So many ghosts live in my skin with me listing out all the the tastes and scents they miss. Hot fat blackberries splitting open under the weight of summer heat, releasing warm dark spicy juices down proud drawn thorns. The sick musk of wild animals talking to each other through the pitch of a new moon, their sharp resinous language we call primitive but which says everything with elegant brevity, nuance lost on our cumbersome language chains.
My past is slowly being archived into sensory memory more than literal memory. In the middle of the day I suddenly smell root beer and green apple scratch-n-sniff stickers like they’re abbreviations for everything that matters and I remember every sticker I ever peeled out of a book or off a strip, the emoticons of the ancient past we used to cover envelopes with. I will be on the phone at work explaining to a customer that I can’t advise them on the use of frankincense to combat cancer and suddenly everything is lime essential oil and I remember my entire 45 collection which I play only slightly more than I play my dad’s 45 collection, now lost to me. I’m in the basement of Rare Earth in Ashland learning that I have enough room for David Bowie AND Madonna.
There are places in my memory that smell like soft plastic, like the empty junk store in Talent Oregon where I spotted the Bionic Woman barbie doll I absolutely had to have. I had to save up my allowance to buy her and the box she came in smelled of shop dust in a way only a disused pawn shop item can do when I finally took my coveted doll home. That place was full of ghosts long before I ever stepped foot in it but I think I might have dropped my own off there and never picked it up again.
Plump rosy cheeked dolls smelled of apples and cinnamon and drew me to them like people trapped in porcelain. I watched their eyes while I ate eclairs in the basement pastry shop. I distrusted their velvet gowns and shiny hair, they were too fine and precious, the way Christians often described Satan’s insidious infiltration of everyday people’s lives. You could be eating a slightly sweaty eclair in a small town and not notice the ghosts all around you looking for egress.
I knew more then than I know now about the ghosts in all things. I knew my place among them.
Duran Duran smells like sandy summer crushes, like ripe pheromones drunk with ice and pineapples.
In my least macabre moments I’m convinced I’m here to propel others forward to their destinies, that mine isn’t important, that mine isn’t the point, that I’m the traffic officer of invisible dreams.
Unthread me from your spool.
I am rogue spirit.