Monday, June 21, 2010


The ghosts

Of old dreams

Are washed out video-shadows

Milling about in salvage stores,

Train yards and vacant lots,

Muttering state secrets

And family recipes into the wind.

The ghosts

Of old dreams

Are fleeting quicksilver gleams

In the corner of the mind’s eye,

And then, suddenly,

In a flurry of back road dust

And magpie wings,

Are smoke.

The ghosts

Of old dreams

Are fat bottom feeders, much like

Their not-so-distant cousin

The catfish.

In fact,

They often dine

At the same greasy spoons

And bed down at the same

Flophouse hotels…

A hollow log, a tire, a Christmas tree,

A chamber in the heart,

A cavern in the skull,

Maybe a washer or refrigerator,


Whereever there’s a vacancy

Or a free meal.

They do what they can to survive.

In fact,

It is said

That there is a giant catfish

Somewhere at the bottom

Of the world;

Bigger than the Blue Whale,

huger than the Brontosaurus,

more gigantic, even, than the ancient,

fabled Leviathan.

And many believe

This surly old boy to be God.

And there he is, way down deep there

Among the jutting pillars

And slowly eroding walls

And steel skeletons

Of his first clumsy experiments

With civilization:

Slithering and sucking about,

Sifting and breathing out our days

From the primal mud and muck of life,

Accompanied only

By his angelic battalions of advisers,

His armored corps of engineers

The crawdads.

And look,

There they are;

Rippling out around him

In concentric circles

And billowing coronas of silt,

Hard at work,

Sniffing, tasting, testing, triangulating,

Picking over the tiny,

Time-filtered bits and pieces

Of the past, reworking

The problems of the world

From the bottom up.

It is said

That no other creature

Of his creation can withstand

Such depths,

Except perhaps

(if you believe in such things),

the ghosts of old dreams.

-Jason Ryberg, 2003

No comments:

Post a Comment