What We Talk About When We Talk About Ghosts

It began in a feral and unnamed country, which was the nerve-center of dreaming.
Telephones wires hanging down like snipped umbilicals, like severed hyphens that had lost all sense of meaning and purpose. The telephone poles doubled as crucifixes.
You didn’t see the crucified posted there anymore, but they had been, and would be again.
The ghosts of the crucified were in the splinters and knotholes of the poles, they were deep in the wood like spectral termites. And they were in the ruptured cables. And in the electrical surges and currents that carried the voices of your friends to you, your voice to them, the entire freight of voices and exchanges and transferences, all of it haunted by the ghosts of the crucified.
If you ever felt like someone was listening to your conversation, that someone was eavesdropping, you were right. If you ever felt inexplicably guilty or ashamed or fretful when talking on the phone, that was because of the ghosts of the crucified. Your conversations, your talking and listening, implicitly carries the renewable seeds of a serialized haunt and pall.
They, the ghosts of the crucified, are with us. To open your mouth, to utter a sound into the mouthpiece of a telephone is to cardinalize disgrace. To speak is to implicate yourself in unspoken crimes.
The telephone poles were designed to model crucifixes colonizing landscapes, a proliferation of totems representing persecution, mania, ill communication.
There is indeed something rotten in Denmark, and next time you pick up your telephone, if you listen closely, you will hear exactly what it is.
(Note: This piece first appeared in ­­­­­______, in the year 19___. Its applicability has shifted, with the viral spread of cellular technology, and therefore crucifixes have been reduced to sideshow relics and anachronisms that will continue to diminish in relevance and tangibility, until eventually there is nothing left and the guilt and shame and sense of unease will become floating fossilized digits in a series of wrong numbers and disconnected lines. Thank you for holding….)


About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, performer, and playwright, John Biscello, has lived in the high-desert grunge-wonderland of Taos, New Mexico since 2001. He is the author of four novels, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, Nocturne Variations, and No Man’s Brooklyn; a collection of stories, Freeze Tag, two poetry collections, Arclight and Moonglow on Mercy Street; and a fable, The Jackdaw and the Doll, illustrated by Izumi Yokoyama. He also adapted classic fables, which were paired with the vintage illustrations of artist, Paul Bransom, for the collection: Once Upon a Time, Classic Fables Reimagined. His produced, full-length plays include: LOBSTERS ON ICE, ADAGIO FOR STRAYS, THE BEST MEDICINE, ZEITGEIST, U.S.A., and WEREWOLVES DON’T WALTZ.
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