Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ghosts

At the back of my pink filing cabinet.

Don't call the shaman yet:
everything I've ever given up on
still fits in a letter-sized hanging folder,
bloated as a floating corpse,
labeled OUTDATED PROJECTS.
Like a vampire coffin, secret
in the basement of an abandoned house.

They only rise at night, of course.

If I lie awake
past midnight on a weeknight
I can hear them over the snore
of all the choices I've made,
shuffling their papers like feet,
rattling their drawer like heavy chains.

I could silence them.

If I could stop telling their stories
to friends around campfires.
If I could stop trying to resurrect them,
stop digging up their skins
and wearing them out to dinner
like a ring from a failed engagement.


This poem was written in response to a Poetry Prompt on Big Tent Poetry.




Aren't they cute?? Photo by dizznbonn



        What's haunting you? An unfinished project? A mistake you made? A soured friendship? A chance you didn't take?

16 comments:

Dorkmaster Flek said...

Unfinished project, both at work and home. :) Work is a bigger deal, because I have to tackle that eventually. At home, I still haven't moved forward with my game, but I don't have anything other than personal interest driving that one. :P

Katie said...

I am completely haunted by past mistakes. It makes me feel sick to think about the things I've done some times. Even if they aren't the worst things in the world.

Mary said...

Yeah sometimes I let past mistakes bother me... I carry a lot of guilt sometimes and other times I'm just like f*ck it, it doesn't matter, move forward. Like Katie says, you dwell on shit and sometimes it makes you sick or at least gives you butterflies, even if they aren't the worst things in the world. The important thing is that you learn and move on.

We need to ensure that the great ideas we've had in the last little while don't become ghosts. We have to take at least a few and run with them... It won't cost us anything but time and effort anyway, so we won't be out any money if we give it a shot.

Alexis said...

i have so many past demons i'm surprised i can sleep at night. its not like these things haunt me on a everyday basis. i think it would safe to say that i have a very good memory & sometimes i tend to hold on to great memories as well as shitty ones. which include past mistakes. most of the time i can put them past me but sometimes i can't shake the guilt.

rebecca said...

Your poem rocked. Seriously. That was awesome.

Just Me said...

Amazing poem!! It is frightening when I stop and think about all the things haunting me but it is inevitable at night when you lay down to sleep, like you said. Thanks for sharing.

Ruth said...

Oh good job! Very evocative, and familiar.

Paul Oakley said...

You are either very lucky or have more of your life ahead of you than behind you. :) At 50 one bloated hanging folder won't begin to hold my unfinished projects. Well, maybe it would hold a list, but only just...

I love your metaphors here - especially the last two: "digging up their skins and wearing them out to dinner" and "a ring from a failed engagement."

Nicely done!

twitches said...

Great language in this piece! At the moment all I regret is not taking an injury seriously sooner...

Wayne Pitchko said...

the pink filing cabinet is very scarry....nicely written Shayla and thanks for sharing your ghost

Cynthia Short said...

I feel mine staring at me, right over my left shoulder!
Good take on the prompt...

ms pie said...

some powerful metaphors like slippery butter... slip sliding through our minds... especially so "...if I could stop trying to resurrect them, stop digging up their skins and wearing them out to dinner like a ring from a failed engagement...." ... that one stopped me cold in my tracks... oh yeah, uhhuh, i know that one too... this one's a keeper!!!

Tumblewords: said...

Excellent! My filing cabinet gasps with unsurvivable weight - oh, yes. Love this piece...

Undivine Intervention said...

Very relatable :)

paladin accounts said...

WoW!..brilliant poem. . =)

Katie said...

Love this poem.

I look at my comment from over a year ago think about the many many more regrets I've accumulated in just one year. Sure wish I had more unfinished projects and less haunting mistakes.