Ann believed in ghosts
And angels and spirits of the departed
I do not 

She told me she saw her mom, her beloved daughter, her protective big brother 
They visited her, reassured her, relayed silent messages and signs
Maybe even haunted her in a gentle, subtle kind of haunting 

She could see them plain as day 
She told me I just wasn’t looking right 

I swear as I was driving down here from Austin, as a Central Freight tractor-trailer passed me 
The silhouette of the driver, intent on navigating his rig safely through the rain and spray
Sure reminded me of someone I knew… that crewcut, those goofy glasses… 
No that couldn’t have been Kenneth Hinze. 

As I crossed the river and glanced over at the Falls on my way here 
I thought I saw the figure of a young man in faded cut-offs   
Diving off the old Ice House wall and disappearing into the foam 
Looked a little like that impish, complicated boy Tracy Wyatt I sat with
hundreds of sunny afternoons on that same wall
Talking about parties, dogs, Sergeant Pepper, or most likely girls. 
I was probably talking about Ann 

And as I detoured over Roger's Ridge to drive by the Wyatt’s place up there, 
A feisty little girl with bangs was rolling the family car down the street in the dark so dad wouldn’t hear
She looked just like Cindy Heatley at the wheel of that silent car picking up speed 
Ready to let off the clutch and roar off to pick up girlfriends and cruise Sonic Drive-In
And be a grown-up for a couple wonderful hours

If I get brave enough I may go visit Rogelio’s Cafe
Haven’t been there in way over a year
Rogelio may have forgotten me by now
and order shrimp and mole poblano enchiladas
--They aren't on the menu, you have to ask--
And sit with the ghosts of my Mom and Dad 
And wave across the street at Ricky Flores and his mom Minnie 
Rocking with big Flores smiles on the front porch of their tidy white casita
With a couple rosebushes by the steps

Now that I think of it, this town is full ghosts for me
They wave at me from places that aren’t even there anymore
From the Aquarena skyride, from the soda fountain at Wallings,
From Miller’s Drugs and Alex’s Cafe
From old Saint Mary's church that burned down so long ago 
And from the front porch of pretty much every house in town
And from the stones in this very place
Not so much a cemetery for me as a village of spirits, so many of them our parents and neighbors and teachers and even our classmates 

Time is a One-Way Street 
And Death is a One-Way Door 

But maybe not for angels and spirits
Angels don’t have overdoses, or heart disease, or ALS, or cancer… Or Hashimotos

Ann, I get it now… you visit me constantly
You haunt me gently, mysteriously, reminding me to carry on or be happy or to love  
You are the flash of neon yellow visiting my bird feeder as a goldfinch
You are the Portland shower blessing Texas this very day
You are the vibrant colors of every Texas wildflower or backyard canna lily 
You focus my eyes on beautiful things like you did the fragile lenses of your cameras

Any day now I expect her materialize and hypnotize me
For that therapy she knew I needed but so assiduously avoided. 

  • Author: jarcher54 (Offline Offline)
  • Published: May 23rd, 2021 01:40
  • Comment from author about the poem: I wrote this this morning for the memorial service of a childhood friend and sweetheart this afternoon. Ann died of complications from Hashimoto disease and Covid-19 a few months ago after months of decline. The names are those of other childhood friends who've died in the last few months. The places are---or were--real, in the small town where I went to grade school back in the 1960s. I don't know if its a poem or just musings.
  • Category: Reflection
  • Views: 95
  • Users favorite of this poem: rebmasters, dusk arising, L. B. Mek, 🐤s.zaynab.kamoonpuri🌷🐦😽, Teddy.15.
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  • dusk arising

    Wonderful compelling reading. Superb imagery, story telling and message.
    A really enjoyable read for me and i know I shall enjoy rediscovering this piece which is why it goes into my favourites.
    Thank you for this super entertaining read.

    • jarcher54

      That's a moving complement... I am realizing the only time I ever make to write is when there's a funeral... I am very sentimental (can you tell?) and have to work hard to keep it under control! Thanks!

    • Doggerel Dave

      It matters, of course, little whether a poem or just musings. It is rich in detail of people and places you have known which may be just images in your head or….
      Great work.

      • jarcher54

        Thanks DD... I guess if it were doggerel, you'd let me know! (-:

        • Doggerel Dave

          I'd have to know first what action you would take if you found out that in my 'umble opinion it were doggerel..... 😊

        • 2 more comments

        • L. B. Mek

          its definitely a Poem! and more - meaningfully
          a rustic inking, of a life's raw nerve-ending: feeling's
          in short, its simply amazing and thank you for sharing!
          'If I get brave enough I may go visit Rogelio’s Cafe
          Haven’t been there in way over a year
          Rogelio may have forgotten me by now
          and order shrimp and mole poblano enchiladas
          --They aren't on the menu, you have to ask--
          And sit with the ghosts of my Mom and Dad
          And wave across the street at Ricky Flores and his mom Minnie
          Rocking with big Flores smiles on the front porch of their tidy white casita'

          • jarcher54

            You know how easy it is to compose when you have something specific to say! Ricky died a couple years ago of ALS... he had been taking care of his aging mother, a dear family friend of my family, so they moved into a nursing home together and died within weeks of each other. His family lived in that house for at least 70 years. Now it is abandoned and likely to be torn down for condos or something. That verse just poured out. Thanks for your thoughts.

          • Neville

            if I could hit that red heart shaped icon up there a dozen times, or more even .. it would hardly register anywhere near how much I enjoyed the journey you just took me on ........................... a real gut wrenching bit of seemingly real nostalgia .. far better than just damned good in my most humble opinion .............................. Neville

            • jarcher54

              As you know, it is hard to impossible to judge one's own work... all I know is, this came flowing out as I pondered what to say at Ann's bittersweet memorial held in a rustic outdoor covered chapel in a driving rain. Thanks for honoring me with this comment. I can drink to that.

            • Jon Nakapalau

              Wonderful - inspired.

            • Jay-Lee Jane

              speechless...no other way to express other then: i love it!

              • jarcher54

                That is too kind... I mean it! Too kind! I had a crush on Ann for a short part of our lives when were in middle school (7th and 8th grades). I moved away, and we just kept up a little over the years. Later in her life she was ill, divorced, and estranged from much of her family, having lost a daughter and blaming her son-in-law for it. I befriended her through Facebook and email, and just met up with her a few times before she became terminally ill. Going to her outdoor service on a chilly rainy spring day in the town where we went to school together brought so many memories flooding back, of places and especially of those who are no longer living. This poem just poured out without any effort or much conscious thought.

                • Jay-Lee Jane

                  Aww, thats so sweet!!! i love it all the more now!!!!

                • Paul Bell

                  Sometimes we laugh when people say they see the dead. The conflict is when the visions appear before us, and we sort of have to admit, maybe to ourselves that she was right.

                • Goddess of the Mist

                  I came to the party a little late but wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this piece of poetry you wrote. The way you described things really brought the visuals to mind and I felt like I was there. I think we are always surrounded by ghosts and spirits - in one way or another. I think your friend Ann really appreciates this 🙂

                • 🐤s.zaynab.kamoonpuri🌷🐦😽

                  Gahh fantastic imaginings, haunting read with all those real people popping up in hallucinatory way but all which made the poem so enthralling. Ironical that you didn't believe in ghosts she saw but ended up seeing ghosts after her passing away. Kudos!

                  • jarcher54

                    Thanks for digging this one up and being so insightful... you got it just right. I was pondering Ann today because her best friend from \"high school\" just died of ALS. The funeral was today, but not where I could attend. Maybe they are ghosts or angels together again... I hope so!

                  • Raymond shawa

                    The aroma of your imagination suffocates the mind with ideas... impressive piece to reflect on...I like it

                  • Paul Bell

                    Fantastic road trip down memory lane, brought alive by lookalike guests. Don't know how many times in the bar I've gone through the roll-call of the departed. After ten, you usually get told to stop and get the drinks in. Covid sure did kill a lot of good people.

                    • jarcher54

                      Since I have not lived in that town in decades, most of my experiences there are with people long gone. Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one who remembers some of them. Thanks for reading... I am overdue for a contribution.

                    • hzugman

                      Thank you for the wonderful journey J54. Who's to say what's real and what isn't?

                      • jarcher54

                        When it comes to the departed, I confess uncertainty and confusion... thanks friend

                      • sorenbarrett

                        This haunting tale evokes many memories and the experiences that have gone with them. It is memorable that certain images bring back flashes from the past as well as people. These ghosts we carry with us always. Nice write.

                        • jarcher54

                          This wrote itself in my head that morning on the way to Ann's burial. Maybe it wasn't me after all!

                        • Parisab

                          I stumbled upon this-Great composition! This poem conveys to me that she was your muse and you her connection to her journey on this earth-

                        • Kinsley Lee

                          HI! Thank you for you r poem. It's imaginary and rather fantastic. Like to read a story.. Thank you so much.

                        • Lorenz

                          Time is one way -street .
                          Death id one-way door .
                          Rod Sterling in his dimension ,
                          is waiting for us ...

                          • jarcher54

                            Those lines just came to me... out of another dimension! Whoa... maybe you are onto something!

                            • Lorenz

                              Empathetic galaxy...

                            • Teddy.15

                              Incredibly beautiful in every way. And very relatable too. Outstanding poetry. 💖

                              • jarcher54

                                You are ... just the right amount of kind!

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