Ghost Story 2: A Precise Street Map

Let us pass through the story, said the ghost. It weighs nothing. Walls and doors mean nothing to it.

Every word is a wall, said the ghost. This is the beginning of the story. This the end. That is the convention.

Beyond walls, down streets beyond maps, through the skin and out through the mouth, said the ghost. One breath will do but make it long.

The story passes down the street on the map, said the ghost. Your skin is the map, your gaze the magnetic north. It is cold there.

This map is a reflection of that map, said the ghost. We can explore both. His breath blossomed in the air like a body uncurling.

I was considering streets and maps and needed a ghost to explore them. Here I am, said the ghost. The street was clearly haunted by me.

I wish I could speak to you in the language of maps, said the ghost. The language spread itself out and we walked over it.

One is obliged to be one’s own ghost, said the ghost. One is obliged to cross walls, walk streets, burn maps and haunt oneself

Following the street to its end we extend the map, said the ghost and laid its hand on my shoulder. We must keep walking.

Here is a turning, there another. We may turn when we like. The map is always alight. We are always frozen, said the ghost.

So we walked together down the street. Everything was solid. As solid as I am, said the ghost. As capable of walking and weeping.

The ghost looked like my father. The ghost looked like my mother. The ghost looked like me. I am myself, said the ghost.

The trick is to be someone else, said the ghost. To be other than one’s own self. That is the difficult part. That’s why I’m a ghost.

The walls of the story are intangible spirits, said the ghost. Every wall is a voice. Every voice is an invisible presence.

It was a very precise time and a very precise place. Where else should we be but in a precise place, asked the ghost? Is there an elsewhere?

The story is a form without a body, said the ghost. That is my province. Your task is to give it a body. Take mine if you like.

This is only a story, said the ghost. It means nothing, not even to me. It is a process of becoming without becoming. Shall we go on?

Everywhere was elsewhere. I knew the streets and I knew the faces and bodies. This was the map. Let’s haunt it, said the ghost.



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