the holy ghost moves through baltimore

the holy ghost moves through baltimore
pissdrunk on aliceanna
his heart, a rancid piñata
full of writhing maggots
transfigured over pussville
bravely blessing broening manor .

the holy ghost moves through baltimore
slides down e madison, his harpoon
quivering with delight, anticipating
big nothing and banking on the
rush of wind. he has no faith
in anything but maps.

the holy ghost moves through baltimore
consumed by awesome rhythmic
voodoo, outside red emmas,
juju snake flagrant, a cadaverous vampire
outlaw. an oum’phor, a landlord
deity in guise of storefront preacher.

the holy ghost moves through baltimore
feasts on pork in druid hill each sunday,
he barely escaped the whorehouses
of egypt near the redhouse on west branch alley
his god tells him subdue the world
and i will attend to your next of kin.

so when people say “seb, have you met the holy ghost?”
i tell ‘em i come from baltimore.

that gets them off my back.
they mind their own business
after that.

This entry was published on 11/09/2012 at 2:32 pm. It’s filed under Poems, poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

49 thoughts on “the holy ghost moves through baltimore

  1. Pingback: Straightforward Poems for Straightforward People « tarnation and eudemonia

  2. This is full of a uniquely American magic.

  3. That’s really just sumptuous. Is that a word? It’s fucking dumb. Awesome Seb, you are out and out amazing you know. Such detail and imagery but it’s like concrete, not trying to hint at something, but in doing that you seem to be hinting at something bigger anyway. Love your love for Baltimore, I never been but sounds cool. Wish you’d post more man, your stuff is classic.

    • Hey Trent

      I’d love to post more, but I really don’t have enough “A” material to post any more than I do and , well, quality over quantity.

      What I am thinking of doing is maybe boosting up a few older pieces that may be familiar to the folks who have come from MySpace but I think may be interesting to newer readers. Would that be cool?

      • That would be cool. It would help us relive some old times and, like Neil McDonnell used to say, the poems aren’t Kleenex tissues.

      • Yeah definitely. I guess I would question how many people on here really go that far back anyway… At any rate, highly appreciate the quality over quantity comment, and I for one would love to see some of the older stuff.

  4. I think about this one in light of your comment about the poet telling you more about yourself than he does himself. So taking out two things I do know about you – one, that you love your hometown and you know it’s back alleys and dives like the back of your hand and that you don’t believe in the Holy Ghost I though “what does that mean to me”. And I began to think about what does where I come from mean to me and what kind of spiritual relationship do I have to it and I found that yes, I so associate myself a lot with where I come from but not so much with when I come from. That’s interesting. I am of this place but not this time. Do you feel you are of your time in Baltimore, or California?

    • me? yeah, this is my time. my old man, he was man who was always out of his time. It had either never arrived or, when it did, he was already slipping out of it.

  5. Your voice lives here. It is true.

  6. The last five lines made me laugh out loud! Love it. 🙂

  7. abdulbencamel on said:

    The “business” of the mind is so much at the root of politics and poetry. Why they devolved into 3 separate qualities is probably a question for some other Renaissance (or species of trees;)

  8. You sing lovesongs to cities.

  9. Awesome! I always thought the holy ghost was in Baltimore!

  10. Yaz on said:

    I love this. You remind me of Stephen King today (Bob Seger’s a softy compared to this!). Though I must add, though you remind me of certain artists, you are unique. And thanks for being around and scaring me with your honesty every now and again!

    • You know, from memory, the path this poem follows was sort of the directions to get from my pad in Broening Manor to the Camden Yards Baseball Stadium! Go O’s!!

  11. liverloverlass on said:

    The holy ghost moves through Liverpool just wouldn’t have the same ring to it, would it?

  12. if telling them you come from Baltimore doesn’t alienate people as you say it does, there’s still a small chance it will engender pity sex.

  13. audreyhipbone on said:

    Gorgeous language – black magic, black magic.

  14. I have to admit, I have lived here since I was 5 years old and I have never quite seen the city the same way you do – to me, I cannot see that wonderful romance you manage to evoke.

  15. apacketofchipsontheceiling on said:

    I expected something lamenting the reelection of the one big ass mistake!

  16. parliamentaryowl on said:

    Brilliant, Seb.

  17. You got the spirit.

  18. this is so good it makes me want to write a poem this very moment. Inspiring shit!

  19. A magical mystery tour!

  20. So many nosy parkers in this world. A man’s religion (or lack of religion) should be his own business

  21. I can certainly identify with this one. nicely done and packed with meaning !!

  22. The ether of mist and wind is palpable and the grit in your voice… Magic.


    • Oh crap! Eric Gale is here 😦 There goes my chance of meeting any women here – it’ll all be “well, you’re okay, Seb, but you ain’t no Eric Gale!”

      Welcome to the big theater, Eric. It’s scary at first but folks here are just fine!

      • Oh Sebbie, you’re not foolin’ me, I know you have the ladies all tied up around somewhere…

        glad to be here

  23. This is a really nice piece! It definitely paints a picture. Thanks so much for following my blog. I look forward to reading yours as well!

  24. You need to send this over to Tom Waits to light a cigarette and drawl through at the piano – this one is so full of atmosphere its amazing.

  25. Gleeful and gorgeously gruesome. I don’t think I ever want to go to Baltimore…

    • Oh my 😉 if you think this is gruesome, check out my film for queer st – a tour through the real grimy
      unpreside of charm city. I haven’t seem you about in ages btw.,,,

  26. Oh what a splendid poem. Every word. That holy ghost really knows his way around Baltimore.

  27. I love your style…

  28. Ok, I’ll admit to being clued out… I love this one too, like all your others – for its ‘city gritty feel’ but I’m afraid, I don;t understand all of the American context. I missed your notifications in my inbox and thought I’d check out your blog straight away. Have a great Christmas holiday!

    • Think of it as a sort of a roadmap through the city – not through the heart of the city but through some of the funky back streets, from the eastside of the city to the famous Camden Yards ballpark. Think of the the city as a spirit, a spirit of place and of that which is emerging from underneath what has been newly built. Think of the spirit of the southern gothic (because Baltimore is the northernmost southern city). Some local color? Pussville is a cemetery just north of where I once lived, Red Emma’s is a bookstore full of agreeable folks with disagreeable politics, w branch alley is a very sketchy place near Madison & Charles -it’s sort of where the “eastside” becomes the “westside”. I miss that town so much, I really do., Best folks in the world live there.

      • Although – here’s an interesting thing – why does the poem begin on Aliceann’ and move East, before then heading west? Hmmm…

  29. Interesting! Towns, especially small towns have so much character… I miss that character in a city like Delhi… too big, too dispersed, too impersonal. But I do remember the smaller towns I stayed in as a child. Dublin too…where I worked for a while, back in the 90s… I love that city – one of a kind.

    And you say it very well. You think you could send me links to some of your other writing? I would really love that. Asking for much….:)

  30. ha – thanks for showing us around the city – never been to baltimore but i sure love to experience a city through the eyes of a poet

  31. 1EarthUnited on said:

    This holy ghost doesn’t seem very “christianly”, *creepy smile*, seraphim wraith from the bowels of our subconscious. Awesome poem tho.

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