What has been lost, the surprise, the wonder, the awe and astonishment, the lust and it’s satisfaction, the revelry- going back to reconquer leaves rubble- in a world left behind, it seems like a hollow victory- like crushing the can of an energy drink- drinking alone- something is missing- you want to vomit in public- run nude through the streets, copulate publicly, or at all- or spend twenty years silent- keep some secret and guard it with your life- know something nobody else knows- or something everyone knows and everyone either denies or refuses to discuss- you would become a pariah, if you survived- it would be jail, then hell- we have been over this before. Play me a new song. Seems like a blank canvas- empty vessels- pollution- sewage or sterility- there is no middle way, tainted- slick with grease- slipping down the slopes, clamoring in prayer- put a plate in your lip- crack one, another tube- inhale the vapors- when people are disposable- as if our lives meant something- what do you make of it? do you want to make something of it? slightly, wasp waist- watching the hourglass- it’s someone else’s vanity- can we put a crack in the mirror- some things can not be repaired- it’s like I am a ghost- I wander, I roam endless grey plains, or should I say planes- like this guerrilla matrix- i plant little round stones in nexus-nodal points to open portals- I travel between worlds- This human body is a way station. it will waste away, I guarantee. I can already see this. The mind is willing, but the flesh is weak. When you overcome fear, it is like an illusion we generate to stay in the trap of that thinking- that little black box, covered with a cloth- like a magician’s trick- or waiting for the warden or whomever to stick their hand in and pull you out- they draw back a stump- no self-respecting rabbit jumps through flaming hoops- nay, he gets drawn from a hat- There is yet another portal, leading to yet another room- in this endless series of stacking boxes. Frequently, it’s a surprise. You stay as long as you like, or the film footage runs out, and you scamper off. Tomorrow, it’s zombies, again. Blasting them in the head as they come ambling and shambling down the slopes. You have your lunch box by your side, your handgun on the picnic table next to that, your lovely friend smiling just to your right. I have empathy enough. I can stir you up. I can wait you out. I can sit back and watch the box- oh, the box. The box! Yeah, this is all the speech in the silence. I control my own thoughts. I am detached, defenseless, surrendered. It’s a lying back; a letting go. a watching the marionette fall from clipped strings, and dance. The manikin leans back to the creaking of a bedpost in the light of an ever-glowing radioactive rock, what sort of appeared like green Jelly mold in the tea tray by your bedside on a little table, complete with doily and drape. Oh, but the little television continues to blare out it’s static glow as well. There’s an inkblot in the back of my mind. There’s a dark place, a place of shadows, like a closet full of skeletons where the glow does not reach with the door closed. Hush! The skeleton is talking! He listens to the static and hiss of electrical appliances, usually there for cold company, and a small comfort, that. The usually squawking noise-box full of images and colors, gone to bleak white noise and hissing black grains, like the sound was frying in the vision. Our friend the skeleton, he gets dressed and goes out, then he comes back and goes again into the prayer closet. There he lights candles before a small shrine of the black Madonna, why not? I’d say he’s even got a photo of his favorite Hindu Guru there, encouraging him with a smile to chant Hare Krishna maha-mantra and be happy, and where’s the harm in it? Our friend, he takes his gun and his lunchbox and packs them away, once the zombies are loaded into a pile in the street. This used to be a nice neighborhood. Kids would run and play in the yards, which would be watered. Dogs would bark happily or it was an idyllic scene of a mostly carefree life. Can I tell you that the bombs began to drop one day and light the world like the end of one big Roman candle? Maybe that’s what happened. Nah, this is me standing by the side of the road with a flare. This is me playing with pyrotechnics and laser lights just to put on a show. This is me looking at spotlights roaming back and forth across the night sky and wondering where they are sitting and for why. This is me, now this is someone else. I am Everyman, and I do not stop for long at any given place. This story may have no real beginning or end. So long as I have something to say, I may say it with a thousand-thousand mouths. I can become fireflies at dusk, and butterflies at dawn. Dragonflies flit about a swamp, where alligator eyes peep out just over a crock of earthy smelling scum. Oh, if these swamps could talk! So this is what sells. When we eat dollar bills. We stuff them in our mouths, in our sofas, into one of our collection of severed heads, into our graves. We stuff the bills into everything, they are so much fun. The work of a madman, what would be playtime but seems so much more serious for him. He’s bent and intent on doing this thing. He’s obsessed. He’s a madman! He’s stressed to the maximum. He needs some release. He needs to seek some relief, and give it a rest. Give me a break. I get the sound of dogs barking now, helicopters, dogs barking and men shouting, and I can almost hear their footfalls coming toward me in the night. This is how it ends, with some shouts and a bang. So this is how the house of cards will fall. I was a gambler in my other life. I gambled. I boozed and whored. I played poker, blackjack, bet on horses, bet on anything. I’d wager. I’d spit in my hand and shake, and that was a gentlemen’s bet. Then again I don’t like to admit whether I really exist. There is nothing to really be ashamed of or feel pride in anymore. It’ s just my old way of wheeling and dealing, and not like me to come clean. They said it would all come out in the wash, and it was a wash, but it didn’t and some things don’t. Like this. So, that was my usual attitude, and trying to sort it out, to be honest. It’s just a thing people would say, if they lived a good life, if they had nothing to wash off their bodies or hands, like their consciences were stained and no scrubbing flesh would help. The flesh would have to come completely off, and that would be the conductor in the caboose bringing up the rear- a cavalry or cavalcade. Ah, it’s almost impossible to tell the truth, and this has more layers of meaning than skins on the earth, including zones of the ocean and atmospheric levels of density and compression. It’s almost impossible, but something begs me to do it. That’s right, I’m not alone. There is someone here. Someone on their knees, shedding endless tears, and I smell their perfume. I smell cosmetics. I can almost feel her hair, and this is someone I would never hurt, and now I would not harm a fly. I say that, and yet sometimes it’s a cry for decapitation, and tortures fill my mind. I am not one to beg off torments, but when they have no place. That might be another story. Why am I in the dark place? My mind and memory keep playing tricks on me, and I’m caught in this endless loop of forgetting. I wonder if I’m just making things up as I go along, or drawing from some tableau source. I look again to the wall, for it’s cracks, for some peek through, to see something new, and I see myself again from a side view. I keep changing persons. I must be so many, of several, and how about that? I know the secret, like something that can’t be revealed. I operate from that level, in fact and it puts me in a new frame of mind. Another level or plane, like an outcrop of rock, here high above everything. Wind to my back, whips across my face. I hear her words, and she falls. I stare off the ledge for a long time. Staring into space. So, we were separated. I wonder how accurately I remember. The visions are so clear, their meaning not so much. The random order, it’s anything but gibberish and jive, but I look inside myself and think I am a good person. Was I a bad one before, and what happened? I wonder if there is a layer of guilt, a container of sediment and grit- like blood in my teeth, flayed knuckles- a sort of blindness coming over my eye, as blood runs down my face. Are some of my bones broken, or is that someone else? How far away the suffering seems, and yet so close, intimate, personal- you know. I could be anyone, I could be you, and I have this, oh maybe it’s a fear or a hope, that in a moment or so this vehicle of thought will dissolve, but I go on searching and seeking like forever. Now I see a lighthouse beacon in the distance. I wonder if I am alone or lost, or crazy or what, and I have the sense to wonder. I am shivering and cold. Now I stand on the edge of the sea, on the rocks. Perhaps this is where she was, did I lose her here? A faint memory seems to sing to me, seems to stir me within. There is a bitter gall deep in my guts. It rises to my throat. It causes my mouth to pucker, sour, bittersweet and aromatic. So there is something more than vision and voice, and mainly vision, but the tactile, the olfactory, the gustatory. I must know. I must go. It’s like an amnesiac, and now I’m in a hospital gurney. I am being rushed into an emergency room, down a hallway. I have some kind of sucking chest wound or contusions and lacerations, fractures, oh God knows what. I’m in and out of consciousness at this point. The pain is constant on the verge of numbness. I like, become complacent and just accept my fate at this time, and at least I’m not totally alone. I am alone in my soul, though. None of these frantic people really know me, Lord have mercy on me. Lord, have mercy. Lord. I suppose that’s where I blacked out completely. Presumably there was some operation, not so mystical as surgical. There’s a gray space there, like a seeping kind of ooze. Sepia tones? Photo negative? I’m just playing with the memory of a space, warping it. I imagine that I was in surgery, and unconscious. I want to know what happened. I move my ghost-like consciousness over near the face, the face that’s got a breathing tube inserted. The face, would it seem so familiar? I dare not open the eyes of this body, and it’s halfway out of compassion, on the threshold of fear, but I know it as wisdom and do not feel it, or much of anything, really. That’s part of it. I know emotions, I sense them mentally, but whether I feel them or not is partially a choice. I reckon that it’s all just energy, like I can pass through the metal gurney, or slip into the pocket of the nurse assistant. I can stare right up into the surgical lamp over the operating table, and I can fill the room with my presence. I wonder if this is a test, or something else, an opportunity. I feel, or sense, that same frantic rush of energy that means to operate swiftly, with precision, it is the mood of the doctor, and the unconscious glaze over the patient’s lids, while the nurse aides quietly sweat and assist. There’s a definite mood here. I aim to offer my own form of assistance to see this through for the full recovery, and I begin to feel confidence swell in these hearts. Love, in fact, is the presiding and dominating factor, that kind which respects life and freedom, that kind is heroic and ever satisfactory in it self. I also issue forth a calm and cool to the minds, and a tranquility to the hands and nerves. I whisper up prayers to the Gods above, and my friends I know them there. We all have some angels towering over us, watching, whether it be a matter of fact or merely belief, this is exactly what I see and it transcends the nature of the room. I make my prayers an offering to the God above, and I continue to look down. This looks grim for yours truly. Now that I find myself in the company of angels, instead of men, and looming in a spiraling sort of lower heaven, just above the heads of mortals, and definitely not in the physical vehicle of a human body, my mind is going through the haywire motions of attachment to life, preservation of the body, continuation of the love-affair or story as it were, perhaps my prayer is for all this and more, and it would be very quick to sever all such contact, drop all such context. I did not know these things before a few minutes ago, and would not miss them if I knew not that they existed, but for a few moments I was involved, and it mattered, and that has to count for something. I beseech thee, oh powers, have mercy. I get a nod and come back down, and now I am like kneeling in the grass, by graveside. I feel a heaviness, which fills my throat. I feel a sort of choking there, and a heaviness in my very heart, which lends itself to the hands, a heaviness all throughout, and darkness looms. Tears were shed, and the bitterness remains. So this is the fate of a ghost. A sudden death, after a love lost, a prayer for redemption or salvation, seemingly unheeded, and an unquenchable thirst, unspeakable hunger, well, that is how the story goes. What light is there, redemption, salvation? Remember the loss of pain, the pain of loss, and the loss of that loss is either forgetting or reunion. I would rather there reunion. This is now my prayer. I will retain the ghostly way, as it leads to the delivery either of new birth, a new chance, or new love. All of this is granted, and the sweetness returns, succor. This is my blessing to you. Amen.