Daily Archives: September 2, 2021

The Troll

with all his unearned confidence
glistening through the screen
like flop sweat perfumed
with privilege —

although that seems
like such a sloganeer way to describe
a shiny little fraud with his 
dog-hungry smile and his cheap
mistake of a professional demeanor
crossed with body armor — 

best foot sticking out of his mouth
then put forward like a movie-cool
cigarette —

he drops
the ultimate weapon of his army
“LOL” at the end of the post 
and his back up “j/k” right after — 

it makes me want to eat his heart
and make it into better shit
than he thinks he slings — 

roach of a man feeding in shadows
and dragging disgust behind him
as if a trail of slime could ever
come to a point —

the danger
of a thing like this is that
it thrives on notice and those trails
shine so that at the right angle
you might think it’s pissing pure silver


Revised, from 2005.

Ghost, you call me. Not the ghost, but
“Ghost”, making that my proper name, not (of course)
my Christian name, but the older kind: one

that tells something about you 
that remains true. There’s nothing new
about me being a ghost,

only that I’m called
by that name now, and I’m finally
comfortable with it.

Back when I was just a guy,
long before I leaped off
that bridge to get here,

I used to daydream about flying
and walking through walls.
I used to wish for the power

to blow through a window
so everyone knows you’re there
and you don’t even have to show up.

I never had impact, and didn’t want risk,
so my fantasy became impact without risk:
that would be the life, I thought.  A good joke:

I’ve got the life I wanted,
now that I don’t
have a life.

As a kid I cringed when they told
scary stories at summer camp.
I remember that later on I laughed

at horror films, pretending bravery.
Once you’re here, you find
it’s nothing like the movies. It’s all so – routine.

You show up at regular times,
whistle a little in a dark hallway,
provide a moment of clarity

to someone who’s used to being
safe and warm. You become a lesson
no one needs until after it’s been learned.

But it’s not all bad.
This is a beautiful world
when you can’t really feel it.

It takes your breath away sometimes
to see the way it moves.
I spend years just standing

in front of the strangest things:
not sunsets, not rainbows,
but garbage trucks and fires

and drive-by victims.
It’s all so beautiful, the way
disposal has become an art form.

So, Ghost is what you call me, and I’ll take it now 
the way I’ve always taken it:
with a bowed head.

Before, I would always
come when called
because I had no place to be

other than the place I was called to.
Nothing’s really changed:
I blow through, bother you,

maybe I’ll be remembered
in your children’s stories.
Maybe we’ll see each other one night

on the landing, where you might call me Ghost,
or you might call me imaginary.
No matter. I’ve always answered to either one.

Sun After Rain

Sun after rain,
they say, is inevitable.
Why should we believe that?

The trend of history,
they say, is forever upward.
Why should we believe that?

Trust in the system,
they say, it will right itself.
Why should we believe that?

We’ll get them next time,
they say, if you stick with us.
Why should I believe that?

Because I can see
I believe there are fewer birds here
other than settler sparrows and starlings.

Because I can hear
I believe there are more people
screaming than singing.

Because I can touch
I believe there are waves coming
that will soon swallow entire mythologies.

Because I can smell
I believe in fire and how warm
the perfume from the Arctic’s become.

Because I can taste
I believe there is blood in our food,
on my tongue, in my distended belly.

We’ve got a plan,
they say, but it will take time.
Why should I believe there is time?

Because we decay and have decayed.
Because I am not alone in what I sense.
Because I have seen how little of what they say

ever comes true. 
Sun after rain begets rain begets
weariness, history drowns, the system is just

a way of praying
that I do not believe 
was built to do this work.