If You Have Ghosts, You Have Everything (Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel)

“If you have ghosts, then you have everything…. You can say anything that you want and you can do everything that you want… one never does that… In the night, I am real. …I don’t want my fangs too long…. The moon to the left is a part of my thoughts and a part of me is me.”

These strange words, a mad shaman’s chant out of the speakers — volume LOUD — and into my atomic self… “eye” at the essence/energy level. This was a hymn from the church I’d been waiting for. This was reckoning & rock n’ roll at once. This was the theme to the soundtrack of my life. NOT one of those songs that I came to love. I loved it on first listen — in my bones, in my molecules, in the depths of my mind. If you have ghosts, you have everything. I had been waiting all of my days and nights to hear that song. I still shudder at every listen. It is my anthem. It is the mantra which saves me, its odd sequence of words spirit me off to my truest place. Where it is all okay. Not just okay but gorgeously fortunate.

Roky, my coyote in the dark piney woods. He howls. Pine cones float in the moonlight as organic odes to Tanuki and Kitsune. The coyote says “This was the life you wanted. How lucky you are to be haunted.”

If you have ghosts, then you have everything.

These spirits that clamour, who are they? Why are they here? What do they expect? They leave omens everywhere, valentines in the path of days. Instructional pamphlets? They are here because they adore you. You are who? The “universe’s darling”???  Who told you that? You have won their gaurded hearts. The telephone rings (Dad called it the “cosmic phone”) and the voice on the line is the voice you were longing for. The scarab in Jung’s window will knock with more frequency should he see that you too have twitching antennae. Ah, to talk about what this song means to me is almost impossible! When the effect it had was to scatter me like seed while condensing. How can it feel this way? It reminds me of Alice with the Drink Me bottles and the Eat Me cakes. I am ENORMOUS! Crowding, pressing, filling up. I am tiny. A nanotech hologram of all that I am, a portrait of Dolly Parton etched on a grain of basmati. Practically invisible, wholly infinite.

I am simply being forthright when I say that this song means the WORLD to me. Is there anything more in the world than this?

If you have ghosts, you have everything.

I have ghosts. More and more everyday. I feel their presense at the tips of my shoulders. I dream of complex impossible machinery and blame them. They are always watching, wondering. What now brown cow?

Some people point to their scars and say, “See! I have lived! I took the leap!”

Others point to frown furrows. “I have suffered. My heart has broken in a million places.”

Then to smile lines. “I have grinned. I have beamed. I have known joy, I have brought joy.”

I point to ghosts. They are the proof of a life lived on the curled up smoky edges of existence like burnt paper. They are testament to …. willingness? …. courage? … awe? … curiosity? … wonder?

If you have ghosts, then you have….

  • an open mind like a a wind-whipped hallway. Where is the wind coming from? It just comes.
  • a hungry heart. Skulking in the dark, turning over every rock, nibbling velvet moss, barky twigs, souls unlike your own, souls akin, a lover’s skin, a friend’s soft spot.
  • made allys amongst the gods, the totems, the sky, the dirt. Unlikely connections bind you to the hearts of others forever. Your allys fight for you with fervor and loyalty. They defend you against haters. When you are injured, they gather you up in cloudy limbs and carry you to a bed of soft thistle.
  • loved, you have loved to love, and that they are loved is no secret to those you love. You have grabbed their cheeks or pounced on their goodness. You have pointed out their attributes and celebrated their quirks and their quarks. Even their molecules feel handsome. You don’t withhold kindness. You take liberties with love. You lay it on thick.
  • been loved, always, and with such enthusiasm! They love you fully and fiercely. Even death cannot change the love they feel for you. It is more than emotion, it is a morphic field. It all gathers there, all the love that you’ve ever been given. All the compliments filed away, all the talismans built from origami & feathers, all the tokens of affection. And so many keys to so many hearts on a ring that clangs in your pocket. Lucky lucky lucky to be so loved.
  • you have found members of your tribe, recognized them, summoned them, exalted them, comforted them. SHOOK THEM.
  • not just people loved and lost but selves, moments, ideas. Pets. So many layers of being like tissue paper glued over glass. Illness, experience, dreams, injury, heartbreak, love, longing, learning. All the things that contribute to the complexity of your being.
  • had an unexplainable unduplicated drug like any other … wine, hallucinogens, tobacco, soda pop, sex… none of it compares to the ephemeral solace of the spirits that carry you, ferry you on a raft of peach skins, banana peels, orange rinds. You float on the current of time, space, electricity, wonderment. You crack the pod and lick the shell. The doorway swells with feathery light. You swallow the bulb and become a bulb. Incandescent.
  • no need for long fangs. No need to take, rape, steal, beg. If it’s not willing, you don’t need it. Hate is not welcome in your heart.
  • a glow-white lightning bolt of SPOOKY KABUKI, theatre of synchronicity, dance of the Mindellian demon. When the audience laughs, just bow. Whether they are laughing at you or with you, it doesn’t really matter. When you stutter or miss your cue,  you are Pee Wee Herman who meant to crash his bike into a rose bush. They will appreciate how you stop to smell the roses. Should you mangle a line just tie your mustache into a bow like your mouth is a gift to the world.
  • your toe in the water while the wave has its toe in you.

This beauty is my next tattoo, but rather than dearlings the spirits will be foxes.

These three pieces are by the mind-boggling Miss Van who has captured my soul as well as my skin. Hopefully her brilliant renderings can help to translate my urgent over-wrought gobbledygook. When you love something the way I love this fucking phantom-tastic Roky Erickson song, your brain turns into a dollop of whipped cream. In the struggle to grab the meaning from its swirling vortex of importance, the writer looks like a hack and a zealot. So please, please, forgive my words, excuse my raving mythos. Just look at these masterpieces by Miss Van. Just LISTEN to Roky, my coyote guide, our city-shaman, our genius mad man who was spirited home to us at last.
What God is to Goof, amen is to Aha! God=Goof. Amen=Aha! Goof+Aha= if you have ghosts, you have everything. Fur reals, y’all.
Thank you for tuning in/turning on to this special SPOOKY KABUKI edition of the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel Blog.
If you have ghosts you have everything
If you have ghosts you have everything
if you can say anything you want
then you can do anything you want
If you have ghosts then you have everything

one never does that
one never does that
if you call it suprise there it is
the moon to the left of me is a part of my thoughts
is a part me is me
one never does that

In the night I am real
in the night I am real
the moon to the left of me is a part of my thoughts
is a pert of me is me
forever is the wind is a part of my thoughts
is a part of me is me
in the night I am real

I don’t want my fangs too long
I don’t want my fangs too long
the moon to the left of me is a part of my thoughts
is a part of me is me
forever is the wind to the left of me is a part of my thoughts
is a part of me is me
I don’t want my fangs too long
if you have ghosts, then you have everything.


12 Responses to “If You Have Ghosts, You Have Everything (Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel)”

  1. gammaword Says:

    Literally, tears. Speechless. You are channeling something mighty big here. And I say — AHA.

  2. alphabetfiend Says:

    Wow. Thank you so much. Odd that you commented on this one as well. I think it speaks to what I just said to you over in the candy condo.

    Thanks alot. I felt like an over-wrought dork afterwards but wanted to post it anyway.

  3. gammaword Says:

    Then you should get overwrought more often, methinks. Hard to explain how this hit me but I’ll give it a quick shot because you ought to know. I didn’t parse this post in any analytical way, haven’t even reread most of it. When I read it — well, I’m not religious in most senses of the word, and hadn’t even paid much attention to your title — but I felt this thing rising up, this swooning, wanting to shout TESTIFY!, and AMEN, and wave my arms in the air (but I settled for AHA). It felt like this river, way beyond flood stage, roaring down the canyon, getting louder and louder and I’m getting closer and closer to it so that it might, at any moment, take me. (And btw, I haven’t even listened to the song yet, but I will at some point).

    I don’t know what this is about and maybe you don’t either (and maybe I’m seeing the backside of the elephant and you’re seeing the front), but it’s way beyond writing. Way beyond. This is fucking gospel. (But don’t let it go to your head!!)

  4. alphabetfiend Says:

    Is that an Eshu joke or are you really concerned about the swell of my head?

    Settled for an “AHA!” ??? Live for an AHA!

    I’m glad you like it. When I was delirious and exhausted in the wee hours of sunday morning, I thought of you and was hoping you would read it. Was thinking of your meaning-infused toy car, red like the valentine it is.

    Thank you for thinking I “ought to know.” Maybe now I’ll feel less self-conscious about such spirit-touched meanderings.

  5. gammaword Says:

    Not an Eshu joke. Maybe you’re used to adulation but if someone called my work gospel it would affect my writing, and I don’t want to do that to you. Been wondering, though — where are all the commenters? I can’t be the only one who sees this amazing stuff in your work? Maybe people just don’t comment, I dunno. Maybe, as you say, your friends have heard it all before. The rest can’t find the diamond in the haystack on account of the haystack has gotten very large.

  6. alphabetfiend Says:

    I know! I’ve been on here for 5 weeks, had almost 10,000 views and barely any comments. Altho no one has been unkind to me either which I appreciate. I’m not sure whether my friends are reading this blog. I should let everyone know that I’m doing it, I guess. Although it’s thanks to my friends that I’m used to adulation. hee hee. So even if they are reading it I doubt they’d repeat themselves. Plus my friends here in Austin don’t really know much about my work. They know that I say I’m a “writer” but that could mean anything. That doesn’t mean I have a lick of talent. It’s not like it is with my oldest friends who, if I’m not writing, think it’s “a crime against humanity.” In fact, I’ve been wanting to tell you what a big deal it was for you to say those things to me about my writing because it was the first time in a looong time that I’d heard it and the things you said were the kind of things that the people who know my work best have said, back in the day. Namely my mentor Joel Lipman. He used to say I/my work was charming — like snakes from a basket. So it was intense for me. Like you were yanking me out of the grave I’d dug for myself. I was dirt-black and my tears made mud streaks down my cheeks.

  7. gammaword Says:

    10,000!? Well then, I know what it is then — you must be hearing in these (lack of) comments the sound of dropped jaws. That’s the only thing it could be.

  8. alphabetfiend Says:

    Oh, that’s so kind of you… if I was prone to blushing I’d be scarlet, tho there is a tinge of pink I must confess. Thank you, really, I appreciate it.

  9. gammaword Says:

    Don’t ever go back in that hole. Reading your work helped me remember what’s best about writing. How good it can be. So take that! (And there’s more where that came from, if you ever get adulation-starved).

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  11. Aw, this was a really quality post. In theory I’ d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something done.

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