Sunday, January 09, 2005

Balcony Man II - Bukowski's Ghost

It's warmer outside. It's brighter outside.

Lured by the positive change in conditions, Balcony Man has returned.
He is sat there, smoking.
A can of something sits on the table.

I'm struck by how he looks like Charles Bukowski. Bukowski's ghost?

Charles Bukowski, back from the dead, a jazzy congregation of ectoplasm and psychic residues, here to watch over my literary endeavours this year, 2005.

Bukowski's ghost communicates telepathically.

"I'm just going to sit here, Mr Unction and lend you my support, my silent support."

I look at the bald head and the exhausted face.

"Yes, I'm telepathic. There are various packages, I took one with telepathy included. I can also read your mind. I can read all minds, at least, all the minds I've tried to read. There's nothing more there than I expected to find. Husband thinking about his neighbour's wife, guy behind a desk dreaming of flying a jetplane. That made me curious, so I read the mind of a guy flying a jetplane. Nothing there."

I wondered why Bukowski's ghost looked so malicious as he transmitted telepathic thoughts.

"I hear you on that. When it comes to my face, I' damned if I can regulate my facial expressions. There's nothing there in the mirror and there's no Guide to being a Ghost. You're still on your own, with all the same choices. You just don't need to take a shit or worry about getting caught in the rain anymore. Thing is, from the way you avoid my gaze, maybe there's something wrong? Do I have eyes? Or just some empty sockets? Maybe my eyes glow like hot coals..."

I send the telepathic message that Bukowski's ghost has eyeballs. I tack on the fact that he also has a malicious look.

"Thanks for that, kid."

Bukowski's ghost lights up a cigarette.

"Just my luck to come back as a damaged ghost, who ever heard it, a ghost with facial paralysis. I can't even wail. Not that I want to wail anyhow. Or talk. I had enough of talking for one life. Now I just want to be left alone, to smoke and drink and remember. I have a trick, though, if you're interested."


Bukowski's ghost walks through the wall, comes back with a beer and sits down.

I look over the balcony. I can see a woman, a fine woman, walking towards the building. I look at her breasts from six floors up. I hear a telepathic groan.

"That's good stuff, kid, got you all excited. What I wouldn't do for a piece of ass that made me feel that way. There seems to be a dire shortage of ghost pussy in these parts, but things may change. There's time. What's the poetry scene in Memphis?"

"You like to watch curly haired young men speculate on the evolution of the cow?"
"If they bring a full measure of female students with them, yes."
"They don't. They sit around with gay men and women and read poetry about their tangled love lives and how the world's gone to hell."
"Sounds right. Done with skill, you might not starve to death immediately. You ever read my poem So you want to be a writer?"
"Doesn't matter. Well, actually it does matter, it says a lot about your lack of taste. But maybe we go there one night anyway."
"They don't serve liquor though."
"Kid, I bring my own liquor, and there's no earthly way to confiscate a spectral quart of whiskey. They throw me out, I come straight back through the wall and show these bastards..."

Bukowski's ghost coughs and rises.

"I feel the need to lay down and listen to Schubert."

I look down at the chairs, then out at the school, the trees.

It's time to go inside and write.


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