Oct 31, 2016, 09:29AM

Just Another Ghost Story

A Spoken Word Nocturne.

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[The music is haunting, tinny melodies from a funeral home organ juxtaposed with rhythmic, empty percussion.]

Olivia is restless tonight.
I hear the cadence of her bare
Feet on the old, oak floors of a
Distant room, but I do not
Go to comfort her. Olivia is
Beyond my grasp now,
And I can only sense
The empty spaces of what
Was once our home.
So I sit in my old chair, and
Wait in the study for
Olivia to appear.

A fire crackles in the fireplace,
Though I do not feel its warmth.
The flickering light licks at
The spines of countless books,
Dusty shelves, and worthless curiosities.
Olivia enters in a white linen dress—
Her long, black hair drawn back in a
Ponytail, tied with a blue ribbon.
I pray she will see me,
Acknowledge my eternal presence.
She never does.

What the reverend joined together,
Death has put asunder.

Refrain [Sung]:

After life. After death.
I wish for one more breath.
Empty house. Empty shell.
I wish I could leave this empty hell,
And embrace Olivia once again.
She gazes out a window at
The moon-soaked and overgrown
Gardens. The moment freezes like a
Post-mortem photograph, and she
Shows no emotion. My heart sinks.
Then, as she turns to survey the room,
Olivia’s ethereal eyes see—nothing
Of me. She never hears me call her name.
Never hears me stumble in the shadows.

Once. Once, I think,
She caught a suggestion of my scent
As we passed on the staircase.
At least I caught hers, the fragrance of
Roses on delicate hands, the aroma of
Flowers dancing in the sunlight. And, sadly,
The smell of a torrential spring rain,
Of melting snow, mud from
A collapsed Levee.
Floodwaters swept
Olivia from her garden, and
I failed to save her.

My love cannot die, for
She is already dead.

Refrain [Sung]:

After life. After death.
I wish she could take just one more breath.
Empty house. Empty shell.
I wish I could leave this empty hell
And embrace Olivia once again.

The sweep of her dress on
The Persian rug is music
Enough, but when she sits at her piano,
The notes spill and tumble as
Olivia’s soul pulls music from thin air…

[Instrumental Bridge: Chimes from a large, distant town clock count off midnight whilst Olivia plays the piano. Bits of Debussy, Mozart’s Requiem, strangely out of rhythm. And then the piano stops. Return to original instruments and timbres]

I could not save my Olivia, and
He who fails to save his beloved
Can never himself be saved. Guilt is
The strongest lock box in Satan’s
Prison. Thus, lost without my love,
I took my own life to be with Olivia.
Now I am an apparition, a specter,
A mere suspicion to those who
Trespass my threshold.
But for my beloved
I am not even a faded memory.

I am a spider caught in its
Own silky web, for
While I may see my love’s
Enchanted spirit, she cannot
See mine, such is my curse.
But at least I have this,
This I have: I am blessed to spend
My entire death with Olivia.

[Add Olivia’s piano music to original instruments]

Refrain [Sung and spoken]:

After life. After death.
I wish we could take just one more breath.
Empty house. Empty shell.
I pray I escape this empty hell,
And embrace Olivia once again.


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