Over the past several years ghosts and spirits (the words, the concepts) have found their way in my poems sometimes invited, sometimes not. I remember many years ago hearing Ishmael Reed respond to a questioner’s skepticism about worlds other than the one we encounter daily. He said that we live in many worlds and at times we can enter the other ones when we are open to that visit (poor paraphrasing on my part here). I think I understand what he was saying. There’s a membrane between the living and the dead. When I was a child, the Episcopal creed used the phrase “the quick and the dead”—that “quick” has been altered to simply say “living” but the sound of “quick” is more focused and startling. I can remember it 45-50 years later.
At this moment when so much of my life is overfull with accolades and support, I think of ghosts, of those whose showed me ways to move, to write, to think, to act. Who listened to me and understood what I was trying to do and who said, keep going. Their love and dedication and stories and gestures, their tender mercies towards me kept me from going under, fading away. Oh how I wish they were here:
David Earl Jackson
Brenda Conner Bey
Betty Ruth Merrick