the animal eats
the animal eats
The girls believe in ghosts

The girls believe in ghosts

I'm ready to change. I too can get spooky. I'll prove it. I wrote a ghost poem.

Never was much of a Halloween person. You know how adults at a child’s birthday party do best to enjoy the children’s joy? Historically, that’s me come October, delighting in the delight others find in the season, without partaking much myself.

Guess what little goblins that changes now.

I’m ready to love spooky season.

Photo by Mariana Acevdeo, via Color a la Mexicana

Why shouldn’t I? I’m always already turning myself inside out and showing off my bones. Why not go all in and drink it up, carve pumpkins, smell like cinnamon(?), keep candy corn on hand?

One year, not so long ago, the tiny trick-or-treaters buzzed the building and I let them in, forgetting about the day. No one went downstairs to greet them, let alone give them treats. I am haunted by this failure. I long to make it right.

I’m ready to be gently horrified. Mostly by movies. But I can get into a mood.

I too can get cozy, that’s not a problem for me. I’ll sit by a fire any time, any place. Watch me join a soup club, build my own ofrenda. Metabolize some grief out loud. My god we’ve lost so much: my darling cousin, whose death last fall I still can’t speak of without weeping, and all the millions more. I’d like to hang their memories with marigold, send their spirits all my love, celebrate their peace at last and revel a little recklessly in living, not knowing how it ends, or when.

I’m saying it’s fragile, isn’t it? This being alive. Might as well take all of it. Might as well delight. We get such little time. The veil between here and there is thinner than we think. Who do I think I am, not to love this?

So if you have scary movies you think I should watch, or soups you know I must make, I’m listening. I’m down. Take me to Fright Fest. Spider my heart. We can learn to write our own calaveras, dance with death, but safely. Leave room for a little ghost. I might just make an apple…something. Pie? Or, god help me, pan de muerto. (I remain haunted by bread.)

Fuck it, let me live deliciously.

Which reminds me: I’ve gone back in for a second round of In Surreal Life this month. My first go rearranged my life and helped revive a writing practice, which is what led us here, this little eating animal. Every day in October, I’ll be playing with poems and communing with poets, maybe learning new lessons. It could happen. It’s tough to say how consistent I’ll be with our sweet Sunday meetings, here like this. I don’t know what I’ll want to share, or the spoons I’ll have to do it. Writing can be weary business.

Then again, it could also pour out. The more you write, the more you write, you know? We’ll take it as it comes.

Until then, here’s some spooky poems. To get us in the mood.

by Graham Foust

Such a white planet.

And what scars
the eyes are,

what page the lack of face.

Compare this
to flowers

in a house.

by Rae Armantrout

The ghosts swarm.
They speak as one
person. Each
loves you. Each
has left something

Did the palo verde
blush yellow
all at once?

Today's edges
are so sharp
they might cut
anything that moved.

The way a lost
will come back

You're not interested
in it now,
in knowing
where it's been.

To take us home this week, I offer one final poem, a work in progress I’ve submitted as my first piece for my small group workshop in ISL. It will change, like everything else. For now, I leave it here.

I should tell you I believe

the past was a house of curtain flutter 
ghost beside the window watching 
figs beneath bare feet

i hold onto myself these days 
believe a theory of the soul 
that says the body is less bone 
than wanting less blood 
than all this loving 

which is how a haunting happens

when one morning i’m a tree 
at last let my haunting warm 
the window brightly 
where the girls believe in ghosts

Okay, very good. Now send me spooky anythings, and don’t forget to live.

the animal eats
the animal eats
a bi-weekly reading of a beloved poem or excerpt from my bedside table, accompanied by a few stray thoughts and, on occasion, work in progress.
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Kristin Lueke