Haunts

A poem in 12 parts, using my breathing rhythms while running (3 foot strikes, a breath, then 2 foot strikes, a breath) to shape the syllables in each couplet (3/2).

Some Inspirations and the Process

After rereading a blog post and finding the inspiration for one of my haunt poems in it on 30 September 2022, I’ve decided to catalog these sources of inspiration as I rediscover them.

v. Restless

Only blur —
fizzing
up out in-
to air,
onto ground,
released
from forms roads
the need
to move with
haste or
purpose.

I discuss the idea of fizzing up/out, into/onto in a log entry from November 15th, 2021:

Working on a poem about feeling like a ghost, mostly because of my vision — fuzzy, out of focus, disconnected. Thought about that every so often during the run. Stopped on the grounds of the Veteran’s home to record an idea about not feeling fizzy but flat, or a flat fizz? Not so much light but weighted/heavy with distance and separation and invisible layers. Almost protected, wrapped. But…do I feel heavy or something else? Weightless but not light or heavy because in my untethered state, lightness or heaviness aren’t felt so they can’t be used for reference. I am a hovering ghost who is not heavy or light but hidden, unnoticed, lacking substance, insubstantial.

RUN! log entry, November 15, 2022

released from forms is taken from A. R. Ammons’ “Corsons Inlet“:

the walk liberating, I was released from forms,
from the perpendiculars,
straight lines, blocks, boxes, binds
of thought

xi. I want her with me

I’ve heard her
call my
name through a
coxswain’s
horn, the soft
Sara
rising from
the gorge

Today is the 9th anniversary of my mom’s death. At one point during the run I thought about her and how this day doesn’t make me come undone as much as it used to. Then I talked to her in my head, telling her I loved her and missed her and that I was finally feeling happy and hopeful again, after years of struggling with many losses. Heard the rowing coach (was it the coxswain?) on his bullhorn calling out orders about straight arms and faster rates. At one point he said the name Sara–was it “you can do it Sara” or “good job Sara”? I imagined that it was my mom speaking to me, telling me that she knew I was okay.

RUN! log entry from September 30, 2018

felt her tap
in the
tassel’s tug
as wind
knocked against
my cap

About a mile into the run one of the tassels on my hat, which had been my mom’s cross country skiing hat before she died, hit my shoulder like it was tapping me, trying to get my attention. My mom saying hello? I imagined her there with me.

RUN! log entry from February 7, 2018

Every

summer I
wait for

winter, the
leaves to

leave, the veil
to lift,

the other
side to

be revealed.
I try

to squint hard
enough

to see her
childhood

home — just four
miles east —

As I looked over at the other side of the gorge–the east side and sometimes St. Paul, sometimes Minneapolis side–I suddenly understood something about why I like to see beyond the thickly thatched trees lining the bluff. The view is not just about seeing the forest floor and the river, it’s about seeing the other side. And seeing the other side is about possibilities, other perspectives, other/new ways of being, hope beyond this rutted reality, more than only this/here/now, the future, not really death but maybe a little about death, that which is not-me/not-I, outside of my self, beyond, beside, to where my mom was born and lived until she left for college [West St. Paul].

RUN! log entry from November 1, 2019