"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

27 June 2012

An Afternoon of Walking Ghosts


It was a cruel trick of the light that she looked so much like you. My heart leap and sank all within a beat. The brutality I wanted to inflict at her unintentional deception bordered upon sociopathic. The type of stuff that would make witch-hunters, Spanish inquisitors, Jack the Ripper, and Nazi death-doctors cross their legs and blush.

But it wasn't her fault. There are only so many ways a bipedal body can be put together. Similarities are bound to exist. Some hapless half-bald monkey cannot be blamed for bearing a passing resemblance to a dead woman. It would be wrong action to make her the focus of my ire over the fact you're gone.

For half a heartbeat, I was elated. A year and half can feel like forever in context of the dead, and, in may ways, it is. There would've been so much to tell you in playing ketchup. And, of course, the one question I've wanted so dearly for you to answer;

Why didn't you wear your fucking seatbelt?


Fucking indian,

I haven't seen or spoken to you in almost twenty-two years, not since back in North Carolina. But there was who-you-would-be-here-and-now from those phantasms of memory; the long black hair, the obligatory Kiss t-shirt, and that swagger, which some girls would throw themselves at you for and some boys wanted kill you for. I could even see the anger in the eyes; equal parts that abusive childhood of yours and growing up as one of what you called a conquered people.

I don't think about you as much as I used to. The stories I tell don't feature you as often as they once did. Perhaps that is unfortunate. Maybe that's what nearly twenty-two years without a glance or word will eventually do. I'm not sure I care enough to find out the difference.

I always swore if I saw you again I'd punch you, though I struggle to remember exactly why anymore. The motivation for malice at seventeen seems trivial at the precipice of forty. The effigy I saw swaggering across my field of vision would not have appreciated my fist in his throat.

Besides, punching anything hurts! I could never understand how you did it without the slightest wince, but you were always cooler than I. Or at least that's what I believed all those years ago.

What I saw took me back to those last days in North Carolina. Me and you were born in the same state, and, after three and half years of misery, my father saw fit to move us back. Part of me wonders if you resented me for my escape from that stifling wasteland of white supremacists and kudzu. There are a lot of things I wonder about you when you arrive within the mathematics of my thoughts. But after nearly twenty-two years, neither those questions, or the answers you'd perhaps give, really matter.


  1. Cripes, Robbie. These were painful to read. I hope you got it out of your system.

    1. It was somewhat cathartic, though some residual emotional ouchies remain. So it goes.

  2. That was beautiful. I can relate to this, Robbie, mine still being fresh enough to make my chest hurt.


    1. Thank you. Although both of these are over a year, it's still there. A wise woman once said there's no statute of limitations on grief.

  3. Ah, Robbie. You and your ghosts. Somehow you always make me conjure my own with your stories...

    1. Well thank you, but I also feel I should apologize for bringing up your own phantasms.