afraid of ghosts

I’m afraid of ghosts

…I see them

before I go to sleep
they wear old hats
and they walk along the
fence rows of
Iowa cornfields
in late afternoon
and they sit in the
cabs of old trucks
parked along the
back fence of an
Oklahoma cement plant
…I see one now…
chewing on a straw
and another smoking
a Camel cigarette
I see them
playing cards
with a horse-faced
guy named Mercer
in a Winnebago Brave
that sits alongside
a wrecking yard
in South Chicago, and
I see them
picking their way
carefully – across the
tracks in a
train yard in Kansas City
and…I see them

in
a board room of a Wall Street
bank – leering —
at the opposition
as if to see all the way
through her cream colored
skirt and all the way to
Shanghai
where it is a new
Banking day

I hear them predict their own
demise
at a cocktail party in South Hampton
then I hear them predict
their next wife
and then
their next drink
and I hear them laugh
at the prospect of
their eventual
incarceration
Old ghosts rise from
the tin blue water of
a lake
in northwest,
Minnesota
where
my cousin Mitchell died
in 1963,
I see them
sulking in the hallways of
a morgue
in Oregon
where they brought David
after he put a bullet
through his left eye 22 years
ago, and
I see them
deplaning — single file from
a flight from Southeast Asia,
back in 1969

I see them

in my dreams
when it’s too late
to sleep
and too early to
drink…
…the old soldiers
the old dogs
the pieces-of-eight
the forty pieces
of silver
the
trunk of gold bullion,
that sits at the bottom
of the ocean
a hundred sixty miles
off the coast of Honduras

I see
the farmers, the
miners
the
drinkers and fighters

I see
lovers and thinkers
the writers and
the scorned painters
the castaways and
the forlorn
…and the
suicidal hookers
and the near death
actors
and,

The solemn
preachers
and the snake-oil salesmen

…I see cowboys, drinking
Falstaff beer
and cussing at horses
long after the rodeo
has left town.

I’m afraid of
them all.

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4 thoughts on “afraid of ghosts

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