrane between worlds
dissolves—as if, on your shelf, a letterpress edition
of Poe bled into the latest issue of JoVE.
Outside, you’d swear a wind of 30 knots swept
through memory like a sailor’s ghost. Could it blow
the Seven Seas to your door? Ports of call, uncanny
portals. Dead leaves speak in brittle tongues.
What does a Journal have to say
about the clock balancing on a whisker of time?
Even the cat listens to the wind’s words.
   (with apologies to Robert Louis Stevenson)
—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

one Halloween night
Mr. Hyde, you lost your key
get back to your lab, couldn’t do it
your lab, secret den of drugs
that made a beast of you
you could leap gates
climb trees
seize women
bay at the harvest moon
cape man, your hideous shadow
bit the moon
leaped gates, climbed trees
sacked women
o you, Mr. Hyde you!
smart Mr. Hyde clever Mr. Hyde
your very name
a play on your identity
your double code
secret key smoking potions
petry dish and fluted tube
back door to ecstasy
thought you were sitting pretty
then boo-hoo

poor Mr. Hyde lost without your key
couldn’t get back in
through the hidden door of your desires
the back door
on that night of a night of a night of a
yes, night of a
dusky orange sizzling in a boiled sky
witches’ brooms sailing mindless
lost without your key
that’s the night, Mr. Hyde,
Halloween night
you never got back in
not on that or any other night   


—Patricia Hickerson

3 witches threw a party in the dark
prepared a pot of oil for a stew
hollered hocus pocus for a lark
invited every warlock that they knew

prepared a pot of oil for a stew
threw in some frogs and rabbits they had caught
invited every warlock that they knew
chanted all the curses they’d been taught

threw in some frogs and rabbits they had caught
o boil o bubble in that nasty pot!
chanted all the curses they’d been taught
danced the warlocks crazy till they drop’t

o boil o bubble in that nasty pot!
they shouted as they writhed and reeled around
danced the warlocks crazy till they drop’t
and finally scraped their partners off the ground

they threw them in the pot to make a meal
hollered hocus pocus for a lark
as then into their coven dawn did steal
3 witches threw a party in the dark

(first appeared in Yolo Crow)


—Patricia Hickerson

no one knows Vampira’s despair
coffin can’t hold her
gritty elegance stalks Halloween
teeth gleam in the moonlight
energy leashed
dog Frankie pulls her along
his sleek black fur
hers a long licorice shimmer

tears rut her chalky cheeks
only one thing will help
a bite of human flesh
go, Frankie
Frankenstein unleashed—


—Patricia Hickerson

once upon a midnight dreary
while she settled weak and weary—
heard his bedsprings squeak
he leaped out of coffin
waking her once again
to fright and desire;
her dark his dawn
wrapped in cape slouching low
Halloween shadow
siren scream far off
afterthought of someone’s rape

he’s at her door knock knock
she cowers once
she cowers twice
then thinks it through
she’s seen him come and go
the upstairs man this big fat guy
with tortured belly hanging low
cringing along the corridors
not much of a vampire, she thinks,
could hardly get into the ranks, she thinks
just smoke and mirrors…

all night man, she finally calls, come
yes, come, dead sissy
and sink your teeth into my swan’s neck o yeah
bite the giddy hell out of me
your pusillanimous foreplay
only a tease on All Hallows Eve…   


Today's LittleNip:

I can't understand why a person will take a year to write a novel when he can easily buy one for a few dollars.

—Fred Allen



Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento