Deranged just a little touch/just a little
Knuckles work your bones
All around this town is shaking
All the ways we get horizontal
We get up to
Get down, always a little off
Always a half-second early, drop
Let it all fall off
Devolve your way to the light, we're so god damned enlightened here
Stagger on my wayward friend
Lots of beds but
None that feel like home
We get weird but
It ain't so strange
Tie your hair up in tangles like you've been had on the ground
Alley dirt on your ass
Dance your way to the front
Alternate between confident and terrified/cigarettes naked fall
On some weird couch
While your best friend
Fucks your ex in another house
Can't be mad at the poet/drunk but it's okay just breathe
Your way to the next day sit and look at pictures be jealous
Of the you you used to be
Shower like you're poison
Fill your car and
Head South Head South Head South
It's been 5 years since I last saw you,
Your secretive smile and weird way of cocking your head.
I miss how you used to laugh at my silly jokes.
Pull me close and just hold me.
I wonder If you visit our old haunts,
Places we used to visit when you loved me and the long winding road.
We walked hand in hand under the stars,
Dancing in the rain and listening to the wind.
I sometimes wait outside your house,
Hoping for a glimpse of you.
Arms at her sides
Hangin' like a noose loop
Radio music sporadic static
Choking air waves
Her heart is locked up
She keeps it in the bottom drawer
Her house is surrounded by chain-link
Shes too good for you
She has a picnic alone
Feeding crumbs to the ants
So grown up and independent
I thinks its just chemical imbalance
Are you still waking up
To the shotgun blast alarm clock
Sleeping in the pitch black
Washing dishes burning matches
Watching television addict
To have it all figured out
You'll choke on the pieces
Dog on a short chain
Too good for me
Too busy curing cancer
And feeling sorry for yourself
Someone told me what you said
I was a piece of shit hick
A drug addict rat
Maybe when I grow up
I've got a strong chin
Been hit many times before
There's the door
Mr. Coffee, who just today
Sent Margaret Thompson a bouquet
Of Birthday Lilies, green as tea,
Just shared a bit of news with me.
How odd he seems when he is near.
So daft at times, and very queer.
He told me just today a grim
And spectral spirit is haunting him.
He told me how it steals the light,
And how it keeps him up at night.
And then he said, "But I don't know
If it is friend, or it is foe."
Mr. Coffee's Ghost, says he,
Fancies his Cranberry Tea.
For he's spied it, quiet as can be,
Pour itself a cup, or three.
He suspects it fiddles with the Loo.
He's heard it flush a time, or two.
Though he figures it just wants to play
In its ectoplasmic way.
I fear, I do, our gentle friend,
May have finally met his bitter end.
That he may not see the here and now.
That he's lost touch with us somehow.
I fear his mind perhaps is spent.
And no one knows just where it went.
As though it packed its bags one shifty day
And lumbered off to Paraguay.
I fear our dear and troubled friend,
Has slipped right off the deepest end.
As though he's lost his crackers and his cheese
In tons and tons of black-eyed peas.
Or, perhaps it's but a jest? A way
To put us to the test today?
To find if we can fairly see
His little play at comedy?
He said he asked his Ghost one day
If it would kindly move away.
And it spluttered out, quite unrehearsed,
"But, truth be told, I was here first!"
Mr. Coffee says he has a Ghost
That likes to steal his raisin toast.
And when he leaves the living room,
He hears it toying with the broom,
Shaking corner cobwebs fair,
Dusting things from here to there,
And sweeping clean the Parlor screen.
Aye, it's heard, it's just not seen!
The oddish way he looked today,
He seemed just a wee bit gray .
Asking if he'll ever comprehend
If his Ghost be foe, or it be friend.
He says, "Of course the floorboards creek."
He hears the murky darkness speak.
He feels the curtains move and sigh,
As evening slowly tip-toes by.
He says, "The place is rather drafty, yes.
And it's a madhouse, I confess.
The sounds this house makes in the rain
Are never easy to explain"
This Ghost will turn the heater so far down
All it gets is cold.
And then tap tap tap the attic wall
Whenever it feels extra bold.
It will shadow every little room
With a phantasmic potpourri
This spooky little specter
Mr. Coffee cannot see.
This spiteful spook, it flickers lights,
To express it's ectoplasmic rights!
It rings the doorbell in a way each day
That scares the neighbor kids away
He'll spot a restless shadow dance,
Whenever he nods half a glance.
And Mr. Coffee feels he's in the right to stay,
And does not want to move away.
So, Mr. Coffee has a Ghost
A fair bit ghoulish of a Host,
Who thinks itself a China Rose,
And keeps poor Coffee on his toes.
Reminding him most every day,
His Ghost will never move away.
And in this Peculiar Poltergeist's parlay,
His Spectral Specter's here to say.
Copyright © 2012 Richard D. Remler
"The Helicon of too many poets is not a hill
crowned with sunshine and visited by the Muses
and the Graces, but an old, mouldering house,
full of gloom and haunted by ghosts."
-Henry Wadsworth Longfello
When he was away
I sent him picture messages
Of me holding signs
He was the only one for me.
That our love was endless.
That one day, we’d have the house, the dog, the stocked wine fridge.
And I doubted it was true
Even as I wrote them.
But it was the fantasy to believe in
That he and I,
Two world-class fuck ups
In our own rights
Fuck this one up.
What once was joy and laughter
And holding hands on public streets
And feeling validated from when he would call me sexy
Lying on bedroom floors
Sobbing to the carpet
Heaving for breath
Wondering how it ever came to this.
I love to hate him.
The scars you see
Are ones he gave me
As I experienced the worst of
We allowed ourselves disillusion
When reality became too tough
When hands that were holding
Felt like squeezing
When air we were breathing
When love we were feeling
I thought about all those signs today
Those signs I put in the “his” box
That he collected when I wasn’t there
Because I didn’t want to see him
And I wonder what he did with them.
If he threw them away
Like he did with us
Or if he has them still
And wants to be reminded
That he still fucks everything up.
I know you're
you don't hug like you
but I have grown to love you
what you have come to
I hope you get everything you want
a house and some kids
maybe travelling to
or maybe it's finally
feeling happy again
I built a prison in my head
To house the trouble deep inside
And sentenced certain things to life
In dark confinement gagged and tied.
Kept on a level far below
Are aches and pain that never show
Still further down I keep the lies
In dark confinement from the light.
And sometimes I see just their i's
That look up to me high above
And painfully I realize
They are my biggest threat to love.
half a dead pigeon
has indented itself in the gravel lot next door
and every day at dusk, when i run my sacred shower,
(with the lights off and windows open
and otis redding echoing through the empty house)
i have to watch the black static tide of flies
swim around one of it's upward bent wings.
the first time i saw it my jaw dropped and repulsion choked my throat closed-
disturbed by it's total disgrace,
i slammed the window shut
and preferred to gaze at tile grime to pass the time.
but from the days that followed,
i managed to muster up respect
and acknowledged that this
battered half of a bird
was now a variable in my scenery
(praise be to impermanence)
the sunset drowns everything in it's hazy blood orange
and the wind floods the trees and fills the underside of the bridge with sound,
and i stand naked in the warmth,
singing boldly out of key, twisting hot water out of my hair,
as the summer breeze politely invades my privacy.
so i salute the pigeon, say i wish you the best.
and embrace the weight and fullness of my happiness,
and know well i am more than body and voice,
and watch it sink further into the arms of the earth each night.
grateful to know that death doesn't end life.
in the backs of cabs that reek of stale vomit,
blue salt specks are dragged against their will to rest in the ridges of the floor mats.
fluorescent confused cubicles of light flashing by-
your mind fighting to make shapes out of the blur.
it’s january, this is everyone’s mood.
fingers folded into fists, stuffed into nylon pockets,
catching your breath and watching the scenery swirl past
like the entire horizon is made of melting wax.
you’re replaying day old conversations, analyzing cryptic eye movements
and body language of those people that strike you so suddenly.
those strangers that have pushed and shoved every defense and nestled themselves
into every fiber of your being. you sicken yourself with these sappy adolescent romantic bouts
but they’re the only thing keeping you alive.
you don’t know these people.
you don’t even know yourself.
the cab driver mumbles something over the radio and your attention is brought back to the present.
he’s on the phone-
you’re a little concerned-
your life does lie in the shivering hands of a stranger who boredly grasps and curves a wheel, after all.
but you play it cool, you turn to nihilism- it’s easier this way.
death is fine.
the cab driver is passing your house while you’re swatting at questions.
you uncomfortably raise your quiet voice for a few hesitant notes.
“Here is fine!”
you urge to the driver while a fumbling hand shakes down your pockets for a twenty.
there’s your house- standing just as you left it
through the white mystery patches on the back window.
chock full of memories and problems and decay and warmth.
everything seems to rest so calmly in the palms of the bittersweet.
tell the stranger to have a goodnight.
he returns the favor.
everyone needs to hear these things-
it’s january, after all.
Backward-man loves his dog.
Ties him up before and after
His walks, likes to goad his pet
Too, speaking as the weather wails
And howls then dog looks down,
Sad on his master dumbfounded.
A chain is worn as it scrapes
The ground connecting dog
To his master. They both love
The sound of it hissing as it strikes
The concrete pathways, sometimes
Man and dog feel free, not a part
Of each other, the chain may break,
And fear is for forks in the road,
The rusty pockmarked grip of his links
Have always been there on walks
Ahead and behind though it makes
Things confusing as if in a dance
And sometimes they wonder which way
They might end up after all—
And when the dark and golden
Rope, as always, is finally tied
To some old fruit tree, the man
Is happy his dog has both sun
And shade, but also has joy watching
Dog beg for ripe apples he cannot
Reach. Some people might come
To think that dog thinks those apples
Are not for eating. Everyone loves
Fruit, don't they?
Backward-man built his dog
A house as cold as a three-
Storied barn, out of things
He could not afford, things much
Too good for dog to not care
About, maybe man built dog's
House for himself, he cannot
Really impress his dog.
Backward-man likes to think
He knows what dog is saying.
Barks and whimpers have deep
Meanings, 'world is a good place,'
Dog says, but when pooch says,
'World is cruel,' crying, disobedient
Whines gets him a serious kick
Out of old anger from backward-
Man. And man can be a hell-
Hound on his own, the way
He twists and unravels the things
He needs, like truth and food
And love— that goes without
Saying for backward-man hates
His woman, but loves his dog.