Haunting

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I suppose you could say that my troubles began
At the age of eleven when I tried my hand
At swimming and found to my great dismay
That I couldn’t breathe ‘neath the waves of the bay.
Or maybe it was a lake, I don’t know.
I just couldn’t fight back the undertow.
Wherever it was all I know for sure
Is everyone thought it was so premature
When I drowned, when I passed away.

“But wait!” I can tell that you want to blurt out,
“If you are so dead what’s this story about?”
Well let me tell you, since I guess you don’t know
That dying is really just one way to go
But once you pass on to “the other side”
You’ll understand that only your body has died.
You still have to come to peace with the fact
That dying is really something very abstract.
I was, for example, not yet twelve years old;
How can I be at peace when I’m told
That twelve year-olds should go and play?

So instead of throwing a baseball with friends
I amuse myself these days with weird odds and ends.
A window with shutters is never more fun
Than when you pull the strings and the thing comes undone
And it rattles and shuffles all the way to the sill
And the people around all stay perfectly still.
It’s a scream and a hoot just to see their reactions
But also to see some others’ attractions;
A medium claims he can talk with the dead?
Oh please, that hoot don’t know his feet from his head!
And the Ouija Boards that we communicate by
Are way fun to mess and their owners defy.
Have you ever noticed that when you were a kid
And you did something and told your parents you did
But when you would go out to go do it again
You found that your talent went to one from ten?
Well that’s me; or that’s us; or one of our kind
And the Ouija Board thing is the same way designed
So when you’re all alone and the Ouija Board works
And then doesn’t with friends, well that’s one of the perks
Of my job that I do everyday.

But now don’t get to thinking that I love to be dead
There are things that I miss that I don’t want unsaid:
My mother was so kind and such a good lady;
She loved me so much because I was her baby.
It broke my stilled heart to see that my mum
Was so horrified at this thing I had done
That she wasn’t happy ‘til the end of her days
That was 1850—and I think it was May.
That certainly is not something that I intended
And makes me wish that my life hadn’t ended
But boys will be boys, and I was a lad
And at first I really wasn’t even so sad
To be dead ‘cause I thought that maybe, just maybe
I could still tell mum that I’m always her baby
But it’s not so easy to talk I have found
When you’re incapable of any voiced sound.
And still you grow up—not in body but soul.
What year is this now? I’m two hundred years old!
I thought when she died I would find her for sure;
Or so I had thought, but you just can’t ensure
That your loved one will stay as a ghost long enough
To learn all the ropes and the rules and that stuff
In fact it takes most souls only eleven
Days before they make their ways up to Heaven.
Most have to come to terms with their passing
But me? I choose to keep on harassing.
I’ve messages I want to say.

I guess I really just am not that old
Although it was two hundred years ago
To the day that I found myself under the bay
Or the ocean or whatever it was on that day.
But I’m bitter no more and I will not contest
That I gave some good people some frights at my best.
And not out of anger or avenging my death
But mostly for fun so that you catch your breath

And remember how good it is when alive
To feel that your heart is still racing inside
And the air is still going into both of your lungs
I want you to know you’ll miss that when it’s done.
And the way that your palms can become very sweaty,
That’s fight or flight and it means that you’re ready,
Alert, and on guard. It’s a beautiful thing.
You never would miss the feel of a sting
From a wasp or a bee, or so you may say:
But this will surprise you when it’s gone away
So I guess that the reason I do what I do
With all of that haunting—so scary and rude—
I do it so that you will feel yourself be
And next time you do, would you feel it for me?





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