The Spirit of Palm Beach

CHAPTER 1 Possessed

I find myself haunted by the ghost of a man from Palm Beach.

When I found out he had passed away, I wrote a poem about him… I had to write it. I didn’t have a choice… I had to get it out of me.

His death impacted me so profoundly, and I wasn’t sure why? I didn’t even really know him.

I thought that was because he represented an era… and atmosphere, a feeling?

A place in time and space that like a snowflake, forms and melts away never to be repeated. A fading impression that lives on only in the memories of the people who were there. I’m sure that was at least a part of the waves of melancholy surging through me.

It’s true that when I finally got pen to paper, I felt a moment of relief… but the feeling returned again with renewed intensity, so I took my writing, my terror of public speaking and my secret yearning to be seen, to the poetry reading.

When it was my turn to read, the need for relief was greater than my fear of speaking. I pulled out my paper and read the words, losing myself in the journey, forgetting I had an audience in front of me yet, meeting eyes with individual men and women, sharing my story intimately.

When I read the last line, I couldn’t finish… I choked on my tears and ran from the stage.

I looked back to see the rest of the audience crying.

It was a wonderful night… poetry, at its best, comes from a place that reveals the beauty and vulnerability of our shared human condition. This night I felt held and accepted by the warmth of familiar strangers… the outcast’s family.

I’ve written a eulogy, shared it out loud, even met members of his family yet, I still feel moved to tears and secretly yearn to see him every time I drive past fourth Avenue.

I’ve been tempted to judge myself as desperate and needy, indulging Mills and Boonesque fantasies of a romance with the ghost of a troubled surfer-boy from Palm Beach.

I tried to discipline my unruly mind. I tell myself that I need to get over this, that it’s going on too long. In reality, a relationship with this guy would probably be a disaster… for all I know he was a violent alcoholic.

I yell out loud in the car… “Go to the light already!”

He is still here.

He takes a drag of his cigarette and winks at me…

Link to the Poem:

2 Comments Add yours

  1. debrhee says:

    I can’t log into WordPress right now but loved that article and have similar experiences with people who’ve passed that I’ve never really met- yet maybe know better than some who have. I suspect same for you. He sees your light on and is touching someone who cares. Remarkable how you managed to touch his family through your open and willing heart. 🙂 I saw the comments- love it! Keep being you! Xxx

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

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