My Haunting

Poetry of everyday life? What does that even mean? I hate everyday life!

Take the abandoned property next door (please). It is more a complex of creepy old sheds from when the area was just cheap cottages by the Ottawa River than it is a proper house. The place is crammed with scrap wood, tarps, rusting bicycles and other refuse piled up like the junk heaps outside a rural family’s barn.

I imagined the grumpy old guy who lived there as a sort of Mr. Plinket from Red Letter Media’s review of the Star Wars prequel trilogy – a dullard serial killer rooted to his couch hurling infuriated common-sense criticisms at Hollywood trash while rooted to a threadbare couch. His sheds were no doubt full of the gutted and beheaded corpses of local innocents. He probably disguised the smell by smoking the bodies in an oven stoked with old newspaper and half-rotten wood – visiting the shed from time to time to spray them with Febreeze. The wasp nests which frequently form on the boundary of our two properties are clearly a manifestation of an infernal alignment.

This is all very colorful, but it makes for a disquieting daily tea on the patio. While the emptied shacks are now clearly haunted, my experience of them has become mundane. The fashion for Gothic media spectacles has convinced many to yearn for monsters – vampires, ghosts, zombies, witches and werewolves – but this can only be attributed to gross misinformation as to the significance of a haunting which, in times past, was associated not so much with the blood-drenched adventures of B-movie horrors, but a condition of dreary stagnation akin to hosting a guest who has worn out their welcome and having to restrain your impatience to chase them out lest it make a tense situation all the worse.

My household is as poor as the rednecks that surround us, but our poverty is of a wholly different type, for we are as rootless cosmopolitan gender bohemians under siege by our neighbor’s limitless capacity for leathering themselves with tobacco and producing noise and garbage. Our warring tribes are at an impasse.

The force that might most need to be exorcised, however, is probably gentrification. The house of horrors next door is sure to be torn up – oh how I blanch to consider the noise of having a wrecking crew for neighbors! They will somehow turn the little plot into a duplex ready-made for public-sector yuppies. They will probably have children they don’t know how to control and disapprove of my hot pants and vacillate between scolding them for staring and doing it themselves. Under the circumstances, I’d prefer the ghosts.

The question is, if I flee from the spectacle, and real life, and reserve judgement on this so-called nature thing, where am I to flee? Were that I could spend my whole life asleep!


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