Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Anais Vionet Oct 2023
Last weekend was “Parent’s” weekend at Yale. A time when parents are formally invited to visit. They have receptions and other events - but no potato-sack races (which is disappointing). My parents couldn’t come, they’ve never come to parent’s weekend, but Leong’s parents came again, from Macao, China, a 16,060-mile round trip.

There was a time when boys could tank my self-confidence with a word. When the male gaze seemed overpowering. I’d felt constantly evaluated - but I’ve evolved - somewhat. We’re going to a party. Lisa, Leong, Sunny, Anna and I - we’ve got our shine on and we’re drawing looks. Well, ok, Lisa’s drawing looks and I’m in the general frame.

Lisa sneezed, “The air quality’s bad tonight,” she announced, wiping her nose with a Kleenex.
“I don’t have any allergies,” I bragged. “Me neither,” Leong added.
“If you can breathe the air in China,” I said, “You’re golden.”
Leong laughed “Tài zhēnshí liǎo,” (Too true!) She agreed.

As we left the more street-lit part of the path, the moon, wandering in and out of the clouds, created moving shadows that peopled the darkness with phantoms. Was that impression the paranoia of fatigue? I haven’t been getting much sleep lately. Or maybe it’s October and Halloween’s just around the corner.

I was walking in the rear, nestled in the mingled scents of my roommates' perfumes that, like rare blossoms, enchanted and excited the child in me. I wasn’t paying attention, and I stubbed my toe on a misaligned sidewalk tile. Don’t you hate the gap between stubbing your toe and feeling the pain?
Anais Vionet Feb 2022
We decided to take a walk.
If the moon and stars still existed,
they were hidden behind clouds.

Then a fog hit us like a wave, a cloud
that had run out of gas and crashed on us,
to further shrink the perceptible world.

Ordinary, walking people became vague
phantoms that could loom, in film noir
black and white out of the fog,
suddenly sharpen and colorize,
only to disappear again in moments.

Sounds, out of sync, or garbled, came sharply
from odd angles, turning that fifth sense unreliable.
Noises, at first muted, were abruptly amplified as
if the hand of that ghostly vapor ran a soundboard.

A man, moving in stalker-like silence, clops,
like a clydesdale on cobblestone as he passes close.

I half expected a distant fog horn to announce
the passing of a ghost ship where all be welcome.
BLT word of the day challenge: Garble: "to so alter or distort”
Greyisntwell May 2021
How did we get here
How do we grow from there
I used to love the burn
Underneath those blinding lights
There you are crying
But not for me, not now.
I always wanted to know
If we were the cosmic joke
There's this hole
That we will never fill.
There's this hate
That we will always know
How did we get here
How do we grow from there
You're a part of me
It's my turn to be the phantom..
Daisy Ashcroft Mar 2021
I’m certain that by now
The windows are all steamed.
There could be dust on my towel
But I sit here picking at my own seams.

The soap bottle is lying on the side
Watching with hatred from its huddle
As I stare at my hands and try to hide
My stomach with flannels and bubbles.

I squash the buds between my fingers
While hair clings to the skin of my back.
I scrub at the writing that still lingers
Faded to blue from black.

I remember only ink and tingling
And you smiling against a classroom blur
Our hands entwined, my concentration dwindling,
Who knows in what world we were?

I’m just scrubbing veins now the pen has gone.
I wonder why you even let me exist
In your world. Tell me, am I withered and worn?
If you kissed me- Ha would you ever kiss this?

I can still feel the ink prints etched into my skin.
Will they ever fade away?
No; the phantoms in the water always win
And I can’t help but listen to everything they say.
A poem I wrote for an art project I'm part of!
Greyisntwell Oct 2020
Our beds are full of phantoms
Of memories to keep us up at night
I can't deny that you aren't

Next to me when I'm alone.
I can't deny that you never meant something to me.

You are no longer in my life
You are no longer stealing my light
I've held grudges since I could hold a pen.

I should hate you but it left its scar.
You are nothing but a phantom
You are nothing but a memory

I wanted to end it all
To make you pay
I wanted to end it all
To make you suffer the way I suffered

One day I'll have the nerve
To tell you how I felt

Our beds are full of phantoms
You were the one I need to exorcise
Our beds are full of these memories
That's all you'll ever be.
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
by Michael R. Burch

Alone again as evening falls,
I join gaunt shadows and we crawl
up and down my room's dark walls.

Up and down and up and down,
against starlight—strange, mirthless clowns—
we merge, emerge, submerge . . . then drown.

We drown in shadows starker still,
shadows of the somber hills,
shadows of sad selves we spill,

tumbling, to the ground below.
There, caked in grimy, clinging snow,
we flutter feebly, moaning low

for days dreamed once an age ago
when we weren't shadows, but were men . . .
when we were men, or almost so.

Published by Homespun and Mind in Motion. This poem was written either in high school or my first two years of college because it appeared in the 1979 issue of my college literary journal, Homespun. Keywords/Tags: shadows, dark, walls, evening, starlight, moonlight, men, souls, drowning, phantoms, shades
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
by Michael R. Burch

Here are the effects of a life
and they might tell us a tale
(if only we had time to listen)
of how each imperiled tear would glisten,
remembered as brightness in her eyes,
and how each dawn’s dramatic skies
could never match such pale azure.

Like dreams of her, these ghosts endure
and they tell us a tale of impatient glory . . .
till a line appears—a trace of worry?—
or the wayward track of a wandering smile
which even now can charm, beguile?

We might find good cause to wonder
as we see her pause (to frown?, to ponder?):
what vexed her in her loveliness . . .
what weight, what crushing heaviness
turned her auburn hair a frazzled gray,
and stole her youth before her day?

We might ask ourselves: did Time devour
the passion with the ravaged flower?
But here and there a smile will bloom
to light the leaden, shadowed gloom
that always seems to linger near . . .

And here we find a single tear:
it shimmers like translucent dew
and tells us Anguish touched her too,
and did not spare her for her hair's
burnt copper, or her eyes' soft hue.

Published in Tucumcari Literary Review (the first poem in its issue). Keywords/Tags: photos, photographs, pictures, album, keepsakes, mementos, ghosts, phantoms, past, memories, recollections, tears, grief, anguish, glory
Jake Welsh Apr 2020
reassuring taps of gentle footsteps upon marble
lightly echo through the clean air and fluorescent lights

a step past one door, warmth encompasses me
comfortable space, people in this town are few and far between

stop a moment, think
before another door. enter

to a ceiling much too low
so much i have to tilt my head to avoid it
there are urinals along the right-side wall
Eve is standing before one, just to look
a shifting glance, attention is brought to me

my angled eyes set at Eve’s level

maybe this way i can see
why the fleeting phantoms stay just long enough for our eyes to meet
now here's a topical poem about distance between people
Mark Toney Oct 2019
Startled at night, I awake,
frozen, motionless, immobilized,
eyes straining into the black void,
phantoms darting about me,
springing from every direction,
heart racing, rapidly breathing—
fantasy and fear running amok
10/16/2019 - Poetry form: Demi-Sonnet - -Demi-sonnets include seven lines of varying length and tend to be aphoristic in nature. The form was invented in 2009 by American poet Erin Murphy whose fourth book of poetry, Word Problems, is a collection of demi-sonnets. - Copyright © Mark Toney | Year Posted 2019
Io Jul 2019
The silence behind every sound.
Felt, not heard.

It weighs on me,
stronger than gravity.

A constant background silence,
from somewhere behind the

not silence.
Hollow noise,
dead sounds,
phantom whispers.

Haunting me,
if you’re real
what came before?
In a semi-secluded corner of his garden lay a small wendy house
Next page