POeT SHOT # 11 Blog Post by Ray Greenblatt - On Greenblatt



                                         BACK FROM THE DEAD by Ray Greenblatt

Renzie came back from the dead

really back from hell

literally he was dead and

was sent back. I believe him

his honesty is compelling

as well as his honest anger

he has nothing to hide.

He slouches over there

in filthy clothes and flesh

pockets jammed with swatches

of newspaper he picks out

of trash cans and gutters

--dirty is nothing compared to hell—

pretending to read as cover

pace a few steps then back

he tells me he is thrilled

to be here. Bored? Never

of course being really dead

he doesn’t have to sleep

but he pretends to

for the sake of others

especially the cops

who would confine him.

He loves hanging out

in this underground station

where people come and go

all the time—he laughs—

a little like hell.

He begs money to

sometimes buy food to

pretend he must eat

yet he does like some tastes

--not like during life

it was almost compulsion—

he also likes some odors

garbage at its rottenest

doesn’t offend him.

I could go on, as he does

but I have to continue

my real life as he his death.

I see Renzie standing there

in his great bulk

--in hell you don’t wither—

eyes shifting in their sockets

empty gums contorted

cursing the invisible

waving a dirty piece of paper

like a fatal summons

people swirling all around

used to his odorous presence

his eccentric reality.


We have seen many ghosts wandering through the year of poems above. Ghosts of the past, ghosts of our hopes, ghosts of our hurts. Renzie claims he has returned from the dead. We see men and women who seem to be caught between life and a living death. How did they deserve such a fate?