ghosts

ANETHUM GRAVEOLENS

 

Ooooh that smell

Not really quoting Skynyrd

Smell of life

Merari, my Gran called it

Dill

Chicken vegetable soup

Fresh merari

Tossed on top of the pot

For the last five minutes of bubbling

Hot kitchen, cold winter

But now

Evening in Florida swamp

Smell it growing wild

Well, seed pods begging to be harvested

Must have blown out of my neglected pots

When I took time off from growing herbs

Planted themselves

And now

An aromatic memoir greets me

In the soft gray

End of day

Bringing the ghosts of Gran and Mom

Aunt Cee and Aunt Are

Bumping hips

While dancing around each other

In a small kitchen

With a huge pot

 

Forgetting I have no pockets

Because women’s clothing

Usually doesn’t include that all-important

Piece of fabric

(Can’t have it interfering with the hip line

Of a voluptuous woman)

But I reach for my pouch

So inconvenient to draw attention

While fumbling with the drawstring

Just to feel the reassurance of

My pocket deities:

Acorn, feather, sea shell and fiery bloodstone

Imbued with my essence

From touching them with

Invisible fingertip oil

Touching, touching

Wanting to keep the ghosts of family

Singing and laughing

Forever happy

Keep those ghosts forever

But soon they fade

And I vow

That tomorrow

I will search the sunlit swamp

For a sprig of dill

Add it to my female pocket

And one day call upon

The memory

Once again

From the scent of an earthen gift…

 

© 2017 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Dill, Wikipedia

 

PHANTOMS OF THE NIGHT

 

Reading ghost stories

In my darkened room

Middle of the night

Finally eyes closed

Falling into a Beta sleep

Creepy images

My old friends

Presented by Hypnagogia

Sleep disorder extraordinaire

Flickering, ghostly girls

From the novel

Originating in a Central Casting union shop

Translucent skin reminiscent of

Victorian tubercular heroines

Smudged, dark eye-bags

Herbalists diagnose as

Renal dysfunction

So much like my favorite flick

Carnival of Souls

Yet Gran looked like herself

When she visited me

On my birthday

Superimposed her face on mine

In the bathroom mirror

Mom did too

Except her hair and clothes

Were World War Two-ish

As she perched on the arm

Of my couch

And I told her to go

Too many issues

When she lived

And breathed her fire

At desperately-wanting-to-be-loved-by-Mommy me

So, no

Ghosts R Us

Not smeared and stained

Not bloody and un-brained

Us R Ghosts

Look in the mirror…

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: young woman reading ghost stories, Wiki Commons

ELEMEN-CY

Cloudy, dark night

Invisible meteors

Scorching the sky

Uninterested dogs

Perimeter sniffing

Distracted by possum and coon

Spoor

So I am ignored

Flaming cauldron calls

Quite easy to set a match

To the balled paper

Twigs and branches

Oh, how I need guidance

This P’habengi Rat night

Elemental divination

Jag–Fire the base

For this burning Aries

Wrapped in a black caftan

Trimmed in salsa-red

To match lonely lips

Studying shapes of flames

Hungrily consuming

Combustibles

Pyromancy

Eyes closed

Show me ME, say I

Emphatically

Coiling, blazing

A divine divination

What do I see???

Nothing that looks right

Perhaps I need help tonight

Phu—Earth

Geomancy assisted by salt

Tossed in the flames

Unclear alteration

The Earth recoils

From the wounds of the soil

What do I see???

A rumbling of rock and stone

Horror-struck, I suppress a groan

Haburo—Air

Aeromancy

Wind conveniently blowing strong

Flames shift

Father Sky leers

Tell me!

No answer, so I sigh

What do I see???

Tornado, trying to lift me unto death

Frightened, I fight, holding my breath

Paj—Water

Hydromancy

Sprinkling water from the hose

Hand naturally cupped to change

The flames

Thirsting for self-knowledge

I call the wetness

Staining Mother Earth’s robe

What do I see???

Monsoons showering down on me

Yet the fire remains water-free

How to tie disparate forces together

Alomancy

Pouring remaining salt on the ground

Finding an unburnt branch

Eyes closed

Kneeling on the grass

Owl hooting

Bats flying

Cats crying

Dogs howling

Stick in the salt

Open the eyes

Jittery automatic writing

Symbols similar to tasseomancy

Tea leaf augury

Next I’ll be stirring up entrails

Oh, what do I see???

I see ghostly forms

Swirling around the fire

I see an open doorway

To a world I no longer trust

I see the elements rebelling

I see fists shaking in my face

I hear demands calling for my disgrace

Where is the center

Where is the ground

Heavily anchored by a swollen heart

I close my eyes and turn around

Where is the circle of protection

How could I forget…?

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  Backyard Pyromancy

UNREAL WRAITH

 

I sometimes think you died in the hospital

And me, famous family denier

Cannot accept or just doesn’t know

That the heart attack was fatal

Drove you home from the hospital

Talked to you

But maybe I conjured you up

As I broke down

 

No physical contact

So don’t know if you’re a ghost

Would my hand penetrate your shape

If I reached out to touch?

Don’t really want to test my theory

We sometimes speak

Mostly, you’re a disappearing specter

Silently, suddenly appearing in a room

Sitting quietly

Staring at me

 

No one has seen you in years

Just me

So I question my fears

Are you real?

My shattered soul

Is taking longer to heal

I just don’t know

 

At night I hear a voice

Stream-of-consciousness

A clickety-clacking brain like mine

Leaping among the shoals of conception

Tumbling in the tides of ideas

Am I reading your mind,

Or do ghosts communicate like that?

Must I pick out the important parts

Of your manic communication

In order to gauge sanity?

 

I sometimes believe you survived

I sometimes believe I’m the one who died…

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Ghost (Mirror Online)

P’HABENGI RAT (HALLOWEEN) #1

 

When that thin gossamer veil

Between the worlds

Shreds impatiently

To let the alive and dead

Have their meet-and-greet

Be careful what you wish

Be aware of what you say

Trust no spirit if they be unknown

Dump salt from a neck pouch if tingly scalp

Light white candles if black ones flicker and flare

Carve smiley orange kirbiso

And fish-feed your inky cats

Unless

Unless you crave

(If you are brave)

Excitement that may turn into

Fear

Because the spirits are bored

Powerful and jealous

And they may overcome

Whatever you believe

Who has the control?

Not us, my fellow-living

We can train, memorize, pray

But spirits have that spectral power

A necromantic way with words and wands

No, we’re no match

Unless

Unless you are blessed

With wisdom and purity

And you know the runes to

The banish spell

Do I know them?

Will I share?

Perhaps if you give me your candy corn

I can be persuaded to bare my soul to you…

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: MzScarlett