Friday, October 07, 2022

poetry as haunted house

"Nature is a haunted house--But art---is a house that tries to be haunted."

--Emily Dickinson

Today, I was writing a piece for Game Rant on a movie that's based on a real haunting experienced by the writer/director. When I made a mental note to check out more info on the actual haunting, I was startled by what I think was the thud a bird hitting the window in the living room, something that used to happen at my parents' house all the time, even downtown, but never here. I took this as an omen and decided to shelve the inclination for the moment. 

As I was putting the final touches on AUTOMAGIC last night, it is so fraught with ghosts...the fortune tellers in the strange victorian futurist landscape of the ordinary planet poems. The haunted sisters in unusual creatures. The Eleanor series and the more violent, sinister underpinnings of the bird artist and the HH Holmes stuff. More than any other recent book, this is a predominantly fictional, narrative world without much involvement from me. And at that, like GIRL SHOW, one set entirely in the past.  I, as a speaker, as a character, am absent from this book. But then again, not absent at all. It seemed fitting last night to be rounding things out as the wind howled and heavy, cold drops of rain hit the windows. I am running the space heater daily until they turn on the radiators, which management has dutifully promised this weekend. In this weather, I am sleeping well--too well--a dead-to-the-world slumber that makes my arms ache from remaining too much in the same position wound amidst my pillows (I am a side and stomach sleeper--never my back) I also have the same chronological impairment every change in seasons brings, never quite understanding internally what time it is--the light being so different from summer.

The film I was writing about combines child-loss related grief with supernatural horror and I remembered this sort of psychological-based horror is what I loved so much about The Haunting of Hill House--how you would be in this heavy, wrought, terribly sad scene and Flanagan would throw a scare at you that nearly made your heart stop. Bly Manor, in all its Henry James splendor,  was good and did some of this, but Hill House set a high bar. This is the best kind of horror, moodily shot, psychologically loaded terror. Its something I would love to translate into poems, but struggle with how.