Ceremonial Ghosts, Snacking on Corpuscles
Ceremonial ghosts, snacking on corpuscles, wear
red capes to the funeral. Clambering
into the parlour, they do not keep
their distance from the deceased,
to whom they whisper, “Let’s go!”
Obeying, the departed bubbles up
through ceiling and clouds to join
his brethren ghosts on to another wake.
Back on earth, those who weep goodbyes,
and still believe in the freedom of time,
head for cars and drive into the maw
of the nation, their dispersal
but a passing mirage.
Hungry Ghosts Snake
Hungry ghosts snake their way through food lines,
but worms have devoured apples, oranges, pears.
Some folks say death is a return to innocence;
others say it is better not to bear existence
anymore because the cries of swallowed
flesh should not have to be heard.
But no one can silence mortal wounds,
nor are they the final call.
Ask ghosts—they will tell you those victorious worms
are soon to be pecked at by beaks
that will spirit them off to baby robins.
Rapacious Ghosts Have Covered
Rapacious ghosts have covered their faces and bodies
with cobalt and teal cloth stolen from icons
they foolishly mocked without a trace of irony.
They cannot access their souls that have long ago
flown away, dispirited,
not caring how far from divinity
they have strayed.
In brown midnight, their entrance
into the brotherhood of sisters
and sisterhood of brothers is veiled.
Sprigs of yellow hope spring up from below,
but it is too late for joy.
Greedy for love, they succumbed to hate.
Uncle Y Follows Aunt B
Uncle Y follows Aunt B into the crowd
through the green haze, looking
for her eyes, but everyone is
blue, and their features have melted away.
He is swept aside; he cannot feel
how once she held him softly,
nor remember on which street
she said she would wait.
Not having found her, he has grown
fond of strangers who pine
for what used to be.
Ghosts Do Not Mirror Exactly
Ghosts do not mirror exactly
who you think you are
when you pose before them.
They project their own take
on your idea of yourself,
taunting unto infinity the foolishness
you have passed off as sapience.
They reckon your blue logic
as spent passion, watching you lose
balance in the red hot waters of lust
they gauge to be ice.
These poems and paintings are from the book Ghosts, published by the author and artist, December 2018.
Mark Melnicove is author of a 2017 limited edition collaboration (Sometimes Times) with artist Terry Winters, published by Two Palms Press, NYC; Africa is Not a Country, published by the Lerner Publishing Group; and the 1984 bestseller, The Uncensored Guide to Maine. He lives in Dresden, Maine.
Considered one of the best artists working in Maine, Abby Shahn has work in many collections including the Portland Museum of Art, Colby College Museum of Art, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, and the Farnsworth Art Museum. Her first exhibit was at City Lights Books, San Francisco, in 1960. She lives in S. Solon, Maine.
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