These ruins beside the reservoir were once inhabited by real people. How long ago? One, two hundred years? Cottages of crumbling stone, roofless, ragged with moss and weeds. Ghosts walk here after dark, so they say, animated fragments of the past: these shades of the long dead, glimpsed at the edge of vision by the unwary, are a link to an earlier, simpler world. Strange to tell, you can sense them even in daylight today.

P

Dreams & fragments –

December 3, 2018

Distant lights in faraway places; walking in the woods with the sound of heavy rain beating on the thick foliage overhead; the smell of damp earth and autumn leaves that look like small wrinkled brown faces underfoot; marble statues (with huge marble eyes) that walk in the dark, their purpose unknown, unknowable; endless dimly illuminated corridors; and lost cities trapped in time with secret knowledge of their own wild abandonment –

Sweet girls so full of grace – and naughty thoughts; exuberant October afternoons; Grandfather clocks tick-tocking in a dull back parlour; awkward silences that end in a kiss; The bright light from the moon in your window; darkness like wet velvet against the skin; doors that squeak open upon blackness; ghost whispers in your ear at midnight; the haunting cry of a dog-fox in the night; unfrequented places; a desolate stretch of snow at dusk; January afternoons whirling with snow; leaning gravestones enclosed by yew trees; faces beautiful with strangeness –

victims of love

November 18, 2018

My mother forbad us to walk backwards. That is how the dead walk, she would say. Where did she get this idea? Perhaps from a bad translation. The dead, after all, do not walk backwards but they do walk behind us. They have no lungs and cannot call out but would love for us to turn around. They are victims of love, many of them.

Anne Carson
Plainwater: Essays and Poetry

Halloween tomorrow

October 30, 2018

Artifacts

October 29, 2018

Exploring a dead relative’s dusty attic. Ghosts here crying over lost love letters, or the two porcelain dolls with putting red mouths, the ballerina shoes, the tinsel Christmas decorations from another age, the ancient travel brochures, and a broken egg-timer. Boxes of secrets. A chaos endured to maintain secrecy, these pieces of a life, of a soul, the hopes, the desires, the dreams unfulfilled and discarded here in the shadows. Christ, it is so disheartening.

Time for a poem instead:

A Faith, Rotting

She wore the kind of cross necklace
you would find in a bargain box,
the holy rejects of sacrilegious salesgirls,
their pearls undulating, effulgent.
She didn’t care that the gold shed
itself into a bastard green, branded
and belligerent against her pale
butterfly of a throat. To her, there
was a beautiful irony in the decay
of something so consecrated by
sadness. To her, there was no
religion without the ululation of
a mother’s lamentation, rotting
into romance, idolatry in the
immaculate inferiority: a necklace
losing sight of heaven faster than
she did the night God weighed
her losses, wrote them into being.

Megan Mealor

the slush of ourselves

October 9, 2018

Paint ghosts over everything, the sadness of everything. We made ourselves cold. We made ourselves snow. We smuggled ourselves into ourselves. Haunted by each other’s knowledge. To hide somewhere is not surrender, it is trickery. All day the snow falls down, all night the snow. I try to guess your trajectory and end up telling my own story. We left footprints in the slush of ourselves, getting out of there.

Richard Siken
War of the Foxes

a boy ghost

The ghost boy was the colour of bone, of gossamer spider web, of salt trails of dried tears. He still had his shape, his outline. No one had said his name in thirty years, even though he’d scarred the house with it, carved onto a tree in the garden, scratched into the paint under the outdoor kitchen. Scars unseen, name unspoken. The house had stood for close to a century, waking to kiss the sea breeze decades before, still standing when the red dirt roads had hardened to dark tarmac and the state had stolen the sea from it.

The house called the dead unto itself, and so the boy persisted, him and the others, outnumbering the living. Walls skinned with the colour of the ocean meeting the sky, a driveway of parched and cracked stone, girded with the garishness of bougainvillea and the shyness of orchids. The newest owners had furnished the house with a television screen the same size as a car door, computers in every room, tiny bulbs the size of candles with the glare of lighthouses; ripped out the old worm-eaten flooring in favour of inky Burmese teak. Now, you can do that, strip a house down to the bone, flay the walls from it and pull tiles like teeth. But the marrow of the house remained, so the living never stayed and the dead never left.

On the thirtieth anniversary of his death, a new ghost came to the house.

L Chan
The sound of his voice like the colour of salt

Pier

July 19, 2018

Baroque merry-go-round with its painted mermaids
and the over-exuberant, tinny sounds , so flashy and garish they
haunt my long dark hours.
The black water at the edge of the
Ghost pier lapping or lashing, there’s
careering starlings seeking shelter against
a grey slate sky and waves of predators.
As evening’s inevitability tells us of
the coming threats of night, far from the funfair, grinding to a halt,
the sickening streetlights are ghastly in the yellowing evening air.
Along the streets of rollicking revellers,
you’re seeking something that would free you. But
there’s others planning, lurking, waiting idly
in the shadows.
Among this sea town’s myths of endless partying, fun, this
dark underbelly of chaotic glee, your sudden newfound friends
are jovial, watchful, promising.

The party’s over.
On the bleak beach now with the encroaching tide you’re
vulnerable.
Daytripper, tripped out and tricked you’re calling and calling
until silenced.
Until the waves take your body out from the pebbles, out
from the link between land and sea
entering that Other, shoreless, wild, vast , water world.
That dissolution.

Gina Wisker

i am reading ancient poetry composed thousands of years ago, and the words dance off my tongue like rain bouncing off of flower petals, filled with so much life for a language that so many have called dead. around me, the ghosts of those who lived long ago settle in beds of their own words, their paper blankets tucked up to their chins as they listen to their bedtime story. their happy sighs are the whispers as i turn the pages; their soft, sleepy breaths are the rhythm of the words that flow around us. a warmth fills my chest as i keep reading. they are content, and i know that i am not alone.

sarah thoodleoo
Concept

ghost

I have always been raised to believe in the existence of entities, energies and phenomenon that are outside the realm of ‘ordinary reality’ I believe that having been given that open mindedness in my upbringing set the stage for my ability to sense spirits, energies and entities. Having said that I’d like to quickly add that I know many individuals who were not brought up with such acceptance and who are yet very gifted psychics and sensitives.

Perhaps my most intimate relationship I’ve had the opportunity to develop with the spirit world was during the years I worked as a Youth Advocate/ House manager at a shelter for homeless and runaway youth. The shelter was housed in a Victorian townhouse that had been built in 1874. Over the early years the house was home to well to do businessmen who worked downtown. From the 49’s until the late 60’s it had been split up into a 4plex, in a neighborhood that over those years was known for drug use and Bohemian lifestyle. Since 1970 it has housed the Youth Shelter.

Given its long history especially the transient years, the house held a lot of energy. Being a temporary home for troubled youth added its own rather intense energy. There have always been a few constants in the house. These stories have been reported by staff who had not heard others experiences first. The most commonly agreed upon sensations or images were of a few specific characters, each of whom was described in detail by several individuals who encountered them. One of the most significant, and probably the most “at home” ghost was an older woman who would spend the night fussing and working in the kitchen. When people went into the kitchen at night they usually reported a feeling of being unwelcome there, but not in a threatening way; more like a busy grandma shooshing the kids out of her way so she could work. When a friend and I investigated we got the message that she was very attached to role as a housekeeper and felt that she needed to be there to keep things in proper order.

The other most commonly encountered ghost was that of a young girl, maybe about 10 years old. She would hang out on the third floor most frequently; it was a relatively quiet area with only a couple of administrative offices. Her room and I believe it was once her room was one of the most well preserved Victorian style, flowered wallpaper, and a few antiques. There were also some dolls in the room. She would sometimes venture to the second floor at night which housed the residents’ bedrooms and a small office for the overnight staff. Most people got the impression that she had died in the house from some childhood illness and she was staying because it was the only home she’d ever known. Funny thing, several people got the feeling that she would ask for chocolate when she encountered an adult. Her footsteps could often be heard in the hallway and on the large staircase leading downstairs.

There are many more stories I could tell, but they would probably be enough to fill a book. These were the two most familiar and most “friendly” spirits and they really felt like part of the ‘family’ which is why I chose their stories to tell. One more thing I never figured it out for sure, but I kind of like to think the Kitchen Grandma was hanging around to care for the little girl. Although it seems sad to me for spirits to be stuck, it’s rather comforting that there was a caring bond that kept them together.

Jenny Hazard
The Shelter Spirits
The Beltane Papers, winter 2010