Purple Ghost

Is it because my dick is not yet bolted on

With screws of flesh and hammer of bone

That I am not welcome in your presence alone?

(And do not mention the stag night)

Is it because I wore a dress on All Hallow’s Eve

And she seemed insecure, not knowing –

Is this thing a boy, is it prettier than me?

I do not trust it…

But no, it was before –

Always before,

That she knows our tangled histories

Stretch back into the infinite, unknowable,

Like the tangled webs of galaxies

For isn’t that what children are?

And how can she ever know

What is gone and lost, forever more


But I know what came before

I know what lies beneath

The thickening flesh of his exterior

The boy I knew was bones and hair

Insecurity, thin fingers, a drifting coil of weed smoke

Redbull cans and Prozac pills,

Angst and nihilism and Nine Inch Nails

How can memories not prevail

Against the puckered lips of a nervous present

Manipulation, mistrust inherent

And worst of all his own lethargy

To let his history drift away

Like the unmoored boat of all he used to be

So who are you now, Mr D,

With your suit-clad figure and your new degree?


I do not know this thing I see

The boy I knew is dead to me.



…Or does he wander, like some wraith of memory

Still sitting in a Brite-ian cemetery

As though he never saw this ugly reality

For isn’t that what memory is, intangible,

Prone to fits of doubt, or nostalgic romance?

If the past is a place and memory is its realm

Do our past selves all wander through the

Minds of one another?

Is each one of us a fleshy thing,

Surrounded by the ghosts

Of everything it used to be

The lust, youth, naivety

And with every version that emerges

From its cobwebbed black cocoon

It grows uglier, more staid, more grey and wrinkled and realistic

For isn’t that the crassest word?

As we turn into our parents, into sagging caricatures

Souls trapped in office blocks,

In briefcases, management meetings

In closed-lip kisses and casseroles

And if this is the thing you really are

Then I’ll just keep your memory

Of the imperfect thing you used to be

When you would smoke weed under a dripping starlit canal bridge

When the world was full of magic, blacklight and uncertainty

When we saw the planes plough, exploding, into the Twin Towers

In the dingy monitor of your dingy room

And it meant nothing to us at all

Because we were too young to fear the adult things, like war and loss and catastrophe

Because all we needed was you and me

And everything seemed temporary,

The whole world disposable

In its unknowable concrete tangles

Its maddening adult routines

The demands of your mother

To fill the fucking dishwasher, James,

And we always stood apart from it

In the tangle of thin limbs under sex-smelling duvets

We made a shelter from it all

And the world seemed more purple

Purple like my hair, and purple like your bedroom

There is a shade of purple that to this day belongs to you

But you do not belong to it

Now that you are something else

With your suits and your stag nights

And your…and your…

There are no words for unremarkable

We know things by their difference


I watch you sink into her world

Her dreary adult world

Like a screaming black amoeba

Devoured by a larger one

And you are gone forever.


5 Responses to “Purple Ghost”

  1. Wow that is amazing writing thank you. MAKES me want to get another tattoo lol. Don’t really know why.

  2. MaDnEsS MiNeRvA Says:

    What beautiful and tragic nostalgia, mourning a person who’s a shell of their former colorful self. Ah, tis the tragedy of life and all it’s changes

    • It is a bizarre thing…though I think in his case I feel a massive edge of anger, frustration and confusion at the fact that he’s repeatedly sold his soul to a succession of codependent, possessive, paranoid girlfriends, who refuse to allow us to spend any time together unless they’re in the room too. Which is a really weird dynamic when you’re trying to maintain a close friendship with someone you’ve known for 12 years, but suddenly they’re no longer a person, they’re just a dangling appendage with no will or personality of their own. Not to mention the amount of times I’ve put him first in *my* relationships, to the fury of boyfriends, but when it’s his turn, 12 years mean nothing.

      The weak-mindedness astounds me. I never had him down as a full-on lifestyle submissive but that’s about the sum of it – can’t go anywhere alone, can’t have any friends that weren’t her friends first, can’t arrange his own birthday parties (because she’s so sweet and helpful she wants to do it all…so long as she can locate them where all *her* friends live and *his* friends can’t get to, to drag him slowly into her own world where everything is within her control O.o ), can’t even come to see me when my friend died because she’s having a ‘bad day’ and apparently ‘mildly annoyed’ trumps ‘dead friend’, and somehow that *isn’t* completely fucked up. Ugh. If I found out he’d been alien abducted in 2011 and replaced with a robot I would not be surprised!

      /rantypants! 3 angry songs, 1 angry story, 1 grumpy poem, and apparently I still haven’t finished on this subject!

      • MaDnEsS MiNeRvA Says:

        Well, i think all things considered, and given the history, it’s only natural to feel all of that. It’s even more realistic to not accept and get it over with. Something like this isn’t that simple and no one would blame you for feeling at least a little bit jilted. It’s a very petty thing that should never intervene in something honest, less said honest relationship was only one-sided honesty. Then it’s a matter of betrayal, to you and to themselves. It’s pretty sad really

  3. Who the hell are you? Brilliant.

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