Wednesday, January 2, 2013

James McManus


What's a ghost? I overhear him say
with tingling energy. One word
or less. One who will not fade away

through radical time or chord
changes, bad manners, or death.
Not even from too-minty breath.

Plus that weird Alec Guinness
premonition, or early deja 
vu, that James Dean totals his Porsche

at noon the afternoon before
it happens? Good
reason for Shane to drink Guinness.

Photographing, dating, painting
or naming ghosts helps, but once
she waves bye-bye everything

follows with most unfair
certainty, like a prayer
almost, goosing the market for art

stars. Take Moira's fisheater farts
in the kitchen or, worse, under
our blue Ramberg quilt: void where

prohibited. Women!
Those richards! Those wearers of certain
underwear! I mean how dare they?

Yet such things do have a way
of turning out to be pretty
much what we will make of them

anyway. Like am I wanton
or wanted or wonton
I wonder. I cancer us,

in Japanese, I'm on my knees
to cancel us. But please
don't be putting my pretty

big head into that little git hat
just yet. I've done my duty,
Mack, so that's enough of that.

Face it. I'm grotty. My hair's way
too long. Paint it black, '69,
speedballs and crunchy. Amen.

fr. Great America

[New York: HarperCollins, 1993]

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