The last preacher (Haunted October)

Somewhere in the backwoods

Of Appalachia

Down a dark road

At the end of a zip code

Where internet lines

And WiFi cannot go….

Maybe out there….

Maybe there

There is still an understanding

That there is a faith

That reaches further

Than a hashtag

A faith that started

Way back in a Sunday school

Where you learned how to pray…

Do you remember?

Where you learned about Daniel and the Lions Den

Where you learned about the Apostle Paul…

Meeting God

I’m talking about

Something bigger than a newsfeed

Something bigger than NPR

Something quicker than an APP

I’m talking about something deeper

More moving

Than the current trend

Of pop culture billboard 100

——

I’m talking about the

Wake you up

In the middle of the night

Because your soul is being drawn to its knees

To pray for your brother

Your children

Because the enemy

The devil

Is come to steal kill and destroy

He is a liar ….

I’m talking about

Something bigger than

The next big thing

——–

God said

“Be not afraid.”

Why would he say that?

Unless there was something to be afraid of?

——–

I’m talking about an understanding

A deep understanding

In your soul

Your bones

A fire

To take back your peace and your home

The devil is a liar

He came to steal kill and destroy

But there is power in the,hashtag?

Self help?

Self work?

New thing?

No this is an old thing

This is a blood that was poured over the alter in heaven

This is a blood that understands

The earth will be cast away

It will be burned

This is all temporary

But this is something

That will raise you to stand up

And take back what’s yours

Tired

Tired

of

The suicides

The overdoses

The depressions

The lies

The lies

The lies

——-

He didn’t say

Ask

If you could just start another group

Another support group

Another

Me

And mine

Social commentary

——–

This is all temporary

We are made of star stuff

Meant to return to the heavens

And

I’m ready

For a get back what’s yours

Shake off the enemy

Stop trying to impress

And not offend

I’m talking about you on your knees

Because you’ve seen defeat

You’ve been surrounded

You’ve lost too much

You can’t go back

You’re not the same

And you see the face of God

And you raise up a new standard

With fire in your bones

And God moves over your house

Like fire from the heavens

And burns the foundations

And the dust beneath it

——-

I’m talking about a Gospel that lasted through concentration camps

I’m talking about a

Gospel that ran on hymns

Written on the shore

From the soul

From the sorrow

From the need

Like a cry in the middle of the night

You can’t replace

“I need thee every hour…”

“It is well with my soul.”

You can’t replace that with five writers and a pop station

Give me something with power

When I’m alone

At night

And the enemy is whispering in my ear

“You know you’re a failure

You should just kill your self

You’re nothing

You’re nobody

Nobody loves you

You’re a failure and a quitter.”

Give me something with power

That can meet me there

In the night.

Because a pop station

And a yogurt shop

Isn’t going to save my soul

“At the cross at the cross ….”

“His name is Jesus.”

Somewhere there is a remnant

That still remains

That hears his voice

And prays

——–

Prays for their co workers

Prays for their friends

Prays for their community

Prays for their country

Prays

Prays

Prays

I’m talking about knowing God.

Not knowing thyself

Self help

Me me me mine

I

“Lights shine every where we go

It’s so bright and happy.”

I’m not talking about that

I’m talking about a kind of knowing

That helped our grandparents through concentration camps

I’m talking about

A fire

That helped the martyred church

I’m talking about not being liked

But being sustained in spirit

And caring less

And living more.

Through knowing

Knowing God.

I don’t know that we are ready

I don’t know that we are ready

God

Help me to be ready.

Haunted October (ghost)

A stillness in the back of your voice

The weight of the words

All the images of me

Inside this violent heart

—–

Is there room here?

For growth

Is there room here

For something more

Than this pain

The rooms with empty ghost

Of what we used to hold

Of what we used to….

——

I still recall …..

——-

The shadows inside this heart

——

I still recall the way….

——

And everything changes

Everything rearranges

Is there room

For something else

——-

I have no words

Only memory

Only

Only

She stands in the doorway

My ghostly past

She reminds me of my failures

And how soon we can recollect

Just to disassemble

Just to burn

She reminds me

Everywhere I look

I remember

I’m fading

And I’m

Only

Only

Haunted October (quiet)

– I’m not happy

She said it quietly, almost as if to herself more than to me or in conversation.

– You’re not ?

– No I’m not. I’ve not been for sometime. When we are together, which is rare, all I do is cry. And we fight. Or he’s not even there at all. There’s nothing worse than feeling invisible. Hollowed out. I’m more than a face, you know? I’m so much more than that.

– What are you going to do?

— shit. Shit shit shit. I just want to be desired. I want someone to think of me first thing in the morning and just before they go to sleep. I want to be desired. Not taken for granted. Not assumed. Not controlled. Just ….desired. You know what I mean right?

– Hey, you’re fine. Everyone wants a poets gaze but,

– Without the poet.

She lit a cigarette

I poured another drink

Neither of us knew what we were going to do….

I looked out the window

It was raining

Stillness (Haunted October )

The heart starts and stops

The head bangs like a drum

The mind wanders

Down its darkened corridors

Its languished tragedy

Its possessed death

—–

What are we

Where are we

What did we want to be

——

Do you remember?

—–

The hallway closes

The echo of feet

The whispering children

The tomorrow

The desire

never fulfilled never attained

Ragged breath

Hollow eyes

Darkness never minds

Origin

Haunted October (2020)

I dreamed I was having a beer with the devil. The bar was empty, it was just us, and the bartenders…

So how are you feeling

I sat there, saying nothing. Listening, feeling the room. Knowing there was something else there as well.

It’s so easy, you know, to dismiss, all of …this…(he waved his hand gesturing) this God thing. Don’t you think? But with a year like …this…you really outdid yourselves.

-what do you mean?

Oh, this? I had nothing to do with this. You should ask that guy, he’s been here the whole time.

He pointed across the room. A shadow sighs, and steps into the light. His eyes are tired. He looks about my age. I didn’t understand.

I told you last time, you think you’re so righteous and self important. When you’re just vain. People serve themselves. You can’t win. Not when they can get immediate satisfaction. And the best part? I didn’t even have to do anything. You, you did this yourselves. With your toys. Your free will and creativity. The worlds you built yourselves with social media…

You’re all little gods…

With your own personal Genesis…but you’re destroying your worlds…and there’s only hell here. They forgot that…didn’t they…every paradise has a hell. Where else do you put the misfits? The rebels…

Your Guard knows…

(He motions to the figure.)

I don’t know him, I’ve never seen him.

I shook my head

Oh but you do, he’s been with you the whole time, and all these dreams you’ve had? “Past lives” that’s just his previous assignments. stories if you will. Isn’t it cute how you prayed for him to win battles when you were growing up?

I drank my beer and looked at him again. He looked tired.

Oh he’s not almighty no. He has a branch of banks. They’ve been here the whole time. And he makes withdrawals so he can blend in and live. But he is a warrior. Vietnam, WWll he’s even seen the future.

I thought he wasn’t almighty?

Listen, we can move through time but we can’t make the Mona Lisa appear out of pizza.

My point is, I’m not to blame here and if you think it’s going to get better. You should really see the future. It’s a real kicker. An X-File if you will. Everyone wants to blame me. But the truth is. The things you’re afraid of? The darkness you pray to keep out at night? It’s inside you. It always has been. And that’s what scares you. You and me? We’re not even the same. I wanted to be God. But you guys, you guys wanted to kill God.

The room grew cold.

My glass chilled.

I looked around

The room was filled with people again. Everyone was on their phones. Reading their own profiles, their own newsfeeds.

I closed my eyes and thought about the past. Tried to grab hold of something that was textured and pure. No, sure. Something sure. . .

Believing in god was easy. Or at least in something more. When you had seen a storm or a fire.

The chaos. I watched all of the college students…Anne sat down. She was saying something to me, something about breaking up with someone. “There’s just too many options, too many people in the world…I’m keeping my options open. Who tells anyone that they’re the best thing that’s happened to them this year? That’s lame and now standards.”

I smiled…we were shot through. Our parents fought and died and we were bankrupt. I thought about sitting outside watching the city getting bombed …or maybe it was another dream. There was another girl there …she was a dancer…we were drinking and watching the fires…

I wondered how soon we all would realise that we’re lucky to meet anyone that really looks past their own nose and sees us. Really …really sees us. And I thought about how poor we were. And how happy we were. And I thought about how empty we all are…constantly reinventing ourselves chasing change until we die.

Yellow Room (haunted October)

It was raining sideways

The night I died

I remember

The basement

Built above ground

The concrete floors

The open walls

The cold

The 45 acres of woods

Black bears

And deer

Eating

The curly horned monster

Wandered the woods

Only when the fog came out

They said he gathered up children

And brought them back to his house in the woods …

His raven flew ahead and spotted his catch …

The night I died

The waters rose in the creek

A tornado climbed the mountain

The curly horned monster

Stood in the pasture

A wide eyed owl

Sat outside my window

All night

Staring at me

Beside the yellow room…

I heard the witch

Walking in the hall

Her laughter

As she smiled

In the corner of the room…

Haunted October (2019)

It stood there

After climbing the broken glass

Clothes torn from the wreckage

Staring into the headlights

Before collapsing to the ground

***

There was no grappling

There was no struggle –

No grasping

No, that came, always, from the living

Those waving their arms into the night- stopping traffic- attempting to stop time

As the blood filled the cracks in the interstate

***

It wasn’t like the movies

Or the songs

It just, was.

You just are. Until you’re not.

Like picking fruit

Someone steals you away…

One moment

The star burning

The next

The space

Empty between them

With no time to prepare

***

Only the living are burdened with it

Only the living cries out into the night

Only living things grow numb from the pain

Only the living

Only the living

Only the loving

I guess I am still living…

The moon Queen

They say, she left her heart open, in the rain…

Every Tuesday

She would pick her flowers

And write her songs

No one knows much about her

What she really thought

How she felt about things

They only remember her sadness and her tragedy

I like to think

I know what she felt,

Some nights

At 3am

I can hear her playing the piano

Its music fills the halls upstairs

Some nights

When the moon is full

And melancholy

You can see her window open

Her wide, deep, dark eyes

And her blue dress

Sometimes it’s white

But she’s only there for a minute

And then she’s gone

You might see her at the top of the stairs

Or entering someone’s room

Trying to find something she’s left behind

I’ve seen some of her paintings

Some of her sketches

And heard her songs

I think I know what it must have felt like

To be filled so full

And not know

How to express it

To feel so alone

Like an outsider

Maybe she’s still trying to work it out….

They say

You feel the fear

And the terror

If you see her face though

The pain of dying

The air turns cold

I don’t believe it

I think you see the emptiness inside of yourself

No one knows what really happened to her

Her letters

Still show up under my door

That’s when I find her paintings

Inside empty rooms

Sometimes they’re in the park

I’ve seen her walking

When the moon is full

And the fog is down,

I don’t know why she talks to me

Maybe it’s because we are both alone

Filled with things to say

And unsure of how to say them

Maybe it never goes away

Maybe it doesn’t ever let go,

Maybe we just keep on trying

Even after we’re gone….

I don’t know her name

I only call her the moon queen….

Haunted October #8

He remembered the streets 

The businesses coming and going 

The lights 

The finances 

The music 

The cars.

He had been a part of all of that 

Helped build that 

But now everything was a phone 

Or an app 

And everyone was glued to their hands.

He had a wet bar 

Every night 

He would pour a drink 

As much as he wanted, he could never smoke and drink together. 

He saw the City change.
And somehow he disappeared. Like all of those businesses. Those start ups. 

He looked in the mirror. His skin and his gray hair. He was invisible even to himself. 

The years fly by like rain in the wind.

And there is something painful about growing old. No one ever tells you. Or maybe they did tell you, they were just part of that elderly chasm and you never heard them. 

After you reach a certain age. You become invisible. No one really hears you and no one really sees you. Not like they used to. 

They just group you all together, like a pile of dead leaves raked together and forgotten. 

Sometimes he wondered what happened and how it changed so fast.  One minute he was young and finishing college. The next morning  he was so old he could barely get out of bed. 

Haunted October #7

She kept drinking. 

The lights faded down 

Somehow lost in the smoke 

And the music 

Terrible karaoke 

Someone attempting Sheryl Crow 

“There’s a favourite mistake.” I said nodding to the girl on the little stage.

“At least she’s trying.” Sam laughed.  “I’ve never seen you with a mic in your hand.” 

“You never will. That’s my power.” 

We made our way to the back.  Knocked on the office door.  It opened. Men in suits moved to block the door. “Holden Caulfield” I said. 

“There’s a password?” Sam asked as we walked in. 

“No one told ME a password. Why didn’t I know the password?” 

The smoke wasn’t so bad in here.

We sat at the table. There was a card game going on. Someone offered a drink. Sam started for a yes. 

“We’re fine.” I said. Taking the drink and stirring it. I handed it to the head of the table.

 “What’s the case, How did he die?”

The younger one in the middle kept cutting cards. He always handed out a card for a case. He wasn’t a big talker. Each agent knew his assigned neighborhood. And each card had a meaning. Like a fortune. 

” Middle age is a Dead Sea filled with quiet waters. That is no place for passion. His wife knew she could never match an erotic affair.  How could she?” 

“You’re saying his wife had him killed?”

He lit a cigarette. Rubbing his forehead. “No. I’m saying. The dead seeds bring a dead harvest.” 

“You have to think ahead. Short term vs long term. What did this do for the long haul. What were you thinking?” I said. 

Sam poured another drink. I sat down and turned a card over. Looking him in the eyes. There was sweat on his face. He was nervous. 

“Eric was – impulsive. Yes, but this is just bad business. He handled your cards well.” 

He stopped shuffling… 

“You’re not here for a job …”

“You are the job.” 

“Shit.”

“Exactly” 

His eyes panicked. Before he could move he fell face down on his own cards. Cold. 

No one moved. Sam and I slowly got up. 

I looked around the room. Setting the drink straw on the table. 

“We don’t have to make a mess, but remember who watches your assets. Your family could be broke in two hours.” 

We made our way out. Back through the crowd. The music a low hum. 

“Holden Caulfield?” Sam asked. 

” an annoying dick.”  I said .

She kept drinking and lit another cigarette.