Ghost in the Land of Skeletons | Christopher Kennedy

Ghost in the Land of Skeletons
For Russell Edson

'Ghost Train' | © 2015 H a v e n

‘Ghost Train’ | © 2015 H a v e n

If not for flesh’s pretty paint, we’re just a bunch of skeletons, working hard to deny the fact of bones. Teeth remind me that we die. That’s why I never smile, except when looking at a picture of a ghost, captured by a camera lens, in a book about the paranormal. When someone takes a picture of a spirit, it gives me hope. I admire the ones who refuse to go away. Lovers scorned and criminals burned. I love the dead little girl who plays in her yard, a spectral game of hide and seek. It’s the fact they don’t know they’re dead that appeals to me most. Like a man once said to me, Do you ever feel like you’re a ghost? Sure, I answered, every day. He laughed at that and disappeared. All I could think was he beat me to it.
- Christopher Kennedy

A Single Tear: for Tsagaglalal

A Single Tear
for Tsagaglalal

She who keeps on watching immortalized from a stone
window along the banks of the mighty Columbia.
She who has watched men walk on the backs of a million
Salmon & then fall in.
She who has seen the mighty river get fat & overflow
her banks behind pale dams.
She who has seen children grow under the glow of the moon
& the new glow of hanford.
She who has seen a people cry in silent tolling for the old ways
demolished beneath the feet of a civilization determined & arrogant.

She who has seen Coyote play many tricks in his sinister loving way.
She who has seen canoes morph to steam & barges
carrying hope up river.
She who has seen fires turn to street lamps.
She who has seen the battles of Pah-toe & Wy’east
& their long eerie silence.
She who has seen a river run red with blood of the lost.

(They say that one who has seen too much with no way to let it go
will more likely suffer from Post- Traumatic -Stress-Disorder which
manifests in different forms; from anxiety to unstoppable tears.)

She Who Watches weeps a single tear.

Edward S. Curtis photo.

Edward S. Curtis photo.

Journey Home

A place of neither time or space-
Where you hear the teenagers song
& smell them getting pregnant-
Around the alley on Poke St.-
Next to the local pawn shop.


A place where the cats eat the meat
of last night’s decadence-
Morality of a scavenger
Feasting on forgotten values
in man’s wasteful church.


A place where the homeless eat metaphors
of others good intent-
Around burning barrels the dance
the dance of lost dreams
to the drums of empty bottles & schizophrenia.


A place where wet pavement smokes dry ice
steaming like a dragon in Chinatown-
On side streets that are paved but never plowed
stands castrated angels in the mist of cold smokey air-
Grounded til the fog clears.


A place where shadows play hide-n-seek with the eyes
then are lost forever behind concrete.
& underneath the skyscraper canopy
that blocks out the sun-
You can see the yuppie in his Lexus car.


A place where the bombs of absurdity
explode in the ears of scabbed medicine men,.
In a land converted to asphalt (distant from ancestors)-


& medicine bags that carry rigs
to ride a black tarred hi-way to nowhere-


but somewhere I remember.


I remember the smell of rain after a storm-
I remember the winds that would howl-
and I always knew I would end up here somehow
with hope on my tongue
and years on my feet-


I make the Journey complete.

A Reconciled Apocalypse: for Grandma Shirley

Grandmother was born on the threshold of a new age.
Assuming the role of a Father’s neglect
and a savior of a generation left with no shrine
So I build this altar of memory.

I remember her smell
Of prime rib and perfume-
Chasing me around with sinister dentures
And telling Skookum stories-
Scaring me from flesh
And finding my heart.

She dreamt and had visions
But kept them to herself-
Yet I could see them
In her eyes.

Her wrinkles ran like Gorges-
Where the tears would
Often flow.

She struggled-
And the struggle
Was her life
That she would

Rites of passage transformed
In cigarettes and Patsy Cline
And looking for love
In all the wrong places.

We are all children
Of a
Reconciled apocalypse.

I lay a feather on this altar
And hear the wind sing-
“Fall to pieces.”


Sit silent in the chorus of Frog songs.

dripping heavy, the Creek runs whitewash.


In these moments.

I can hear the land weep.

In Joy.

In Pain.

In Need.


The Frogs regain their voice.

and we sing in unison.

with shaky words

and sore backs.


and disappear in the wash


Sacred Waters.


How blessed are we

to still hear these,

composed beneath the Summer Moon,



Gorge from sternwheeler dock

©2013 H a v e n


In a Certain Way.

It’s that distinct way that wood smoke pummels into the mist

and the way the Sun fights to be regonized.


It’s that certain way the trees turn to golden reds

and hues of Ambers.


It’s that certain way the mud gets stuck in my boots

and the moist ground summons the fungus to the sky

and then back to its orgins.


It’s that certain way the fog dances across the grassy plains.


It’s that certain way that the Elk rut

and you can hear their bugle calls

over the hushed quiet of fall.


It’s that certain way when you know the white blanket will come

and engulf us soon

and  the wood smoke

and Hearths will be the only thing we know.


And in a certain way I give thanks

because in a certain way-

this is what it is all about.


All the petty and the trite

gets buried in this scene-

the mists rising above the waters like ghosts.


It is these ghosts I give up now,

an offering of smoke.

©2013 H a v e n

©2013 H a v e n