Page 1

Welcome to  the  Ghost  House   (A  Letter  from  the  Editor)    

So it  begins.  Welcome  to  our  debut  issue.  As  with  many  projects,  Ghost  House  

Review, started  off  as  an  abstract  potential  that  blossomed  very  quickly  into  a  grand   reality.  From  the  very  beginning  I  have  been  overwhelmed  and  overjoyed  at  the   amount  of  positivity  and  excitement  this  little  lit  mag  has  coaxed  forth  from  those   who  have  stumbled  across  it.  There  is  no  better  fuel  than  other  people’s  curious   smiles  and  I  owe  many  individuals  a  hearty  Thank  You.       I  know  Ghost  House  Review  is  still  a  fledgling  publication,  and  there  are  many   details  I  want  to  add  to  this  project  in  the  future,  but  my  main  hope  is  a  simple  one.   May  the  Ghost  House  become  a  mighty  haven  for  work  that  aims  to  comfort,   challenge,  change,  and  inspire.  Consider  this  issue  the  proverbial  champagne-­‐smash   against  our  newly  wetted  hull.  This  is  only  the  beginning  to  a  wonderful  voyage.  I’m   grateful  for  such  an  opportunity  and  I’m  excited  to  explore  new  worlds.  As  an  editor,   I  couldn’t  ask  for  better  company.  As  a  reader,  I  can’t  wait  for  more.     Cheers  to  everyone  who  has  helped  me  along  the  way.  Your  questions,  high-­‐fives,   retweets,  and  poems  have  provided  the  steam  needed  to  power  forward.  With  high   hopes  and  a  brimming  heart  I  invite  you  into  the  Ghost  House.    


Yours Kindly,   Karolina  Manko   Founding  Editor    

Poem List     Remembering  Is  a  Frat  Boy   Early  April   The  Apple   Where  Fires  Never  Burned   Lessons  in  Nature’s  Course   Chore   Missionary   Elegy  for  the  Aftermath   Color  –  Color   Untitled   Orange  Juice  Lips   Hurricane  Sandy   Conversations  With  my  Mother  in  Waiting  Rooms,  2013   Ahora  Mismo   Anyway…   I  Am  the  Sea   Man  Teaches  Wolf  Pup  to  Howl   Stargazer   Pause   Reminder   Trite  But  True   Cuyahoga  Falls   Tunnels  to  Warm  Places   1991   Walking  Before/During/After  Midnight   Population  Yes   GMT-­‐8  Hours   Planning  the  Crone   Harmonics   I  Try  Not  to  Worry  But   The  House   Your  Hickies  Look  Like  Marilyn  Monroe            

Remembering is  a  Frat  Boy                 Remembering  has  a  fist  with  my  name   tattooed  on  its  knuckles.  He  wants  me   to  think  I  am  too  special  to  taste   my  own  blood.  Remembering  pours  me     a  glass  from  the  sucker  punch  bowl   despite  my  telling  him  I'm  trying   to  quit.  Remembering  doesn't  care.     We  gobble  handfuls  of  Xanax  like  candy     necklaces  made  of  baby  teeth,  stir     our  drinks  with  the  minute  hands   of  broken  clocks.  Remembering   wants  to  stay  up  all  night  with  me   until  I  hurt  myself.  Until  the  gut   of  a  hangover  makes  me  throw  up   an  aunt's  withered  kidney,  an  uncle's  hidden   pantyhose,  my  mother's  hollow       head.  Remembering  holds  my  hair  back   even  though  I  hardly  have  any.   He  asks  if  I  recall  an  old  lover   telling  me  not  to  cut  it,  that   I  looked  so  beautiful  before.   I  tell  Remembering  he  looks  just  like  him.   Remembering  gives  me  the  bottle   and  shuts  up  for  a  while.  I  guess     I  fall  asleep  because  I  am  alive   in  the  morning  and  feel  like  well-­‐rested   hell.  My  father's  Budweiser  breath  hangs   in  my  mouth  like  a  fresh  eviction     notice,  so  Remembering  couldn't  have  gone     far.  He  must  be  at  the  drugstore,  buying   Gatorade  and  aspirin  and  hairspray.     He  wants  me  to  think  he  takes  care  of  me.   He  wants  me  to  look  good  in  photographs.          

Kayla Wheeler      

Early April                   Main  Street  was  an  occluded  artery  on  your  birthday.   I  sucked  down  caffeine  and  a  stranger   asked  me  how  to  pronounce  ischemic.     I've  studied  the  science  of  your  going  for  years,   but  continue  to  poison  myself   like  sirens  in  the  city.  Death     is  just  a  thing  we  do,  like  buying     Christmas  cards  and  dinner  plates.   This  is  why  I  never  visit       the  dirt  that  thrives  above  you,  only   take  the  long  way  home     through  intersections  that  have  worn       the  most  extravagant  collisions.   I  read  once  that  it  takes  twenty  minutes   for  our  eyes  to  adjust  to  complete  darkness:     as  long  as  it  takes  for  the  sun  to  set   most  nights  in  spring,  as  cemetery  mud  ripens   itself  into  new  holes.  It  is  the  heaviest  anvil     to  be  diagnosed  with  a  new  day  each  morning,   but  at  least  tonight  when  I  say  blowing  the  candles  out,   everyone  will  think  I  mean  your  birthday.  


Kayla Wheeler    

The Apple     For  Michelle     This  was  the  camp  rule:   At  the  culmination  of  the  hike,  you  said,   That  was  when  you  were  allowed  to  eat   The  only  provided  and  permitted  sustenance  -­‐-­‐     One  solitary  apple.     We  were  regaling  one  another   With  our  childhood  stories,   Our  adult  bodies   Planted  on  the  top  floor  of  your  dorm,   Your  lithe  legs   Branched  between  mine.     I  balked.  Weren’t  you  hungry?     Weren’t  you  starved?  How  long  was  the  hike?     Days  after  your  story,   I  pass  the  fruit  carts,  Manhattan  curbed,   Relishing,  tenderly,  the  rows  of  green  and  red   The  same  way  I  relish  the  memory     Of  lifting  the  back  of  your  dress   Like  a  young  boy  opens  an  artistic  book  of  nudes   Because  he  prefers  the  beauty  of  suggestion   To  the  fluorescence  of  playboy—   Why  not  keep  what’s  sacred,  secret?     I  want  to  find  all  your  places   Like  children  find  rocks  in  soil,   Or  collect  twigs  on  long  hikes.     With  hungry  ecstasy,  almost  rude,   Impatient  gratitude:  like  when  the  dress  was  lifted,     And  I  discovered  you  were  wearing  a  thong,     The  thought  of  your  dress   Sticking  to  the  skin  beneath  your  thigh   In  the  sugared  humidity,   The  salt  of  the  skin,  summer  seasoning   The  green  crisp  of  you   Between  my  teeth…–       Oh  I,  I  could  eat  one  hundred  apples.      

Sarah M.  Duncan  

Where fires  never  burned     some  of  us  learn  the  right  words  too  late       we  are  suited  for  that  which  isn’t  volition     our  stomachs  are  empty  fire  pits  where  fires  never  burned   our  instincts  have  long  ago  slithered  away  from  us  in  shame       we  will  hold  everyone  else’s  voice  above  our  own     we  will  never  sit  beside  ourselves,  with  ourselves     we  are  as  comfortable  in  the  fall    foliage  of  the  forest  as   we  are  leaning  against  crusted  crumbling  subway  walls     one  within  or  without  are  one  and  the  same     and  when  we  glimpse  our  homunculus,  we  wave  to  him   as  if  waving  to  a  stranger  in  the  strange  fog  of  a  cocktail       party,  where  we  are  all  packed  close  together,  and  cloying     and  cloistering    for  an  exit  to  cling  to  in  the  dark     some  of  us  learn  our  words  too  late     and  when  our  problems  end  (us)   we  will  find  we  are  buried  where     we  began,  alone,  and  apart  from       ourselves     we  might  welcome  the  gentle   lullaby  of  a  slipping  mind,  and     the  faint  touch  of  an  empty  limb,       then  we  confront  and  converse  with   ourselves,  for  the  very  first  and  last     moment            

Sri Upadhyay  

Brennan Bestwick    

Lessons In  Nature’s  Course     I.   We  found  her  near  the  shore,  mosquitoes   chewing  at  our  necks,  her  insides  spilled   over  her  bones,  fur  spread  through  the  grass.   Go  home  was  all  my  father  said  to  me.   The  dog  that  swam  behind  his  boat  until   he  pulled  her  aboard,  his  sweet  girl.   By  flashlight,  he  shoveled  her  into  a  bag   and  buried  her  in  the  banks.   I  was  asleep  when  he  returned  home.   The  tarp  covered  the  boat  all  summer.     II.   Convulsing  in  a  current  of  blood   at  the  mouth  of  the  driveway,  head   pushed  through  its  teeth,  a  soft  rain   pulling  the  whole  animal  into  its  chest,   I  kill  the  engine  and  tear  the  coon’s  tuft   from  the  tread  of  the  tires.  My  mother   carries  the  spade  from  the  garage,  together     we  dig.    After  striking  tree  roots  and  limestone,     we  catch  our  breath  over  the  third  and  final   grave.  We’d  be  awful  murderers  she  says.


Brennan Bestwick  

The garage  floor  dusts   his  own  shadow   across  his  back.   He  lies  beneath   the  Chevy  belly’s  drip,     supper  cold   on  the  dining  room  table.   My  father  almighty,   oil  change  alchemist   of  black  thumb,  the  2x4   bulk  buyer,  the  hold  his  chest   in  the  living  room  because   the  doctor  doesn’t  know  what   causes  it,  but  he  knows  he   has  no  time  for  it  messiah.     The  closet  needs  a  new  bulb,     the  roof  a  row  of  shingles,     the  vent  hums  too  heavy,     like  his  heart  beats  too  heavy.   I  watch  him  sweat  from  the  house,   and  wonder  how  burden   can  be  measured  in  pounds.      


Missionary   I  watch  the  dark  skinned  woman   who  I  imagine  was  cocooned   in  Port-­‐Au-­‐Prince  summers  lean     against  a  gold  Lexus,  fingering     a  matching  rosary.  She  asks  if  I     go  to  church,  her  accent  thick  as  a  flock       of  mourning  doves.  I  laugh.     My  jaw  loose  from  a  work  week's  kiss     goodbye  says  No.  She  wants  to  know     why  and  a  punch  line  ends  every  excuse     I  make  to  not  seem  like  a  holy  roller.       When  I  tell  her  there  aren’t  enough  hours     in  the  day,  she  comes  close,  whispers  My  son,     you  mustn’t  say  things  like  that.   It  sounds  like  a  secret  I  don't  want     to  fish  warning  out  of.  I  leave  before           the  silence,  the  speech,  the  quotes     well  versed  in  how  muscles  feel  after     unanswered  prayers.  I  already  know  what  happens     to  penance  when  the  body  turns  itself     into  a  confessional.  When  God  becomes  a  fist                                in  your  chest          opening.      

  Elegy  for  the  Aftermath   For  Haiti  

In the  remains  of  Port-­‐Au-­‐Prince,  there  is  a  girl     with  an  extension  of  a  smile,  a  wound     fissured  across  her  cheek,  a  face     caked  with  the  debris  of  her  home.  This     is  how  to  wear  makeup     in  the  third  world.    Every  day,  she  watches       men  on  TV  who  expect  her  to  define  natural     disaster  through  a  cavern  full  of  blood.  Somewhere,    

McKendy Fils-­‐Amie  

my sister  and  I  are  discussing  language,  how  the  Creole     on  my  tongue  tires  of  flopping.  We  count     the  scales  of  dried  words  and  I  try  to  explain     why  I  like  Hip  Hop  more  than  songs  of  ancestors.       We  think  of  all  the  relatives  who  found  graves     under  crumbled  buildings.  The  night-­‐   terrored  ghost  my  grandfather’s  become.  The  rubble     of  an  island  nation  resting     in  the  valleys  of  his  wrinkled  skin.     When  Pat  Robertson  said  the  Haitians   deserved  to  have  their  homes  destroyed.   That  when  we  were  young,  we  danced  with-­‐     the  devil  and  death  was  our  punishment.  All  my  friends       were  outraged,  but  I  laughed,  won-­‐   dered  if  Pat  had  ever  learned  anything     from  his  father.  It  is  hard  to  hate  the  devil  when   he’s  taught  you  how  to  fish.     Before  the  earth's  backbone  shivered,     the  Caribbean  was  a  pot,  bubbling     water.  The  people,  hemlock.   No  one  asked  to  be  born  with  poverty   wet  on  their  skin.  Like  no  one  asks  to  be  born  choking     on  golden  spoons.   For  those  without  extensions  of  smiles,  I     understand  the  alchemy     of  your  criticism.  But  for  men  serving     up  their  perceptions  of  disaster  on  the  first  world’s     plate,  prior  to  making  your  meal,  consider       the  catch.  Why  it  stares     at  you  like  a  child.  Know  that  at  some  point     we  choose  to  be  more  net     or  hook.  So  forgive  the  steel  finger  curled   in  her  jaw.  There  was  metal  in  her  mouth     long  before  she  could  speak.        

McKendy Fils-­‐Amie  

Carolyn Keogh    

Color-­‐Color Grandma  uses  brown-­‐black.   Painting  her  brown-­‐blonde  lids,   Outlining  places  where  color-­‐color  used  to  be.   For  me,  blackest  black.   Dark  flesh-­‐paint  like  wet  jetties,     Marks  left  on  pillows  and  seashores.   She  asked  me  once,  "Does  it  ever  come  off?"     An  eye  roll  for  a  response,   A  wet  face  leaving  love-­‐marks  on  white  towels         Untitled   You  said  when  worn  you  couldn't  die.     A  felt  square  standing  between  you  and  eternal  damnation.   An  image  of  Mary  sheathed  in  a  small  plastic  pocket,   Sitting  somewhere  around  your  stomach  and  your  sacred  heart.   Life  exists  like  the  centimeters  between  rosary  beads.     Gaps  of  rope  and  space  tie  prayers  together,   Pieces  of  loose  thread  culminate  in  a  cross.   I  took  your  baby  blues,   Kept  the  beads  as  my  own.   Tracing  fractures  of  broken  plastic  and  repeated  prayers—     Lines  of  Hail  Marys  like  meaningless  morse  code.  


Jamie Hunyor   Orange  Juice  Lips     spring  has  blossomed  ashtrays  full  of  half-­‐smoked   cigarettes.  i  am  blooming  into  my  own  man  but  i   am  lying  occasionally  b/c  loneliness  is  eating  away   at  my  truth-­‐telling.  i  feel  a  longing  for  summer   along  w/  the  longing  for  a  lover.  these  rolled   paper  bones  are  ripening  in  the  hope  of  perpetual   sunshine  &  it’s  been  quite  some  since  i’ve   held  another’s  gaze  for  too  many  minutes   at  a  time.  i  want  someone  to  lay  on  my  over-­‐   sized  mattress  like  so  many  orange  peels,  kissing   the  juice  from  my  lips  &  coaxing  me  outside.      

Hurricane Sandy     i’m  out  of  bret   easton  ellis   novels  to     read  &   i  lent  my  dad   my  copy  of   delillo’s  LIBRA   for  his  two-­‐   week  trip  to   Jersey  to  fix   their  electricity   in  the  middle  of   a  hurricane     “something  that   isn’t  too  deep,”   he  said,  asking     to  borrow  a     book  from  my   collection     this  is  the  man   who  never  wanted   to  go  to  the  Big     City  &  now  he’s     across  the  flooding    

Hudson from  the     emptiness  that   Sandy  left     “not  too  deep…”   i  whispered  to  the   floodwaters.      

SaraEve Daly   Conversations  with  my  Mother  in  Waiting  Rooms,  2013   On  the  way  to  the  oncologist,     she  confesses  she  just  wants   to  give  up  already.  Silently       I  become  the  selfish  one  for     hating  the  drug  that  I  am  losing     my  family  to  one  form  at  a  time,       for  hating  the  drug  that  has     broken  her  down  from  heavy-­‐footed     panic  inducing  childhood  terror  to  the     shuffling  stooped  wreckage  she  is  now.       I  am  the  selfish  one  who  won’t  let  her  go.   We  poets  don’t  get  to  kill  our  parents;     ask  Plath,  ask  Sexton,  ask  Olds.  We     just  clean  up  the  aftermath.  Now,  all     she  ever  talks  about  are  the  good     days  and  bad  days.  Pain  on  a  scale     from  one  to  ten.  My  mother  is  a  fifty       year  old  woman  trapped  in  a    crumbling     sand  castle  of  a  body.       On  the  car  ride  home,  she  tells  me  she  does     not  want  to  live  anymore.  I  don’t  respond,     let  her  think  I’ve  been  stunned  into  silence.     Truth  is,  there  is  a  certain  grace  in  accepting     the  inevitable.  

Amanda Everich   Ahora  Mismo     It  mattered  to  me  for  so  long,   if  I  remembered,   who  was  right,   if  he  knew,   when  it  happened,   how  our  teeth  gave  way  to  suck  and  blow  this  control,   it  mattered  to  me  for  so  long.       Anyway…     I  know  that  it  will  hurt,   until  it  doesn't.   You  will  remember  the  smell,   until  it  whiffs  by   leaving  you  to  realize   you've  already  forgotten  it.   The  jokes  will  come   And  no,  they  won't  be  there  to  listen.   The  urge  to  reach  out  will  consume  you,   until  it  won't   Because  they  aren't  there,   But  you  survived,  anyway.      

Elizabeth Tompkins   I  Am  The  Sea   I  am  the  sea,  lying  in  wait  as  warships   pass  across  my  back.    I  arch  my  spine,   a  provocateur.    I  am  the  boy  in  the  shrouds,   clinging  to  slippery  knots  in  the  rope,  regarded  by   the  evanescent  moon,  ripe  in  the  night-­‐tree  sky.   I  hear  the  sound  of  cannon,  I  feel  the  iron  fire  lacing  up  my  leg  and     I  am  the  one  who  falls  into  the   crimson  water.    The  jib  snaps  like  a  horse’s  mane  in  a     gust  of  wind.    The  lad  who  sits     with  his  back  propped  against  the  ship’s  bulwarks   is  thinking  of  his  love  back  home,   where  only  the  roses  are  red.    

Man Teaches  Orphaned  Wolf  Pup  to  Howl   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5T-­‐ZThSE5rQ       Brother,  see  how  we  are  born  of  different  blood.   See  the  difference  in  our  coats,  the  way  yours     swirls  thick  –  sable  bristles  of  stiff  night,   and  mine  –  smooth  as  snowfall.  Ivory.  Bone.     How  the  light  disappears  into  you,  hides  beneath   your  rippling  shoulders.  How  that  same  light     shines  off  of  my  skin,  reflects  every  star  back  to  me,   turns  the  paleness  of  my  wrists  to  full  moon.  Brother,     hear  how  we  learned  to  speak  in  separate  tongues.  Hear   the  cadence  of  my  breath,  its  slow  quiet  calm.     Brother,  for  too  long  I  have  chewed  on   the  fat  and  gristle  of  my  father’s  demands.     I  have  seen  him  dressed  in  pelt,  your  mother’s   blood  still  flecked  on  his  blade.  Brother,     I  am  not  my  father.  I  will  not  learn  to  see  your  neck   only  in  scope  or  crosshair,  I  will  not  reduce  you  to  meat.     Watch,  brother,  as  I  lift  my  head,  turn  my  throat  open,   point  mouth  to  sky.  Follow  me,  brother.  Pull  your  lips     to  snarl  against  bared  teeth.  I  will  teach  you   every  muse  I  have  known.  I  will  teach  you  to  sing.                          

William James  


William James  

for Gavin  

You  only  seem  small  now.       Everything  around  you  towers  above  your  head,     and  time  moves  at  the  speed  of  glaciers,  but  believe  me,   you  will  grow.  The  days  will  become  weeks,     turn  into  months,  transform  magically  into  years   and  you  will  grow  –  fed  on  the  love  in  your  mother's     lullaby  kiss  and  the  labor  in  your  father's  arms,     you  will  grow  from  the  frailty  of  a  newborn  child   to  a  sapling  fighting  for  sunlight  in  the  endless  canopy     of  ancient  forest.  The  only  thing  you  have  to  fear   is  monsters,  and  they  themselves  are  afraid  of  light.       Swallow  fireflies  whole.  Let  them  live  in  your  throat,   breathe  with  your  mouth  always  open.  They  will  illuminate     every  shadowed  corner  until  nothing  is  left  that  can  hide.     Believe  in  kindness.  The  world  is  strange,  but   often  gentle.  Every  breeze  that  rustles     through  the  leaves  of  your  fingers  brings  with  it     a  set  of  blueprints  for  your  future  home.     Draw  a  foundation  in  the  mud  with     a  branch  from  your  favorite  tree,  build  walls     from  portraits  of  everyone  you  love.  Sketch  them  in  crayon.       Do  not  build  a  roof.     Do  not  ever  build  a  roof.        


Pause At  the  end  of  the  song   there  is  a  small   draw  of  breath.  Small  but  noticeable.   And  that’s  what  it  takes     from  time  to  time.   Shaking  the  rust  off  the  lungs.   A  car  drives  by  and  what’s  left  of  the  rain     flies  like  nickels.  The  fountain  has   been  left  behind,  dirty.   The  heart  hides  behind  both  wrists.     The  blood  is  blue  until  it’s  seen.   The  thunder  wishes  it  were  this  clean.     The  thunder  rusts  as  loud   as  it  possibly  can.   And  that’s  what  it  takes  from  time  to  time.   Another  song  starts.   The  air  is  pushed  back  into  the  room     so  fast,  it  isn’t  even  noticed.    

Reminder You  are  listening  to  the  ghosts   of  wolves  singing  on  the  roof,  only  listening     to  the  singing.   When  it  rains,  it  sounds  like  somebody     broke  the  glass  of  the  night’s  teeth,   it  sounds  like  the  release  of  a  clenched  jaw.   You  said  this  was  how  summer  starts.   A  howl.  A  break.  A  hammer.  A  petal  of  a     ghost.  A  wolf  of  a  song.   You  are  on  the  roof.  Your  fingers  are     folded.  The  moon  looks  good  enough  for     breaking.  A  gorgeous  breaking.  

Dalton Day  

You don’t  say  this.  Your  hands  are  not  folded.     Your  hands  are  open.  The  wolves  haven’t     arrived  yet.  Their  ghosts  haven’t  broken  yet.   You  are  listening  to  me.  I  am  off  the  roof.  I  am     in  the  sky.  There  is  fur  in  my  throat.  There  is     moon  in  my  fur.  There  is  wolf  in  my  hands.   I  said  this.  I  said  there  was  listening.   I  said  there  were  hands.  I  said  there  were  songs     to  be  held.  We  are  only  holding  the  listening.    

Charles Ray  Hastings  Jr.   Trite  But  True     I  was  going  to  write  you  a  love  poem   but  I  realized  the  control  room  to  that  part  of  my  emotions   is  smashed  to  shit,     wires  cut  and  stripped,     walls  tagged  with  cross  expectations   was  going  to  talk  to  you   but  the  bathroom  where  I  flush  bad  ideas   is  filled  with  foul  timber  from  yester-­‐year   and  ole  fuckable  lover  de-­‐fanged  my  tongue                                                                                    de-­‐veined  the  cockles  of  my  heart   was  so  close  to  telling  you   how  lovely  you  looked  in  that  dress,     round  love  tumbling  down  to  quilted  thighs.     you  were  subtle  and  silent  in  how  your  body  rested   I  guess  I’m  saying  it  all  now                        while  I  can   before  the  softness  spreads  to  my  knuckles   and  the  punch   turns  to  a  prick   I’ll  bow  out   eyes  on  yours   till  I  pass  beneath  the  doorway  

Mason Shreve   Cuyahoga  Falls     Emma  scrapes     a  broken  piece       of  scratched  glass   across  my  ribcage     black  flowers  grow   in  her  bloody  hands     and  turn  into  spiders   so  many  spiders        

Tunnels to  warm  places     there  is  a  dead   bird  on  the  sidewalk     there  are  children   poking  it  with  a  stick     wearing  their  little     masks  like  beasts     they  look  like  lightning   like  a  soft  eyelash     that  lingers  on  a  lover’s   bare  shoulder     i.       The  bird’s  wings  are  still  unfurled.   ii.       Its  ghost  is  already  flying  away.  



Amandine 1991   Voluptuous  bottom,  thighs,  hips  o  p  e  n.   Eyes  at  which  sand  reflects,  glisten.   Honey  almond.  A  boat  in  the  yard,  May  23rd  1991.     Translucent  skin,  vomit  on  your  sheets...   Look  at  me  through  glass,  3  lbs  7  ounces.   Is  that  my  baby?  “Up  shits  creek"   Paddle  out  of  the  wood,  boat  in  yard,  body  in  water.    A  dive  in  the  womb  2:45  A.M.  Bonneau  Beach.     Canned  ravioli,  hallelujah,  God  Bless  America.  

A flower  that  wilts  on  prepubescent  skin.   Helen-­‐Francis  Bragg,  Santa  Claus  1995.   Black  mothers  hand  in  the  hair.     The  way  ears  become  one,  a  perfect  part.     Genuine,  R-­‐Kelly,  Sisqo,  Ass  in  cut  offs  “cheeky"  Let  me  see  that  thong.   [Perché  hai  touch  me  vi]   Switch-­‐cane,  sugar  cane,  whatever.  Kelly  Bragg  Eutawville,  St.  Stephens,  Cross,   Ridge-­‐ville,  Alabama,     Lauryn  Hill,  Red  rice,  jambalaya,  molasses,  back  of  the  bus!   Heavy  bodies  on  small  landscapes,  (at  dusk)  dried  plato  in  my  sisters  mouth.   Frequent  visitation,  fluorescent  lights,  face  in  shadow,  lunchtime  side  of  mashed   potatoes.     Sandy?  Sandra?  Who  gives  a  fuck.  Oranges  at  sunrise,  “You  look  french"   There  is  no  eloquence  in  language  that  speaks  to  me  of  1991.     A  seed  that  grows  in  dry  land.  


Rob (Ratpack  Slim)  Sturma    

Walking Before/During/After  Midnight     We  are  not  drivers.   We  are  not  driver-­‐less  cars.   We  are  hitchhikers  and  we  stumble  over  rocks  near  the  curb.   We  have  no  idea  how  the  hell  we’re  going  to  get   from  Point  A  to  Point  B.   So  we  make  maps.   We  look  up  the  shortest  route;   we  sync  our  watches   before  we  lace  up  and  get  to  stepping.   Our  shoes  wear  down     quickly.   Our  shoes  are  battle  transports.   Our  laps  are  porch  swings.  We   are  the  vagabond  hearts.   We  are  hobos.  Emotional  bums.   We  have  panhandled  for  affection  before.   But  we  are  human.  We  are  skinned  knee   and  whiskey  blind.  Our  best  intentions   sometimes  slip  out  of  our  fingerless  gloves.   This  is  the  part  where  we  hop  on  that  train   and  let  the  romance  of  the  Old  West  carry  us   to  safety.  We  are  loyal  passengers.   We  have  exceptional  navigational  skills.   We  brought  the  best  mix  tapes  for  the  journey.   I  was  hoping  you  liked  the  Decemberists.   I  was  hoping  you  were  all  ukulele  and  drum  brushes.   I  was  waiting  to  invite  you  to  my  porch  swing.   Waiting  for  Bloody  Marys  and  blender  drinks.   Waiting  for  hot  toddies  before  bedtime.   But  the  wait  is  nearly  over.   The  bus  will  pull  up  soon.   We  are  fixtures  at  this  bus  stop.   The  loyal  passengers.   The  not-­‐drivers.   We  take  longer  to  get  there.   It  is  always  worth  it.          

Rob (Ratpack  Slim)  Sturma  

Population  Yes     Before  there  was  a  spine  riding  into  battle  bearing  your  flag,   you  didn’t  even  know  you  were  a  country.   Now  your  limbs  are  holding  elections.   The  carpals  and  the  tarsals  are  forming  opposing  political  parties.   This  is  why  you  can’t  dance.     Your  country  needs  an  anthem.   Something  with  cymbals.  Something  with  cowbell.   This  anthem  should  sound  like  robots  slapboxing.   It  needs  to  match  the  rattle  in  your  hips.     Maybe  instead  of  a  national  anthem,   we  should  hire  a  squad  of  cheerleaders  for  you   and  maybe  Ghostface  Killah,   because  this  needs  to  get  your  people  rallied  up—   and  who  can  feel  bad  when  Ghostface   and  the  Laker  Girls   are  singing  their  praises?     You’re  just  that  happening  of  a  destination.   Your  tourist  attractions  are  distracting   but  not  gaudy.     State  of  the  Union:  There  will  be  blood.   You  will  have  cannonball  days   that  will  careen  into  bomb  crater  nights.   There  will  be  days  when  you  feel  untilled.   This  is  when  you  will  find  the  one  who  will  turn  over  your  soil.   Keep  this  perfect  farmer  close.   Subsidize  the  hell  out  of  them.     There  are  so  many  other  things  I  could  tell  you:   What  to  do  during  your  inevitable  civil  war,   how  to  handle  walking  into  the  room  wearing  the  same  dress  as  another  country,   the  pros  and  cons  of  terraforming.     You  have  always  been  of  this  world-­‐-­‐   and  the  reason  you  haven’t  floated  away,   even  when  you  wanted  to?   We  the  oceans  have  been  holding  you  all  along.  

GMT -­‐8  Hours     The  rain  fell   warmer  than  this   when  you  were   a  secret  I  kept.     I  only  brought  you     out  if  the  moon     was  in  hiding;   I  waited  for  midnight     to  drink  you  down  with     cheap  rosé  wine,  then     unclipped  you  from     the  washing  line.     well.     you  always  said  you   liked  the  way       towels  felt  after   a  day  drying  in  the  sun:     stiff,  scratchy,   difficult  to  wrap       around  your  body;   one  part  of  you  I  loved.                        

Kate Garrett  

Planning the  Crone       Eventually  the  day  arrives  when   the  lines  on  my  face  lead  me     away  from  my  adopted  city;     I  leave  England  behind   to  float  over  roads   and  rivers,  forests,   land  in  Eryri,  where  I     live  alone,  scratching   long  memories     up  the  sides  of  mountains:   barddoniaet  of  rocks.     When  I  travel  to  the  sea,     my  hands  and  feet   listen  to  the  foam,  the  sand.       There  I  see  lifeguards   rescuing  a  dying  language     in  the  distance,  and  ask  to  join       them.  We  breathe  into  the  mouths   of  verbs,  pump  the  chests   of  nouns.  We  pull  whole   sentences  out  of  the  waves.     Sometimes  I  build  new  fairytales     from  ballads  overheard  from  singing   sunsets,  Taliesin-­‐blessed.     I  am  practising  solitude.   When  death  comes,  I   welcome  him,  smiling.     Well-­‐rehearsed,     I  become  the  earth     in  a  place  where  the  dirt   still  breathes  the  molecules   of  my  ancestors.    

Kate Garrett  

harmonics   the  quivering  distance   between   two  trees  and  a  river   is  equivalent  to     the  way   two  bodies  can  never  really     touch,     scientifically.   there  is  always  some  sort  of   division  between  them-­‐   a  gap  in  molecular  air,     an  unnerving  magnetic  force,   a  $40  bus  ride  or  the   price  of  gas.   A  stretch  of  rural  valley.   but  I’d  like  to  think     our  bodies  have  extended  like   pieces  of  red  yarn     woven  through  molecular  spaces   forming  one     big   transatlantic     kiss.  

i try  not  to  worry  but       outside  it’s   dark   at  10  am   and  i’m  in  here  thinking  of   dirt  roadsand  the  old  truck  I  want  to  be  picked  up  by   when  I  cross  America   I  think  of  the   unlimited  freedom   that  comes  with  loose  ends   the  way  you  make  my  chest  feel  heavy   and  sometimes  my  eyelids   drop     I  watch  her  hands  move  to  the  sound  of  water   thin  and  white   bird  bones  on  a  platter  

Laura Rojas  

The House       Ancient  house  at  night-­‐time  settles,   Stairs  a-­‐creaking,  groaning  walls,   Wooden  beamed  damp  cobwebbed  attic,   Joists  in  sound  as  darkness  falls.     Family  on  cotton  pillows,   Tucked  up  warm  and  soon  to  sleep   Know  the  noises  of  the  building   Do  not  hear  the  things,  which  creep   From  the  stones  and  from  the  woodwork,   From  the  books  on  dusty  shelves,   Wandering  through  the  slumb'rers  bedrooms,   Free  to  hover,  free  to  delve   Through  the  house  to  gaze  at  sleepers   Fast  asleep  and  feeling  safe,   For  the  lulling  house's  noises   Mask  their  visits  from  the  grave.     What  if  waking  one  might  open   Eyes  that  flickering  movement  see?   Easily  explained  as  simply   Imagination  running  free.   For  the  guests  all  uninvited   and  with  speed  beyond  compare   Disappear  when  living  creatures   May  discover  ghouls  go  there.       So  sleep  you  safely  in  contentment,   Lost  in  dreams  and  warm  as  toast;   They  surround  you  and  engulf  you,   But  will  not  harm  you,  gentle  hosts.  

Michele Brenton  


Your Hickies  Look  like  Marilyn  Monroe     The  bruises  on  my  chest     this  morning,     I  do  not  know  where     they  came  from     but  they  did  not     remain  unnoticed.   They  are  secrets  and     picture  books,  written   in  night  ink  on  crumpled     damp  sheets.  In  the  morning     smeared  across  bodies,     we  do  not  remember     the  stories  except  as     white  noise  and  dreams.     There  is  a  darkness   in  my  wrists;  I  cannot  turn     my  hands  out  to  receive  love,     breaking.      

Pattie Flint    

Acknowledgments   Founding  Editor:   Karolina  Manko    

Head Designer:     Victoria  Fuks     Supporting  Designers:     Michelle  Wilson  &  Chris  Wilson     Cover  Photo:     Russell  Peborde  

Ghost  House  Review  would  like  to  thank  the  following  people  for   their  support,  warmth,  eagerness,  and  morale-­‐boosting  kindness:  

Wieslawa  Lamarz   Victoria  Fuks   Olivia  Fuks   Joanna  Olszewska   Elizabeth  Tompkins   Laura  Dragonette   Russell  Peborde  

Lastly,  thank  you  to  everyone  who  submitted  work  for  consideration.   Your  courage  and  willingness  to  participate  did  not  go  unnoticed.   Without  you,  none  of  this  would  have  been  possible.    

Profile for Ghost House Review

Ghost House Review  

Issue 1 - Volume 1

Ghost House Review  

Issue 1 - Volume 1