They say this place is haunted.
I watched the news story,
saw the blue-walled backdrop of my apartment
and the last tenant insistent
about otherworldly persistence.
The ghost is supposedly a child,
a little girl,
which seems logical—
if spectors and spooks
what’s more real
(If you don’t understand
then pat yourself on the back
and hug your mother
congratulations on Daddy loving you.)
I leave a lamp on at night
with two bulbs
(one white one blue)
but not because I’m scared
of spectors and spooks
but because I’m scared of
and my thoughts
in the isolating dark.
My head is a blind alley with incessant buzzing telephone lines hanging overhead dangling sneakers long unworn by stillborn kiddies but there are no spooks or spectors to be found wandering there.
I think my brain is haunted
but not by ghosts.
It’s more tangible than that,
I have heard of malevolent spirits but
they seem tethered to a
or a child
(Are poltergeists really just phantom pedophiles?).
My unwelcome mental tenant
has followed me everywhere I’ve gone
and I’m certainly not a child
he is not,
in my estimation,
Well, what is he then?
He’s a dangerous dare-brained hanger-on.
He’s a fucked off fatalist agitator.
He’s Evil Knievel on a rusty hamster wheel.
He’s a double agent acrobat, an agro bat in the belfry hell-bent on bending me every god damn which way until I don’t know my way from no way, man.
He is certainly not poetry
although his justice might be
He’s the Shame Spiraller,
the Slime Inspirer,
the Lying Conspirator,
the Conniving Interior of My Intellect,
dialectically digesting my integrity.
He’s a hoot, he’s a clown, he’s a joy to have around,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, HE’S JOHNNY WARPATH!
An applause sign lights up the word
an audience of dead-eyed dolls stare blankly,
the stage explodes and turns into a diving board made of concrete
and I swan dive into a gaping grapefruit maw.
My mother told me
she thinks I always wanted to be a ghostbuster
I’ve always been battling spirits.
“You can say demons
if you want to, Mom.
I assure you, I don’t mind.”
Then she tried to give me Holy Water
but I declined
because Johnny Warpath feeds off cruel ironies
and he’d find a way to get loaded off that shit,
I may have wanted to be a Real Ghostbuster,
in my experience
there is no busting real ghosts,
at least not the kind that haunt me.
Peter Venkman may have been slimed a few times
but big fucking deal:
I’ve been spit at,
bled all over,
and all the while
Johnny Warpath is just swinging from the lurch bell in my head,
banging out celebratory chimes in gore-gore time
like a cracked Quasimodo.
“You got a setting for that on your cute little proton pack there, Venkman?
I didn’t think so, man.”
I got more bodies in my basement
than Vlad the Impaler had in his front yard
but I can’t stand the stench.
It is my understanding that
lingering scents are a
malingering sign of
but I figure maybe
I just need to
put my head in the trash
because it’s garbage.
Johnny starts screaming from his bell:
“IF YOU CAN’T DIG ME
YOU CAN’T DIG NOTHING
DO YOU WANT THE REAL THING
OR ARE YOU JUST
LOSING YOUR MINDDDDDD, MAN?”
BANG BANG BANG!
You see, that’s typical of Johnny Warpath.
He finds certain things
that I do not.
-Nervous tics and schoolyard judgment beatdowns
(Just Johnny banging around upstairs)
-Involuntary infidelities with illicit constituencies
(THE VOTE IS IN! YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE!)
-Clandestine paternity switcharoos
solitary obituary clues
confirmatory cause of death blues
(I wonder what he called his own unwelcome-mental-bell-ringer-not-a-spector-or-spook-but-some-son-of-a-bitch-more-awful-more-like-a-fucking-demon-or-devil-but-not-quite-that-either?)
Johnny Warpath is in the Booth
spinning spun-out truths:
“Aw, chin up, mate.
One tragedy is tragic,
Two tragedies is statistic,
Three tragedies is comedic.”
And here he is
full of good ideas too
like this gem:
“You shouldn’t get drunk
you shouldn’t just
you should make
a real occasion of it
Go down aisle six
and start smashing liquor bottles
on the ground
and when the crowd is
nice and full
start uncapping those mother fuckers
to briefly proclaim
THIS ONE’S FOR YOU, DAD!”
But my dad is dead,
but definitely dead.
Johnny Warpath isn’t though
he probably never will be.
He will likely outlive me
at my funeral
he will look down
at my open casket,
about the open bar,
and raise one final toast:
“Don’t worry, mate!
I’ll never forget you!”
in a blind alley
the telephone lines stop buzzing