Hitchcock: Vertigo

My addiction is dumber than yours. I’ll bet this sweating slab of body on it. I’ll bet you a single disembodied head shot through a wind tunnel. Flashes of red and green. Hooked on incantations to bring back your dead daughters. A syllabus for ghosts. Ghost language as useful as Latin is to a pig. Ghosts litter the hallways. Ghosts loiter in the lobby.

I’ll bet my addiction can beat up your addiction. You can’t hurt what you can’t see and ghosts are invisible. Molding heads from other heads. Life still happens while you’re thinking of someone else. A ghost steps out of the bathroom, platinum blonde and gray.

Ghost town covered in neon fog green like a bathtub of perfume.

Cut out of a ghost plummeting toward fields of rooftops. Revised structures as useful as a bouquet that explodes in violets and violins. A peppers ghost so tall that no one minds dying anymore.

Ghosts are patterns or myths or enough pills to lounge in the fumes of memories, smiling like a hospital and awake the next morning smelling like a hospital, brain blinking red and green in the fog.

You go to the movies. They are playing a cemetery called “St. Anesthesia”. Her face is silver. It’s a ghost in a machine like a single frame caught melting on the screen. You reach for that cloud to grab her.

Hitchcock: Rear Window

Bleeding time. That kiss in Rear Window. We reach for it. My reach is sometimes graphic. We would spend all night rummaging through medicine cabinets for forms of distortion. Time stretched into a vacant palace of sensation. The wind is dumb to try to push us around like the waves it bends to its will. Standing still is our one true vice. You were gripping my neck like a vice until my head was a fishbowl. Snap shot of a desert crackling with flashbulbs. Grace Kelly is a birthday cake. I am fishbowl on shoulders. Your husband is standing by the jukebox like he has it all together. A wink from across the room at a birthday party. Appearing suddenly like Grace Kelly closing in. As young as you were in a dream. Trees go black at 2 A.M. Soft frame slowed into a placid desert of motion.

Hitchcock: Psycho

Prove you are not a robot. Abused by his contents. The last shot of a skull superimposed upon a face. It’s easy to pretend you don’t care when sometimes, you don’t. The body is sensual and automatic. That look you gave me got me pregnant. A cluster of butterflies inside of a belly. He was a nihilist at ten. At nine he exposed himself to two girls. One of them laughed and the other one cried. His parents beat him to death. He returned to earth as a friendly ghost because anger stems from a lack of recognition.

Screaming as he imagines crowded streets. Stumbling down the staircase with veins slashed across his face and finds the floor rises to meet him. The director held the knife because the whole world crumbles around you.

The road not taken is all the pain you need. When the road sinks into a swamp of indecision then the rage comes suddenly in the quiet of a morning shower. Murdered a spider in the shower with a series of slashes. Pupils dilate. The water is empty of the blood I feel.

“Prove you are not a robot,” he whispers. He strips her down upon the surface of a distant planet. When I mock punch your silly belly in line at the pharmacy, it’s because around you I feel so far removed from violence that it’s ironic.



Paul Ferrell is a poet and comic currently driving a forklift in a warehouse in Illinois. He’s had poems published in The Rain, Party and Disaster Society, The Harpoon Review and PANK.


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