Monday, October 10, 2011

my life as a poltergeist

in my early twenties i tried to be invisible. riding buses in san francisco, i wanted to watch the commoners and listen to their lingo. this material i'd turn into poems for the king. (w.h. auden said, 'every poet wishes to be an advisor to the emperor.') even today i think, 'maybe the president will call me and ask for my opinion on the state of the nation.' for better or worse, it hasn't happened yet.

when i stayed in amsterdam with geert's brother, he freaked out. he said, 'it's like having a ghost in the house.' i slept in a closet. he must have heard strange sounds, like those little noises i make without realizing it, or the shuffling of the flyers i collected at the museums - amsterdam has 42 - especially from the van gogh museum, since my first good play about vincent and gauguin in the south of france, flames will not feed us

i've always loved joyce's line from ulysses, 'hamlet was the ghost of his father.' i suspect many writers and artists come from families where they weren't listened to, in effect, poltergeists in their own home, entities which might startle people once in awhile with an unexpected cry or breaking of a lamp. remember how your parents were always asking, 'how did that happen?' for years i had the urge at public performances to stand up and shout, 'look at me! look at me!' had i done so, i might be sitting in psycho ward instead of on top of a mountain in the rain, waiting for winter.

snow, yes, it snowed several days ago, and i felt that old alienation. suddenly, the world we knew so well becomes the surface of the moon when it's full. movies like 'winter sleepers' by tom tykwer and 'the sweet hereafter'  by atom egoyan capture this alien space, as if the road accidents that happen can only be investigated in slow motion, as if we must stumble  through dense drifts. and remember the gunfight at the end of 'macabe and mrs. miller', the robert altman film, the heroes striving mightily to be real before dying?

one thing about a long life: everything vanishes into the mist and far off we hear the sounds of birds and laughter, nature hardly able to restrain itself, every bit of news we took so seriously meaningless today. poltergeists of the world, unite!

here are my visions of what others must be going thru:

and storm videos: