Ghosts – the flayed

FlayedAching to be clothed

in warm flesh again,

feeling it tight and smooth

against muscle and bone.

Hating this cold nakedness,

exposed to the core.

Waiting beyond time

for another skin to slide across

this osseous frame,

liquid, soft and trembling,

smelling of sun,

a fitting sensuality

once so tenderly touched

by a lover’s hands.


It is desires such as these

that binds a spirit

to this physical plane

of sweat and body,

this glistening intimacy.


Under the chill September sun

I deadhead the hydrangeas

and geraniums with shining


The withered blossoms fall

into my hand

and soon enough the foliage

will follow, dropping,

brown and wrinkled

onto the palm of earth,

and the garden will become

a murmuration of skeletons

waiting for new growth

to golden on their surfaces.


It is not so easy to face

this bone racked spirit in my night.

Its rattling visage is not pretty

and its pleading cries

come howling through my dreams.


I peer beneath desires

it breathes,

beneath its mask of dying,

into an endless nightmare

of longing,

reaching to be whole again,

refusing to accept

the flaying of time,

the peeling away

of the surfaces of care,

layer by layer

until there is nowhere else to go

except the beauty of the armature

flying free, released.


And you, my haunting,

whipping my heart

with cold filaments of silence.

It hurts, but you are freed now

and covered

by the bleeding veils of love.


mixed media painting and poem by clinock


18 thoughts on “Ghosts – the flayed

  1. Wonderful! Again such a fine piece of art and poem to go with it. I love the way you entwine sensuality with nature and the seasons, the fear and sadness that comes with the thought of death and lonelyness. Wow! 🙂 ❤


    1. Ah Marina, your words are never feeble or incomplete. If you feel and connect strongly with my post my work is done and satisfied. All I ask is that I am able to touch another…


  2. Passion can be an exquisite birthing…and this is what shines in you. That you find words for the immensity of your feelings of love and loss is your gift, John. Your work is in no way ‘ambiguous’… it is of the most personally intimate…with such definition as to make it universal…the details left to whom ever is fortunate enough to come upon it. xxoo


    1. Your words, as they always do, touch me deeply Jana. I thank you for them. I feel inadequate to respond. You see into my struggles to express essences that need to be released. You offer an understanding for me of who I am within this vortex of emotion. You give me a gift that can be mine, to share. Your clarity confirms and reinforces my creative longings. You present a mirror for my reflections…I am very grateful for your attention, very…


  3. bone wracked spirit in the night….and that single eye penetrating….facing the night and spirit? A brutally emotional poem and image John. As for what the other eye will see. It seems a bit startled, we don’t see it as clearly, a blue form moving before it. is this blue form the armature? A structure flying freely? Flayed? Peeled? Tough words John. I think I hear this.


    1. that single ghost eye,
      penetrates my night,
      pleading from what is left of flesh.
      the other eyes, for there are many
      edging the blue skull armature,
      anticipate the encroaching bone.
      all my ghosts yearn to fly free
      but it is I who must attach
      the wings.
      I know you hear Steven,
      and thank you
      for your listening…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. John I have made several attempts to reply to this very moving and honest baring of your soul. Finally I am here again being swept along in your struggle to be free, to be released. Your painting seems to look out at us asking for……….or maybe just lost in thoughts and feelings. Do I see a ghostly cat form crossing your mouth making your expressed written words have more intensity and importance? Deep, powerful, profound…….a very good one John!


    1. Thank you for your deep caring Robert, I feel very honoured that you have taken time to view and read and share your thoughts with such sensitivity. The cat was invisible to me until you mentioned it, now it has become a part of the painting so I guess I’ll have to feed it…


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