Saturday, November 16, 2013


Thursday, November 7, 2013

This October's Ghost List : Haints, Taints, and Some Still Are /Aint Happenings.

Church bells, doorbells, the sound of children’s voices trick or treating, and my mother’s laughter – a rare carefree version of her laughter –all mingling in the dark Herkimer air.

The severe depression era dresses of my great-great grandmother laid out on the bed after her funeral.  The confusion of her absence in my seven-year-old world. The smell of a pumpkin pie and the women arriving, packing up her belongings, talking in sad, fond voices.

NYC in 85.  A lean punk rock messenger boy takes me on his delivery route. We end up in a high-rise, office tower on an empty floor awaiting reconstruction. The place is huge, raw, and battered.  We kiss heavily. He reaches toward the fly of my jeans and I notice the lines of scars and bruises along his arms.  I’m 17 and junkies have only been in books and songs till now.  I tell him I have to go. I think about his arm as the Staten Island Ferry takes me over the water. I think more about his lips, about what might have, what I should have, why I didn’t… till I reach the home and there is Michelle, with her round hips, pale face, and eyes darkened by Siouxsie style make-up.  For the first time I see  naïveté  in  the gothic/punk trappings of our life and home. I like this innocence and want to keep it safe, which make me hate it.   
Boys fall like leaves, or rather, deciduous by nature I fall for them…  Being in love with Brook and SF in the 90’s when I first arrived there – the whole gorgeous, shabby Halloween parade that place and that time was… Colter’s masks – faces as galaxies, leaves, waterfalls, other masks – all the things I saw in his face everyday when we woke together… Waking with Mike, our first October in Portland, with October Country and all the crazy mix of love and creating together filling the room and the house and the days… Alex waiting in my bed after the Halloween party two years ago.  His furry faun pants lay crumpled by the bed. Pan has transformed into a drunk and tender young man who nervously tells me he likes me and asks if we can date… The floor creaks in the dead of night.  It’s Michael in the kitchen back from one of his restless missions.  He slips into bed and wraps me in the lonely charm of the streets at 1 a.m.  In the morning his sleeping face is like a slender new blossom. The house blooms with flowers he raided from dark gardens.

Speckled skulls and gaunt faces of Halloween decorations glow and hang in yards and windows. Watchful. The presence of HIV in my life fills these death’s heads with the faces of those who suffered and died in the pre-medicated past.  They chill me backward and forward in time, these ghosts of unavailable medicine.  All the holiday's fake blood –spilled and splattered on screens, cloth and skin –that means something else now too. For those whose blood carries and transmits disease, it’s as if fake blood, synthetic and toxic, has replaced your own.