Halloween Poems

                 HALLOWEEN TRIO     



Sometimes when I remember the car accident,
The screeching of tires,
the impact,
The aftermath,
I wonder if we did die that sunny autumn day,
But our ghosts were not ready to accept
that fact and hovered nearby –
Until you finally settled 3 blocks away,
while I keep driving,
looking for something.


Born the day before Halloween,
on my mom’s birthday,
the thought of ghosts always excited me.
I wasn’t afraid.
My mom and me longed to see a ghost.
It was exciting when I answered the door
Twice to loud knocks at Debra’s party
And no one was there.

But, then, I remember the dark cold middle
of the night in Ireland,
when I felt that hand on my shoulder.


After mom’s final husband died,
She could not be consoled.
“I have nothing to live for now,”
she said forlornly.
I’d never seen her like this.
Drunk and angry, yes,
Nostalgic and sad,
Nagging and complaining,
Playful and fun,
But never hopeless.
I couldn’t bear it.
Would she die of a broken heart
Or kill herself over HIM?

“but Mom,” I said, “He never loved you right
– he was abusive and nasty –
I used to hear him yell obscenities in the
Background when we talked on the phone,
And you told me he went after every woman he could.
Besides, we love you
and your nice boyfriend
is sitting right here.”
Phil looked up.

Mom didn’t change, but kept saying the same
Thing over and over –
“I have nothing to live for now.”
Two weeks later,
she seemed back to her old self.
“So what happened, Mom?
Aren’t you sad anymore?”
She smiled –
“No, I’m over THAT.”

Bev Jo




Death cannot be the end.

Don’t we live again  —  and again?


Raised catholic, that’s not how I was trained –

taught heaven and hell, god and devil,

But I believe in neither.

And my mom, who was raised catholic and Southern Baptist,

depending which relative or foster home she lived with,

Didn’t believe any of it either.


She died in January,

And now our birthday is coming soon.

Both Scorpio,

Both born on October 30th,

We loved being born the day before Halloween.

She loved saying we were witches.


I can’t believe she’s gone.

I keep waiting for her to call,

Then remember,

And wonder, where can she be now?


We’d always stayed connected,

But had gotten our closest yet.

Andy’s love and warmth helped bridge the gaps.

She loved Andy so.

From different countries, different times,

They shared poverty-class culture.

Where did she go?


In a documentary in India,

Several young girls remembered previous lives vividly,

Intricate, unusual details of families, villages,

and work they could not possibly have known otherwise,

And, with their previous lives much lower caste,

They had no reason to lie.

If we had had such memories when we were young,

we’d likely be told:

“Stop imagining things;

stop making things up!”

And we would have forgotten it all.


But these Hindu girls were believed,

So their memories flowed and increased.

Supported by culture and loved ones,

They actually found their previous families,

And everything they’d remembered was proven true.


But some who die seem to stay in this world

in the same place they’d lived.

You’re more likely to see and hear them

if your culture believes in them.

Ghosts are seen and heard and felt in Ireland and England.

In California, Zorrita has smelled them

And I have heard them.

Knocking on doors with no one there,

Light switches going on and off,

The smell of bacon witho no one cooking.

Are these trapped spirits or someone

sharing the same space in different times?

Or memories lasting in the wind,

like dinosaur footprints embedded in mud

that has turned to rock?

Or simply a ghost who enjoys cooking?


When we die, our bodies don’t disappear,

but change to take other forms —

Surely our spirits don’t disappear either.

But do they become unrecognizable

Or do they remember?

Do they try to contact us,

but only some are able?

Or are they here, but few of us can see them?

How long do they wait before returning, and do all return?


I’ve loved a determined life-loving little rat who seemed

to return the day after she died.

Her rat friend suddenly did unusual intricate things with me

that only Chaska had ever done,

and that her friend could never have seen.

It would have been like her sweet soul to want to comfort me.


But there’s been no sign of mom.


Soon is the Halloween magic time –

The Aztec and Celtic days of the dead

When the dead return to visit the living –

When the veil between the 2 worlds thins.

Will mom come back again?


Whether or not she does,

I will still never believe death is the end.


Bev Jo





Where did you go?
Is there no hope of seeing you ever again?
I refuse to believe death is final –
I’ve seen proof that it is not.
But why have you been so quiet,
You, who were not known for silence?

Are you there at all,

In any time, any place?

Do you ever come for a visit into my space,

But I do not feel you, see you, hear you?

I can hold your remnants, but they are not you.

They do not speak to me.

Are you gone forever?
Forever is more than I can imagine.
I cannot believe it.
Do you linger in the wind, bits of you flashing by,
Or do you lurk in dark bars, like you used to?
Could I see you if I gaze long enough
Into the night sky?
Are you now something fleetingly glimpsed
Out of the corner of my eye?
Are you in your own world, dancing, laughing,
Your dream come true?
If you are anywhere, you are not pious.

If you are but imagination now,
Why do I not imagine you?
Imagining I see you, hear you, feel you,
Even in dreams?

Is it that you’re unable to make the journey,
Or me unable to notice your arrival?

How often are we really present anyway,
Distracted, unfocused, our minds wandering?
All those times you would talk at me,
Seldom to me, rarely hearing me,
But you could be present when you wanted to,
And we do have that special bond,
Born the day before Halloween.

Do you remember when I told you about a girl,

When I was but three?
“You’re in love with that girl!” you said –
not chastising, not humiliating.

I can still hear your voice,

More surprise and recognition.

You knew – you were in love with some of them too.

Why did we not make a plan
so I could recognize your return?
You, who were not afraid of much
Would have been excited.
You, who had fought off a rapist cop
Who’d pulled a gun on you.
Later, after you finished with him,
he was said to look more beat-up than you.
You who were always a scrapper,
Ready to fight if needed –
Being a ghost would have been fun for you.
I can only imagine who you would haunt.
Maybe even now you are haunting the one
You trusted, who betrayed us.

If the tiny rat, Chaska, could come back

With such a flourish,

no doubt left in her audience,
Why not you?

Bev Jo
January, 2010

About Bev Jo

I’ve been a Lesbian from my earliest memories and am proud to be a Lesbian. Lesbians are my people and my blood. My life’s work has defending Lesbians and our culture and existence against those who oppress us. Working-class, ex-catholic, mostly European-descent (with some First Nations, probably Shawnee, ancestry), from poverty class culture. I’m a Lifelong Lesbian, born near Cincinnati, Ohio in 1950. I became lovers with my first lover in 1968, became part of a Lesbian community in 1970, and became a Dyke Separatist in 1972. I helped create Radical Lesbian Feminist and Separatist community and worked on some of the earliest Lesbian Feminist projects, such as the Lesbian Feminist Conference in Berkeley in 1972, the newspaper “Dykes and Gorgons” in 1973, the women’s bookstore, Lesbian coffeehouse, and taught self defense to women and girls for ten years. I’ve been published in journals and anthologies, including “For Lesbians Only,” “Finding the Lesbians,” “Lesbian Friendships,” “Amazones d’Hier, Lesbiennes Aujourd’hui,” “Mehr als das Herz Gebrochen,” the Journal for Lesbian Studies, Lesbian Ethics, Sinister Wisdom, Trivia, and Rain and Thunder. With Linda Strega and Ruston, I co-wrote our book, “Dykes-Loving-Dykes: Dyke Separatist Politics for Lesbians Only” in 1990. Our book and my more recent articles have been updated at my blog https://bevjoradicallesbian.wordpress.com/ I’ve been disabled since 1981 with ME/CFIDS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.) I love nature and plants and animals — and especially the animals who are feared and hated and killed by people who don’t even know them, just as Lesbians are. I’ve learned to love rats especially, who I do not consider inferior to humans. I’m a spiritual atheist, but I’ve found out that there is definitely life after death because a little rat returned from the dead for three days to comfort us. These hated little animals are so kind and loving, and willing to die for someone they love. I say, in our fight to protect the earth — distrust all “truths” we are taught by patriarchy. The true truth is often the opposite.
This entry was posted in Additional Radical Lesbian Feminist writings. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Halloween Poems

  1. Rendora says:

    Very beautiful poems! I’ve always loved Halloween, too. I dressed up as a witch many, many times – practically every other Halloween. My little sister liked being animals. Once, she was a tiger. Another time she was a gorilla. I’ve never had a rat as a pet, only dogs. What are they like? Are you able to get veterinary care for them? Have you ever lost one to a bigger animal?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bev Jo says:

      Thank you SO much!!! I grew up with dogs and have lived with cats, a bird, etc. But no one compares to rats in terms of intelligence and capacity to love, generosity, thoughtfulness. They are amazing. But too short a life span. Few vets know how to help them. I spent thousands. Some do get better, but not in my experience. We kept them safe with no predators in our house, but Chaska got out twice and was happily prancing in our yard and visited a neighbor.

      I’m not allowed to have animals now, but I would choose only rats. Instead, there is a beautiful squirrel who comes in through the kitchen window to eat in our living room (organic pecans), and I can pet her all over. I can’t believe it. They are so like rats in some ways.

      And then I’ve gotten very close with wild raccoons, and handfed one (a mother who brought her babies for almost 3 years) thousands of times. I loved her soft gentle hands and before she left, she started to lick my hand. Raccoons are the closest I’ve met to rats, with eye contact and intelligence and communication. I feed a group now, and also a skunk and opossums. And some wild rats who come when I call and run right up to me. I know them individually, but worry because they are so vulnerable. A cat comes too and I worry because she is a danger to the rats, but mostly she keeps the other cats away and comes only at night. And I’m right in the city!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rendora says:

        I love squirrels and raccoons. My college had all sorts of squirrels running around campus. It’s so cool that you got to pet one! I loved to watch them eat nuts scurry here and there. It seems like mostly deer live around my neighborhood. I live in a small town. I guess you could call it a suburb, but we’re surrounded by a lot of other small, rural towns. A few times I saw them eating apples from the tree in the backyard. I’ve seen possums, too. We used to get frogs on the window in the summer, but it doesn’t happen as often now. 😦 It’s so cool that you’ve seen so much wildlife in the city. A visit from an animal feels so magical.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Bev Jo says:

          My squirrel friend just came inside to eat. I can’t believe how much she trusts us. She’s the third one now. In some of the parks there are also California Ground Squirrels who are cousins to Prairie Dogs and have language. I hand feed them. Their burrows help the Burrowing Owls too.

          Where are you at? I’m in Oakland. There have been so many more animals who never used to be here, like turkeys. In some lakes, river otters!

          I would so love to see frogs!!! Cats have killed all the reptiles and amphibians who used to be in our yard, but there are frogs a long drive away. A friend feeds deer and foxes apples, so they come right to her deck. Yes, animals are magical! I love the spiders too.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Rendora says:

            I’m from lower Michigan. I think my state is really beautiful. Are you in California? I hope you’re staying safe from the wildfires. ❤

            Liked by 1 person

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