People come and go, throughout this life, like flashes in the sky. I remember some well and others, not so much. Time is fickle like that.
Some people just vanish, gone, never heard from again, Then, sometimes there are the ones who haunt, even if they are still alive. These connected forces of love, lust, honor, trust or maybe something bigger. Whatever it is that makes them stick, its powerful.
The mind is a fucked up place, full of photo books and old journals. The memory banks open and close, depositing and making withdrawals. It can leave you lying awake, waiting for a call that isn't going to come, because frankly, that ship sailed long ago.
Lately, well really over the past several years since my sobriety, more of these ghosts have come back to haunt. It's like a Polaroid developing, complete with scents and sound.
I smell her hair, see her tits, and taste her, but I know she is long gone, married, kids, forgotten me long ago. It's not just women, no, it's just people. I remember him, his cologne, so strong and the cigarette smoke that always lingered in his leather jacket.
Sometimes I see his hands, those rings and the way his knuckles seemed to have taken a beating, or given plenty. His voice, like a gravel road, crunching words with an almost damp gentleness beneath the stern angry machismo. I still see the blood on those hands the day he took a cue ball too a guy over some business I wasn't privileged to know. That violent day I saw him for the beast he was.
There was the way he'd pull money from his pocket, clipped in, 20's, 50's and 100's. He'd shake your hand with a weeks pay for a few hours of nonsense, or slip a few green ones in your pocket with a wink. Those fucking hands slapping your cheek like a father would, telling you "Good boy" and then "Get out of here!".
The man was respected but he wasn't as big as it seemed. His death was undignified, just a shell of a once proud dictator. His subjects were other men, fat, ignorant and proud, with horrible mouths and worse habits. These were his army, his fucking stress, and I wanted to be there.
So I reminisce about what could have been, what I could be? Most likely, I'd be just another piece of shit, riddled with violent thoughts and conflict, but the money seemed okay.
Yet, I see him, on his quiet throne, staring at an old TV. His cigarette burning down and a slight cough. He'd toss me a key and say go meet a guy and be a good boy. Shit, I don't get how I ever even met him but I did, he seemed to care. It was like he saw me as a lost sheep or stray cat, feeding me what was likely bullshit but man, it made me feel fucking strong.
That's just one ghost, long gone but always lurking. I pass him in the streets, on my bus he stares and in the park, he walks with his shoes clicking behind me. Always watching me, keeping me close. I might be crazy but he's there, in the air, with others too. The lost boys I ran from after I left home. The dead youthful renegades blood soaked songs, they play over loud speakers and in headphones. I see those fucking dope soaked ghouls walking in a misty morning. They follow me like stray dogs dragging their chains like I'm in a tragic play. All of them haunt, even past lovers, the beautiful shadows.
So I lay here, night after night, typing away each time reliving the past and reviving the dead. If they are still living I can only recite the last time I saw them, it's the ghost writer blues. I just keep writing them back into being, but they now belong to me, as I mold them into poetry and prose, each one embellished, reworked, and remembered as my truth.
They are just stories now.