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. 

Haunted October #6

There it was the camera flashing 

Illuminating the barn 

The smell hanging thick in the air 

Like the humidity 

Everyone wanted their picture taken 

Everyone wanted to look the same 

Dead eyes 

Pale perfect  skin 

There was no blemish 

No stretch marks 

Life sized dolls 

The photographer 

Made his living this way 

He simply gave them what they wanted 

He had his own bills to pay 

But there they were 

He felt like a dressmaker 

Or an old con man selling sugar packets 

Dead eyes staring back at him…

Everything is copy.  

Haunted October #4

The strangeness 

Of watching 

The towns you grew up in 

Slowly age 

Like dead weather 

Coming up in your lungs 

The colors fade 

Like winter 

Always dragging

The streets down 

No one ever gets ahead 

No one ever gets out 

You wear it 

Like leather 

And you age with it 

Maybe our stories 

Are all tied together 

Maybe this really is the winter of our discontent 

Did you drink it away

Did you kill it away 

Did you find your way 

Somewhere 

you find your shelter

You survive another day

Small towns with big hearts 

Big eyes 

Watching the world burn

Living on the ashes 

Calling it welfare 

Believing it can build a future 

Still I sit down

I write anyway 

Haunted October#3

I remember the first time I heard them. Walking through the house at night. Three am. The lights flooded through the windows. 

That was the night the neighbours house burned down. 

The following week they found the girl in the river. 

I hadn’t thought about it much, not until I was visiting a friend. And I saw the news. Another house burned down. 

The same street I grew up on. 

“Hey I’m sorry, excuse me.” I said. Stepping over this kid he was babysitting. She just kept looking at the tv. I went into the kitchen and asked them about the house. But they didn’t know anything. 

I decided I would drive out and look around.

“Hey what happened to the kid that was here earlier?.”

“What kid?” 

“The one that was right here.”

Both of them just looked at each other. “We don’t have a kid,man.”

Later that night I was getting ready for bed. Brushing my teeth, I got a cold chill while spitting in the sink. I looked into the mirror and saw the girl sitting on the washer behind me. Her hair was wet. 

The power went out just as I looked away.

Wet feet ran through the house. 

When the lights came on I couldn’t find anything.

Today they found another body in the river…

Haunted October#1

Taste the ash inside the mouth 

Feel the flesh as cold as clay 

You never seem to come around 

All the colours fade to grey

I listen to the words 

I used to say 

Now the voice inside 

The void 

The space 

We all come apart here 

We all can’t escape here

Did she rename her dreams that got away 

Does this still make you happy?

She’s here 

But I’m missing 

The void 

Just a word 

Just 

Just 

I am missing 

in little parts 

We all die here 

In the end 

The Nightwalker #4

Darkness filled the room. The air growing cold. You could see your own breath.

Clayton, couldn’t move. Paralyzed by fear. He could smell them. Hear the steps around the walls of the room. Feeling the weight shift in the bed as they lay down beside him. He was frozen on his side. A hand gripped his shoulder slowly, a piercing as if slowly being stabbed in the back. 

A shadowed figure stood before him when he opened his eyes again. 

“Harvest is coming.” It whispered. 

Jack was on the outside of the bedroom door. Pounding it with his fists. Trying to get it open. Shaking it. 

“Clayton! Clayton! Focus! Try to move your hand you will wake up!”

Clayton couldn’t hear it… everything was a vacuum of fog in his head. All he could hear was the whispering of voices in the cold room. 

“I’m coming. Harvest is coming. ”


Afterword I stood in the room. Clayton showed me his back… a cold burn over his shoulder. 

“This is real.” I said with disbelief. I don’t understand. 

Clayton looked at me. 

“I know what Harvest is I know what it means. He’s coming.”

Clayton put his face in his hands rubbing his eyes he looked up at me. 

“The Reaper. Jack.  This is real. and he’s coming.”

Flowers for December 

Part 3
Room 669 

A lot can be behind a door. I thought about the numbers. The math. The crowd of people in the room downstairs. 

The last time I saw Lauren. This time. Lauren came walking out with her cane. Her hair pulled back into a tail. She didn’t look old to me. She looked tired but not old. Sometimes I think we look at each other through memories. 

Sometimes I think we would be better off not remembering anything. 

“What is it? You have that look you always have when something is troubling you, Sean. The wolves are at the door, and we have all night and no fire.” 

I sat down. Opened my notes and watched her. I remember standing on the bridge and her lips. She looked at me and told me she was leaving. She had to. We could have been great together. But, we were better apart.”

“What are you going to tell them? Lauren. You haven’t found a cure have you?”

She laughed. “A cure! Ha! There is no such thing as a cure. We are all dying. Every one of us. It started when we were born. Life is death. Every form of medicine is just prolonged death.There is no such thing as a cure. If I had one. I wouldn’t give it to them. No.”

“What would you do?”

“Keep it for myself. They don’t deserve it.” 

I looked around the room. “You don’t mean that Lauren.” 

Lauren pulled on her uniform coat. 

” I’ve spent my life,working , and now I don’t know what to do. Leukemia, maybe three months. I’m dying….there’s not enough time. I don’t think I can stop this, even if I had the resources.” 

“What about medical schools? Surely there is something…”

“No. students today…I tried. They raise hands and trust textbooks they’ve paid a lifetime held ransom for. They won’t question what they read or what I find they’re obedient little soldiers. But not good scientists.  You can’t stop this spread. Not with that. I need critical thinkers. Someone who won’t even trust me. Science is our integrity. Not my degree or pay check or emotions. I don’t care that I’m dying! Get me results.” 

Lauren closed her notes. Packing them into her binder. Looked at me, asked.

“How’s journalism? Is it everything you dreamed? Don’t you ever want to go back? Do things differently? You haven’t exactly gotten your nobel prize. Have you.”

I sighed. Scratching my arm. I was frustrated. Frustrated with this whole thing. Newspapers are broke. They can’t afford journalists. They’re simply three page thought pieces. Cut into the bone marrow for budgets and no profit. No one gets a story. They get an opinion from a guy behind a YouTube camera who couldn’t even make it to the actual story. What could go wrong. 

We are drowning in a culture of mass media. Not a lack of information, it’s not even hidden, it’s in excess, too much. Anyone with a web address could post a story. An now we were paying for it. Everyone has a news forum to back up and support their worldview. 

I took my parents fortune and used it to travel in an effort to give the whole story. Without opinion. I’m one of the only journalists  who will be seen at government conferences. Not because they don’t want us there. Because no one can afford the ticket. Or salary. 

“I wouldn’t change anything. Lauren. I like what I’m doing. What are you going to tell them?”

She turned towards me. 

“I’m going to tell them the truth. That we had a good run. But our time is up.”

“You can’t say that, you have to give them hope . These people will respond to hope. It’s human nature.”

Lauren laughed. 

“That’s what the Golden Arches of McDonald’s are for.”

“Ehh I’m more of a Cheesecake Factory and yoga on Sundays.”

Lauren just stared at me.

“If you want to give them hope. Tell them we had a golden era where science, like God, Told disease it couldn’t take anymore lives. But then we got too comfortable, we didn’t suffer, we couldn’t remember, and we took down our barricade. And now the Reaper is coming to call. And there is nothing I can do.”

I ran my hand through my hair.

“Lauren, you’re the last scientist. No one is going to listen to you.”

“Soon I’ll be dead. And then so will they.”

She stepped into the elevator. 

The doors closing 

“I love you,you’re insufferable. But you have a nice ass. If I had more time.”

I watched as she stepped onto that podium. Opening her notes, to this crowd of faceless strangers. Staring into their phones. Assuming this too will pass. Like the war they unfollowed and the other viruses or flu seasons…it always goes away. 

I watched as she stepped up with her cane. And looked over the room. This woman I somehow still loved. She would open her notes and see two tickets.  One way.  To the mountains. Maybe I couldn’t  fix this,buy a scientist or a cure, but I could give solitude, and we could be together for just a little while. 

She looked at me. 

And for just a moment 

It was just us in that room 

And we were back in college 
Arguing over drinks. And I could see the future. And it was good.

End