Thursday, March 22, 2018

Night Walkers

We're sorry to call
at such a late hour--
so we'll scoot in and snick the door

shut

so quietly.

Every Wednesday night
since Goddess knows when
we're canasta queens

but then you know we

have time to be.

We wear white dresses up to our necks
and we like the jokers left in the decks.

Shh shh, go back to sleep.
Don't come down the stairs--
or we'll disappear, tongues gone to cats,
as if we'd never even been there.

We sense you more than see you
when curiosity draws you
down the stairs--

we hold our breath

and three our pairs. 

Curse you, damn you,
disturbing our game
with lights obliging us to disperse--

impudent meat bag!

We were here first! 
________

For Marian's music prompt--Alice Cooper. Youtube doesn't want to let me include his song "Black Juju" but that's the one I wrote from. 

I once had a dream that I was one of a small group of 1900-ish ladies who gathered regularly in a house to play canasta. We'd play our cards and get talking and laughing--waking up the resident upstairs in the bedroom. I remember very clearly that the house had beveled glass in the front door, and a narrow stair case rising up from it. To one side was the parlor with a fireplace and a table and chairs. All of us wore white. Anyway, when the resident would get up and start edging down the stairs to see what the voices were, we all had to stop silent and wait to see if they would turn around or come all the way down and ruin our game. You see, although only the resident seemed shadowy to us, we knew *we* were the ghosts in *their* house. And...it wasn't the first time I had dreamed of being a ghost in someone else's reality!

14 comments:

Sherry Marr said...

Well, your dreams are better than my reality, lol. I loved this, all of it. Reminds me of playing canasta with my grandma a hundred years ago (almost literally, lol.)

Mama Zen said...

I love the line breaks. They make it feel as if the poem breathes with you.

Margaret said...

Very interesting dream - that would be a great prompt - there are a handful of dreams I remember - not sure I would be able to write them down like this and have them make sense though. But maybe that would be the intrigue of it... I love the phrase "Three our pairs"

Toni Spencer said...

And here I was thinking of ghosties instead of a dream...I'm sure our old house is haunted - I know when Papa died, mama heard him walking around until she sold the house. I often heard feet coming up the stairs and my grandmother had to always close the door of a certain cabinet in the kitchen. I love this line! "we'll disappear, tongues gone to cats,
as if we'd never even been there." Every Sunday afternoon, we'd gather round the kitchen table and play canasta and then eat leftovers for supper. sometimes all of us sometimes one or two missing sometimes one or two added - yeppers. We were the Canasta Jews of Holloway Street.

hedgewitch said...

Canasta! Only you, Shay, could see this scene and set it for us so believably...I have often thought that dreams like that are a way we walk back into other lives, and that is exactly the feeling this gave me. You are writing like an angel--albeit one who wears a lot of red--these days. I particularly like the way you make the ghosts more real than the living.

Kim Russell said...

I'm with Toni - I thought of old lady card-playing ghosts! I also love the line!
'...we'll disappear, tongues gone to cats,
as if we'd never even been there.'
I also love the sounds and pauses in:
'so we'll scoot in and snick the door
shut
so quietly'.
The other lines that made me think of ghosts were:
'We sense you more than see you
when curiosity draws you
down the stairs'.

Fireblossom said...

They ARE ghosts.

said...

What an effective use of white space. I love these lines:

"so we'll scoot in and snick the door"

"since Goddess knows when
we're canasta queens"

"or we'll disappear, tongues gone to cats"

Vivian Zems said...

I love this! You got my imagination going as I remembered ghost stories and childhood games.

brudberg said...

Ghosts or dreams... they are almost the same, love the reality bursting in

destroying the game...

Susie Clevenger said...

Ghosts, dreams, sometimes I can't tell. I had such a vivid dream a few years a go that had me waking up to the smell of a woman't cologne I'd never smelled before.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Such a surprising vantage point from this choral verse of canasta-playing ladies.. which is why I love to visit - I never know what to expect.

Brendan MacOdrum said...

Maybe dems da muses, playing on til we think about what we're writing. Great poem, and the note is a rare peek into the Shayscape. Indeed.

Marian said...

This is so great. The form of the poem is perfect for your ghostly game, and I can really see all of it, could practically join in. The word SNICK is soooo perfectly evocative! Perfect, perfect.
Go on an Alice Cooper bender and bring us some more magic? ;)