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Saturday, 8 October 2011
Poets United's" Thursday Think Tank #69 provided for prompt this photograph and the thought that the house might be haunted.
My nightmare house. Night after night
I've dreamed this house. Exactly this.
Always the same house, never the same dream.
Sometimes, as I've approached the house
I've seen it shrink. Right before my eyes,
shrivel down to dolls house size, then
seen it all kick off: grinning faces
peering down at me from every pane of glass.
Sometimes the house has slid away from me,
a pace away for every step I took;
sometimes it shrieked at me, the boards
would move like mouths and scream obscenities.
But it was never real. Imagine then today
I lose my way, am driving down a road I do not know
and there it is: the house I dream about, the very same.
I stop, walk up to it, knock on the door,
it doesn't move or shrink or scream at me.
The door is opened by a lordly looking gent
who welcomes me and clearly is expecting me,
invites me in, asks why I'm late and pours
me out a drink. He knows my tipple to a tee.
He asks about my luggage - and then he disappears,
just vanishes. No puff of smoke, but might as well
have been. Except... he's still there in the mirror,
pouring whiskey at the bar. His image hasn't moved
beyond the movements of his arms and hands.
And then he's back. Comes back the way we recently
came in - and for good measure, steps out of the glass.
One corner of the room is very dark.
I noticed it before. It struck me then as odd
why light from elsewhere doesn't filter there.
I pushed it, I suppose, into the "pending" tray,
but now my mind is working on it, and I see
there is a cage, and in the cage a cockatoo,
some sort of green. My host puts down his glass
and turns towards me, says, "They should be ready for
us now!" And even as he speaks he undergoes
a transformation, morphs into the form of cockatoos,
whilst in its cage, the bird accepts his form.
It lasts a second. Half of that. No more.
So fleeting is it that I half imagine I imagined it.
But no, it happened right enough, the two
exchanged their states, though briefly it is true.
There's proof: the colours are the last particulars
to change. For seconds more, my host is emerald green,
the cockatoo a pin-stripe blue. I don't think
I will wait for "them" to see if they are "ready"!
I make extremely false excuses and let him lead
me to the door. The knocker hammers out a rapid
rat- a - tat tat tat. I look at it and see
it's jerking up and down. That's its "Good-bye" he says