It is the time of ghosts, the time to acknowledge and celebrate what is always present, never hidden, but usually ignored.
In my dreams, the dead and the living mingle, not separated by time. A cruel man, a man I hated when I was a child, a man dead for many years now, asks me to recommend an iPod. In my dreams, the dead are not dead. In streets and houses, they go about the same business as the living. The Arizona desert is in Glasgow, Scotland.
Conversations are had, work is done, and it is as though old hurts and grudges never happened. In my dreams, the dead are not dead, but their weaknesses and failures are, leaving only people with no one to blame.
The stories we carry are the real and only ghosts. Only stories are born, and only stories die.
As part of last Sunday's Dharma talk, I read Sam Hamill's poem The Orchid Flower. I corresponded with him for years, though we never met. He is among the people who have died whom I cannot bring myself to delete from my email contacts. When he died in 2018, I wrote this poem:
Elegy for Sam Hamill
Two days ago you breathed out
and didn’t breathe in again. You
were in your bed at home in Cascadia.
I’m on my couch at home in Glasgow,
reading a book of your poems, one of
the books you put in a package, took
to a post office and mailed to me.
I find you in the words, and I look for you
in the spaces between.