Sometimes when I remember the car accident,
The screeching of tires,
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.”
HALLOWEEN IS COMING
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 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,
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.
SCORPIO TIME AGAIN –
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?