Friday, October 16, 2020


No. This is not a story. I’m not sure what it is just yet. Jouhatsu. That’s what I intend to do. Evaporate into words. Then this could be a night moving service. Maybe. If it works.

Does a ghost feel like a tourist or like an escapee? I’ve got no sympathy. Tourists more likely feel like ghosts. Real ghosts seem always at home. You think you’re safely in bed, and there are those eyes again at the small black window at the end of the room, pretending to be, I don’t know, Cathy maybe, pleading to be let back in. Suddenly, it’s you who’s cold and on the outside, a tourist in your own life, while the ghost is only repeating its same old scene, always coming home again.

“Compared to the whole of the Milky Way, our Solar System looks smaller than a grain of rice floating in the middle of the Pacific.” But that grain of rice swarms with bacteria fending off viruses that are to the grain of rice as the grain of rice is to its vast Pacific. Does it matter, then, to say that words are the size of viruses within your bacterial brain? A ghost can be at home in an ocean because it can be the ocean. There you are, see? I said it: ocean. One little word. Also, sky, also, far, also, brain, all of those used here with thanks to Emily Dickinson. Little words for whole worlds. That’s a ghost for you. Turn your face into the pillow. The dark eyes are still in the window, aren’t they?

You know who your eyes belong to, your ghost’s? “A vacant wanderer, arrived at last at a blank new place, unable to go on.” Wouldn’t you sort of want to be that ghost, the wanderer, even stuck outside in the storm, rather than to be the terrified soul reading under the covers and trying not to glance out at the black window, just to check? Is it really so awful to be unable to go on, compared to being compelled to go on, compared to being unable to stop?

A good word, a sign, a whole sequence of signs, a can-can line of ghosts stamped in ink, baked into clay, carved on rock, are stuck. They’ve arrived, no doubt after a very long foreground of centuries of existence in some form or another, but now they’re at another crossroads, another path-less waste, another window. They can’t move unless they’re moved, can’t speak unless they’re spoken. What to do? Nothing to do. It’s amazing how wandering mostly involves waiting, pauses, full stops. But not blanks, not blank.

“Eight rare bats have made a home.” Every sentence could be unique in combinatoric infinity, but somehow not so every poem. The words come to rest and pile up, driftwood on the white sands. The hollow bones of sturdy trees, things that had life, that suggest life still. They look like art, like they could be art. We take them home, and there they sit on shelves. At night we wake up wondering how they got out of our dreams. Something’s written on the window, visible now in the fog.

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