by Shawn Misener

You're a ghost fondling the ghosts of things

like they matter, like trumpets with spit

in their mouthpieces you are lonely,

a lonely ghost, the saddest part about you

is that you have no future, the movements

you make are presently looped from great moments

in the past, locked and loaded, loaded and locked,

it makes for a creepy dance, you poppin'

and lockin' on endless repeat, an energetic memory

forced down the throats of your sad neighbors,

who cry and cry and cry over your breakdance fantasy,

you lonely ghost, Chet Baker mourns for you, New Coke

mourns for you, Roddy Piper mourns for you, 8-track

cassettes of Humble Pie and Bachman Turner Overdrive mourn for you

there is a stack of trade paperbacks that teeters

from behind the shrub straight up to your bedroom window,

nobody can climb it, nobody would even dare to,

because your depressed parents left your room

exactly how it was when you electrocuted yourself

trying to fix that triple-loader at the laundromat, nobody

wants to see that, so they leave the ladder of books alone.

I crawl from the corner of High and Hanover

to get to the shrub nourished by a cornerstone copy

of White Noise, the tiny retarded flowers

bleed color, I crawl army style so nobody can see me,

it's like all of the townsfolk are floating three feet

above the sidewalk and unaware of me shimmying

below their shuffling feet, and I am dragging the Earth with me,

knocking it into some funky orbit, it will be my fault the day

Earth collides with the Moon

They say your folks laid your charred crispy body

on your unmade bed and gently placed grade A headphones

over what's left of your ears, and that's what I need to know,

what song is playing to you in that infinite dark night

some call death, but from here the stack of books

seems impossibly tall, I cannot tell where it ends

and where the snowy clouds begin, and it's floating too,

whistling “Freddie Freeloader” and swaying in rhythm:

If I am pulling the earth with me and these books

are riding the air by the force of some bizarre gravity

I may never reach them, much less ascend them, word by word,

page by page, and that ghost song serenading your body

into the void will have to remain a curious thick mystery