GHOST LETTER 32

Chris R-0355-2 Image by Christine Renney

I know this place. I have been here before. Is it possible I have been heading for this particular city all along? That the idea of the road as endless was merely a conceit and no matter how often I have stopped and turned myself around, that the walking in circles was, in effect, little more than an effort to prolong it. To put off the inevitable. And no matter how protracted and arduous the journey, my intention had always been to come here, to this city that has been forgotten. A place most people pass on their way to somewhere else, that they circumnavigate. And here I am – at the edges, stepping out a boundary, desperately trying to make it real and still prolonging it.
Looking up I see I am walking along a street of terraced houses. I look back toward the city but the only view I have from here is of the roofs of the derelict factories. There is a bicycle leaning against the wall to my left. In the garden beyond it I see an inflatable paddling pool filled with rusty rain water.
Somehow I have stumbled and strayed to here, to ‘somewhere’ and although the street is deserted and quiet everything now feels weighted with possibility and I begin to panic.
I can hear a crowd in the distance, but the jeering and cheering is safely contained elsewhere. And I am reassured by this, by the fact that for the duration of the game at least I am alone out here. Convinced all the houses are empty I push on and I am getting closer, making my way toward it.

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11 comments

  1. chrisnelson61

    I like the idea of being ‘panicked by possiblity’. This is a piece full of expectation and intrigue, Mark: is some sort of epiphany on the cards? Great writing.

    • markrenney2

      Thank you Chris. Yes I agree something ‘ big ‘ needs to happen. I have to admit I don’t know what it will be!

  2. Jana H White

    At times Mark, your ghost stories have a sense of deja vu about them. Simply moments registered… or more the memory of a feeling attached to an ordinary moment. You are so good at evoking this. Ghostly memories indeed!

  3. clinock

    I adore a perfect confluence. I’m deep into Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’. I slip easily into waking dream states when reading it. This evening, reading Ghost Letter 32, I lost myself in the dream space you have woven, so fine. Your edgy, de Chirico images are haunting…

  4. J. A. Panian

    “But how alien, alas, are the streets of the city of grief,
    where, in the false silence formed of continual uproar,
    the figure cast from the mold of emptiness stoutly
    swaggers: the gilded noise, the bursting memorial.”
    –Rainer Maria Rilke, The Tenth Duino Elegy

    I hope you’ll forgive me, but this immediately came to mind. Rilke’s Duino Elegies have become part of the substratum of my poetic mind. The Tenth speaks of a city, a carnival, that I have always imagined being “at the end of time.”
    Perhaps a rather science-fiction interpretation but this ghostly somnambulation of yours feels like it happens in the same place.
    You have evoked this space well. I am haunted.

    • markrenney2

      I am genuinely moved and inspired by your response to this piece. Thank you so much. Regards Mark.

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