On a Quiet Street where Old Ghosts Meet

quiet street where old ghosts meet“I see her walking now, away from me, so hurriedly,,,”

in the words of the Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh, in his famous poem “Ragland Road”.

God, I always found those words so sad, in that classic mournful Irish spirit, that speaks of  irrevocable loss, of dark destinies, and of ghosts haunting our memories.

But there’s more to the poem than just a love gone sour. It’s as much about temptation and lust as it is about loss.

“I saw the danger, and yet I walked along the enchanted way.”

And yet he walked.

We make choices. Sometimes choices are made for us. Sometimes the results suck.

I bring this up in part because the holidays are upon us, and I have been reminded many, many times recently that not all of us are hooking up a sleigh to the Budweiser Clydesdales,  for that trip to Granny and Pop’s quaint farm house,  radiant with the glow of the warm fire, redolent of the smell of oak, and of fresh baked apple pie.

Many of us at Christmas or New Years will not be basking in the radiance of friends and loved ones, but more likely hoping there’s something better on TV than “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Many will be stoic about this, others will hold hands with the clock throughout the day and night, imagining they heard their cell phones buzz.

Ever since I first heard the poem Ragland Road,  I’ve envisioned that quiet street where old ghosts meet. What a street that must be like! Probably darker and grimmer than the impressionistic painting above? Or maybe not?

Because that street exists only in our minds, are those ghost any less real? Can’t we all close our eyes for a moment and see the faces and hear the voices of those who came before, lovers, wives, friends, parents, brothers and sisters? Isn’t that part of what the holidays are about?

And if you’re not basking in the dim, flickering light of memory this Christmas, if instead you are lucky enough to be in the embrace of, not ghosts, but real family and friends , take nothing for granted.

Put down the cameras. The memories will not perish simply because they weren’t duly recorded in pixels.

We are all going to be here forever.

(dedicated to my great friends Scot Tempesta (of Carlsbad, Ca), Darrell Berger (of Jersey City, NJ), Bob Stein (of Boston MA), Bill Szakovits (of Orlando FL), and David Wallace Johnson (of Ann Arbor, MI) and all my other friends who will likely pause in reflection this Christmas.)






Phase Book?

scary facebookI read something the other day that stated that, before Facebook, the world had no outlet for expressing the trivial and insignificant bullshit that just pops into our frame of reference. You know,  like your video of the duck being chased by a rabbit around the Christmas tree, or your random thought “Why do so many words have silent L’s? Is it a conspiracy?” , or that great memory of Captain Gorton’s fish sticks, complete with photograph. Continue reading

Letting Go II: The Monkey Hand Trap

I have a close friend who recently had a personal set-back.  A romance had gone sour, releasing  into  the air like so many toxic spores all the bitter recriminations, lamentations, regrets, guilt, anger, sadness, and denial, that go along with such things. He first blamed her, then blamed himself, then blamed her again, said it was the end of the world, then said maybe it would turn out to be the best thing ever to happen to him.

I know a little bit about these things. What those confusing emotions usually boils down to is “Fuck!  She’s probably with another man!”

So my friend took to social media, specifically Facebook, to chronicle his ordeal in a meticulous moment-to-moment account of every emotion that passed over him for weeks after the break-up. Eventually the expressions of  guilt and rage were replaced with expressions of hope and desire. My friend was determined to make himself a better man, to avoid anything like this from happening again. Continue reading

letting go

On Letting Go

“Attachment is the root of sorrow”- the Buddha

“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose”- Kris Kristofferson

“It’s not much of a tail but I’m rather attached to it.” Winnie-the-Poo

I’ve actually let go of a lot of stuff in my lifetime. Sold it, broke it, lost it, watched it walk away. I should be as free as a bird by now, because, as pop wisdom would have it, letting go and eliminating attachments is the sure path to purification, or at least some kind of happiness.

letting goAnother truism is that it’s better to have never had anything than to have had it all and lost it. But I wonder,  does the pauper suffer less because he’s never spent a night at The Four Seasons or ridden in a limo? I doubt it, and besides, according to the Buddha and Kristofferson, the pauper shouldn’t be suffering at all, being so detached and all. Continue reading

Stacy Taylor

Radio maverick, writer, escape artist

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