Do You Believe in Ghosts?
John C. Mannone
Are they ectoplasmic goo leaking from some
its consciousness conjuring an electric you.
Maybe they’re altered states of ethereal madness
or manic illusions of disembodied schizoid voices.
Who ya gonna call? Aykroyd yells,
the local exorcist or psychobabble-ist?
Perhaps Ghostbusters, Incorporated
to capture the un-corporated (hardly holy),
but a few are Marvelous-comic spooks:
friendly slap-stickin’ slimy green blobs
or airhead sheets with lashless Lulu eyes
and whitewashed smiles with oval mouths
that blurt the boos, without the blues.
Best therapy yet
from a static screen. Electromagnetic bliss
of white noise hiss—electrons rastering
without a trace, the ghastly ghostly images.
Are they the departed that lurk
in theater balconies—the type B shadows? Perhaps
they’re ionized anomalies in plasma physics labs,
or balled-up sheets of charge, a lightning
falling from the thunderclouds
as glowing goblins of the dark
or rivulets of rain condensed from vapors
snaking from Medusa’s head
on the belt of Perseus, along with Algol,
the star of ghouls, rolling in its light,
shimmering the summer midnight.
Did they appear from pages long possessed
with Greek mythology or Babylon astrology
and roam the gypsy skies? I suspect
the only real ghosts are those in closets
with the skeletons, occasionally rattled
and ready to haunt you.
Poet’s Notes: “Do You Believe in Ghosts?” was a fun poem to write. Its fast paced rhythms sustain the tension in the poem, which tries to “define” the ghosts. This poem also serves as an example of how a cliché at the end of the poem (skeletons in the closet) can be finessed with syntax and the turn of the line.