Attached Spirit

"You have an attached spirit," said the fake Gypsy at the local event.
I liked her shawl.
She had coffee from Gas-N-Go, and a tip jar;
her booth was on a slight incline, drawing her clients down 
into her confidence, whether by eagerness or gravity.

"I was in a fire once," I told her. 
I like non-sequiturs.  
I like watching people scramble for the thread. 
She paused, then continued.
"This spirit is affecting your mood, your choices, your relationships."
She turned over a card.
I leaned forward without wanting to.

The first time I spent the night with you,
I had a dream that someone was screaming in my left ear,
or there was a bad storm in my left ear,
or maybe an insect had crawled inside and was buzzing, stinger poised.
I sat up quick, breathing hard.
You went, "Unh..." in your sleep, trouble crossed your face for just an instant.

The fake Gypsy told me that every person is like a bead on a string.
We don't choose our color,
our substance, 
our placement.
Some woman lays us across her breast, and it's warm there
or it isn't. 
We are treasured, or we're not.
Kept close, or discarded.

"You have an attached spirit." The fake Gypsy 
was speaking the way some people will to a foreigner--
urgent, a little exasperated.
Understand me, you outlandish fool.
"You need to do something about it."

We visited a park in Belgrade once,
and I was speaking to you, a notebook of poems in my hand,
sitting on the edge of a fountain and serving up my heart
as if it were a second helping of chicken paprikash.
I was turned in the wrong direction,
you weren't listening;
I was leaning forward in spite of myself,
and you were walking away like an occupier withdrawing.
That's all I remember.

"I can help you detach this spirit," said the fake Gypsy.
I leaned back with an effort, almost fell over, heard myself speak gibberish.
I felt sick, stupid, dizzy.
Then I was sitting at your kitchen table,
with the portrait of St. Sebastian on the wall,
and the kitty clock, and the insurance company calendar.

I began to cry, like a stupid schoolgirl.
You laughed, shook your head, and said, "You always overdo everything."
Then I was in bed with a roaring in my left ear.
Then I was falling down the stairs, 
coming apart, splitting, scattering.
The fake Gypsy was there at the bottom, holding up a string.
"There, you see?" she said, smiling as I lay there with my fractures on fire,
"One bead still on the string."
Then she leaned down to kiss me, as if she couldn't help herself.

for Fireblossom Friday: I Put A Spell On You.



Kerry O'Connor said…
Such a fine distinction between your two story-lines, Shay, and you wove them together like the pro you are. How intently we listen to the words of the gypsy, as if they may explain the other story, but you don't allow the beads to all line up, so we fall.. as we all must.. in the end.

hedgewitch said…
I could make a(n outlandish)fool of myself quoting lines here, Shay--"...serving up my heart/as if it were a second helping of chicken paprikash..." turned the wrong way, always the wrong direction, leaning forward into thin air...there is a piercing quality to the feelings and truths in this--they aren't just laid out for us to sample like a smorgasbord, but stitched like those attached spirits the gypsy worries about, impossible not to carry away. I was especially leveled by the sequence you get going in the third, fourth and fifth stanzas--just stunning writing, and all the way to the close, it never lets up.
Anonymous said…
The weaving here is deft and delicate and the plait resolves in a bead that itself is a thread. Magnificent writing.
Magaly Guerrero said…
Love the dance between the story lines, and how in both endings there is a falling. Gravity won't be denied. The same goes for a kiss that must be.
Sanaa Rizvi said…
Oooh!!💘 I absolutely love this - the plot and the twists and turns that dance interweaving emotions of fear and intrigue along the way. Especially in awe of the idea of; "every person is like a bead on a string. We don't choose our color,our substance, our placement." Beautifully penned!!💘
Vivian Zems said…
An adventure, a trip, a trance, an exorcism and a damn good story!
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Over-the-top incredible, a tale told as only you can tell it - or conjure it. I love "I like watching people scramble for the thread" and "you were walking away like an occupier withdrawing." Wow. No one writes like you. Fantastic write!
Cloudia said…
who could? {keep from kissing you}
Marian said…
I like nonsequiturs too! (Love that line, makes me smile)
Rommy said…
"I like non-sequiturs.
I like watching people scramble for the thread"

That was a well and wittily done set up for the rest of the poem. Though the stories are linked because a new love affair can dispel the sense of attachment from an older one. But what will she do when this romance goes sour?
brudberg said…
The flashbacks are so very efficient.. and then when they all come together in the end I feel that the false gypsy was one the other protagonist. Magnificent but terrifying storytelling
Kim M. Russell said…
I love that this is a whole story and not just a fragment, otherwise I would have been left wanting more. This way I get it all! Attached spirits and fake gypsies - ingredients for havoc. Great description:
'her booth was on a slight incline, drawing her clients down
into her confidence, whether by eagerness or gravity.' I also love the way the stories intertwine - I can see it very clearly. Perfect!
I visualized this as a movie - loved it, the A/B stories, the humor. IT's all great, as I would expect. la la Mosk

ps - thanks for remembering my 54th.
Carrie Van Horn said…
The narrative and detail are perfectly intermingled together had me held captive to the very end. This is a new favorite for me!!! Breathtaking writing as always Shay!!
Jazzbumpa said…
I'd have to read this 50 more times to grock it - and maybe not even then.

I did have chicken paprikas this week, at my favorite Hungarian restaurant.

This is truth.

It was good.

You are good.

Even as a broken bead
on fire
at the bottom of the stairs.

I love the story, the little details, the humour ... and the lovely, unexpected culmination.
Susie Clevenger said…
"She had coffee from Gas-N-Go, and a tip jar;
her booth was on a slight incline, drawing her clients down
into her confidence, whether by eagerness or gravity." Oh God I love this!!
Brendan said…
Magnifique FB -- another dizzy high wire footsy feat. These are fractured fables of a heart working in the wrong city.