by Shawn Misener
You’re a ghost fondling the ghosts of things
like they matter, like trumpets with spit
in their mouthpieces you are lonely,
a lonely ghost, the saddest part about you
is that you have no future, the movements
you make are presently looped from great moments
in the past, locked and loaded, loaded and locked,
it makes for a creepy dance, you poppin’
and lockin’ on endless repeat, an energetic memory
forced down the throats of your sad neighbors,
who cry and cry and cry over your breakdance fantasy,
you lonely ghost, Chet Baker mourns for you, New Coke
mourns for you, Roddy Piper mourns for you, 8-track
cassettes of Humble Pie and Bachman Turner Overdrive mourn for you
there is a stack of trade paperbacks that teeters
from behind the shrub straight up to your bedroom window,
nobody can climb it, nobody would even dare to,
because your depressed parents left your room
exactly how it was when you electrocuted yourself
trying to fix that triple-loader at the laundromat, nobody
wants to see that, so they leave the ladder of books alone.
I crawl from the corner of High and Hanover
to get to the shrub nourished by a cornerstone copy
of White Noise, the tiny retarded flowers
bleed color, I crawl army style so nobody can see me,
it’s like all of the townsfolk are floating three feet
above the sidewalk and unaware of me shimmying
below their shuffling feet, and I am dragging the Earth with me,
knocking it into some funky orbit, it will be my fault the day
Earth collides with the Moon
They say your folks laid your charred crispy body
on your unmade bed and gently placed grade A headphones
over what’s left of your ears, and that’s what I need to know,
what song is playing to you in that infinite dark night
some call death, but from here the stack of books
seems impossibly tall, I cannot tell where it ends
and where the snowy clouds begin, and it’s floating too,
whistling “Freddie Freeloader” and swaying in rhythm:
If I am pulling the earth with me and these books
are riding the air by the force of some bizarre gravity
I may never reach them, much less ascend them, word by word,
page by page, and that ghost song serenading your body
into the void will have to remain a curious thick mystery

0 thoughts on “Spøgelse

  1. The formatting came through incorrect, which is no surprise really, considering that the 10+ stories and poems I’ve sent over the past year were lost. It’s like I’m cursed. Fortunately Travis is letting me send my subs via email now, but true to form this poem came through as one undivided piece, whereas there are actually five stanzas w/ some segments italicized. I think there’s something wrong with my computer.
    Thank you for posting Travis. Nice to be back on H & H after all of these malfunctions. I have included a link to an earlier draft, if anybody is curious why the punctuation is flow of this is kind of funky:

  2. A contemporary music Adonais written by one music lover, it seems, in memory of another, but here with a disparaging, not an honoring tone, disparaging both the deceased and himself. Some mysterious “ghost song” is serenading his friend’s “body into the void,” which he will never be able to determine, much less elevate his own soul to commune with the soul of the departed. The headphone insularity of the music culture–which here I think represents every contemporary culture–makes elegies like Shelley’s to Keats impossible.

    1. I wrote this poem in kind of a driven haze, which is a common state for me during writing. In retrospect I can totally see the Adonais comparison. I was honestly curious what you would say, Randall. That’s been the beauty of H & H for me over the years: Quasi would teach me about my poem, and now you have. I love that.
      I did realize, right after writing this, that the subject of the poem is ME, I died from a laundromat electrocution, and the narrator of this poem is actually somebody else’s muses about ME. That strange writing fugue, I think, lent me a narrator by which to understand myself and my mortality. Cool.

  3. It’s good to see some Shawn Misener poetry back in the loop here at H & H! I miss that cult/pop street delivery with humor and microscopic life perspective which always seems to give me something to think about and feel good about in this uncertain miasma of our existence.
    I’ve never heard of Adonais, but the title ‘Spøgelse’, Danish for ghost, and the subject matter brings to mind a Röyksopp video called ‘What else is there?’ (http://youtu.be/ADBKdSCbmiM)
    The poem reminds me of the pre-Romantic Graveyard School of poetry which focused on “on contemplating human mortality and our man’s relation to the divine”. It’s a good to see some contemporary reflections in this area. Well done!!!

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