Sunday, September 28, 1997

Rose of Dark Shadows

cousin, brother and I
(our mothers sisters and our fathers brothers)
we lived in the sticks
and down the country road, we rode
riding dark shadows
to there where
the abandoned two-story house stood
set aside, hauntingly broken, holy
with shattered windows scattered about
and doors off their hinges
yet uncurling within it, some essential core
like the old tattered furniture, waltzed to some ancient tune
stringing longingly from the center room
penetrating the color of the thin vacated space
inhabiting the place
through a weathered piano with misfit keys
like dusty knots, beckoning upon some mystic sound
transmitting a story
that creaked to life eerily when I played
truly, truly, truly
it happened in those days

of sharing
ghoulish stories, giddy, fearlessly full of fear
laughing like dybbuks with a secret
playing Dark Shadows
trying on roles whispering in code
from beyond the matrix, and into our world
the world as we made it
cousin and brother ... or were they really
Barnabas Collins, the vampire and Quentin, the werewolf
as I was really AngeliQue, the doppelganger
an exQuisite witch

like we were really Collins too, and here in this place
was our Collinwood, a world set aside
and whispering of more
like grandfather, our mothers' father
a mysterious man
with a secret escaping, into my ears
once hidden between his words
something setting me free, free! free! free!

so time after time, day after day
off to our haunting, we would fly on our bikes
to that broken old house
and once, it happened there
cousin brought forth a forbidden booty
two cigarettes from his mother's purse
for us, a first smoke
but I wanted none, not really
smoking meant nothing special to me, a strange child
so I, I AngeliQue
played on, strumming clumsily some ancient tune
to the rhythm of unseen smokerings drifting through the air beyond the angels
filling my nostrils, filling my soul, uncoiling like a cat in repose
in my heart, and I spoke it
I would not tattle, this daring plan
was okay by me

yet cousin and brother thought to be safe
to be sure, sure of me
though I had never been a squealer before
this was a serious, serious matter
so, hounded and hounded until I agreed
I took one
insurance, security - for whom?
okay, okay, I thought
let's get past this thing, this matter
I want to play, more
so I took one
puff from the lit cigarette
and off to play more, I went, flying
upon those sacred misfit keys
creaking out some beautiful beautiful music to me
to the end
as smoke unfurled from the old bathroom
before a shattered mirror
to the end
playing Dark Shadows
Barnabas Collins, Quentin and I, I

and then
we returned home
playing mysteries for the day
I put my bicycle away and went to my room
hibernating in my solitary way
while cousin and brother too, put their bicycles away
but, before going inside
they went to the water hose by the garage
and drank and spit and drank and spit and drank and spit
and then
they went inside
into the house, into the bathroom
and gargled with Listerine mouthwash

my parents suspected foul play
and cousin and brother were summoned to explain
such odd behavior
they broke, sobbing, the story inside out
what hafoch really means
from my room, I could hear
childhood repentence
made of muffled sounds and childrens' pleas
the door of my room burst open
and my father ordered me out
what? I inquired of my father, what is this for?
I see - cousin and brother had squealed
on me
admitting it, I had smoked one
puff too
I cannot tell a lie
nor can I, I
so we all got a whooping that day
Barnabas Collins, Quentin and I, I

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