Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ghost Tax

Just because you're dead,
doesn't mean all bets are off.
I'm talking to you, the hazy figure
hanging by hemp above the staircase.

You lost your love?
Well, suck it up, Bo Peep.
No need to be shoving guests down the spiral,
breaking their damn necks
just to make a point.

Every night
for five hundred years,
the sound of a carriage on cobblestones 
wakes the household promptly at four.
Some of us have to work.
Did you ever consider that?

Today the postal carrier delivered
a dunning for the ghost tax.
I had to sign for it
with a cheap pen,
and all the neighbors staring.

Now, spirits,
render up a specified portion of your grief,
a legally apportioned fragment of your unrest,
until the incorporeal marrow 
forms a bone flute;

Hear, in the fog of morning,
how its notes serenade the empty wastes you call hearts,
following, like bad credit reports,
those worthies you loved and died for
in a daylight world now auctioned off and handed over.


Buddah Moskowitz said...

Well, I hope you signed that dunning in invisible ink. Puh-leeze, being dead doesn't get you out of anything, not even Death. Ever hear of Karma? Me either, Charlie Brown, but I don't believe anything's scarier than your pal Moskowitz before his first StayAwake (walgreen's generic) tablets in the morning. Following, like a bad credit report? Is it any wonder you've so many adoring fans - you speak to us in metaphors strong and spot on. Loved this, and of course, love you, el Mosk

HermanTurnip said...

Hey, I just wrapped up Douglas Adams' book "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency". Judging by this poem I think you'd really enjoy the read. Being dead sucks, especially for the dead ;-)

hedgewitch said...

I always knew you were one of those tax and spend exorcists.

A gently mocking buildup disguises the brass knuckles in this ghostly gutpunch--last stanzas are, well I won;t say the h-word, but you know what I'm getting at.

cloudia charters said...

your opening gambits
famously thrill me
but you live up to it
in succeeding

Friendly Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } (°>

Daryl Edelstein said...

amazing .. another year old and still as sharp, clever, witty and wordy!

Margaret said...

The photo intrigued me... I'd LOVE to peek in those windows! Carriage on cobblestones for 500 years? I love that sound... but not at 4 am, I'm sure.

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is brilliant! What a narrative voice: only you would tell ghosts to suck it up and get a life.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love "Suck it up, Bo Peep." The carriage wheels reminds me of a haunted driveway I was fascinated by in Kelowna as a kid. Story was, the father and the son were out drinking and were late getting home. The daughter, inside the house, heard, at midnight, the sound of galloping horse hooves and the rattle of the buggy. When she looked out, there was nothing there. The buggy had overturned and the men were dead, lying in a ditch somewhere. For decades after, people would report they could hear the galloping hooves and the buggy coming down the driveway, which was lined with tall poplars, at midnight under a full moon. True story.

Your "ghost tax" is a brilliant touch.

Lynn said...

Suck it up, Bo Peep. :) So great.

Mama Zen said...

I adore that 5th stanza. Wow!

Shawna said...

This is such a tragedy. No one should ever have to use a cheap pen.


Scarlet said...

I think the neighbors need to be shoved down the spiral! ;) Love this one, chica! xo

Daryl Edelstein said...

this is one wonderful bunch o'words made into a movie .. yeah well you see it your way, I'll see it mine

Anonymous said...

{giggle} LOVE this!!!

getting older certainly hasn't been detrimental to your writing!