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POETRY: Grandma's House Part II - Based on Actual Events

(And you should because this poem and the ones that follow will make much more sense.)

A little backstory for you: My grandmother Jean Bennett worked in the music industry and managed one of the most famous doo wop groups in history, The Platters. Their golden years were from 1955 - 1965. In 1965, she shut down her offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago and moved to Las Vegas. This poem is a re-imagining of the day she walked through this house after it had been raided by police. The details about the condition of the house are mostly true--right down to the rotting roast left in the oven. Its former occupants were tipped off by a phone call and barely escaped before police got there. Whether or not there was an actual ghost is anybody's guess. I can tell you that a man did, in fact, die a gruesome death in the master bedroom, and I can tell you that there was always an eerie 'presence' that could be felt by any of us who dared to pay attention.

More to come...

Grandma’s House – Part II

Where’d everybody go?

Wonders the resident revenant,

wandering out of the master,

slinging the highball in his hand

so the ice bruises

the edges down

on his Rusty Nail

just right.

Was it something I said?

The paneling looks great, by the way.

The former Mr. Jilted

laughs like Clarity

standing in the invigorating ambience

of comeuppance;

his peals could peel paint.

He tosses back the drink

As well as the drapes,

letting the light of requital

shine right in.

And what does he see

coming up the walk

but a beauty,


Va Va Voom!

She could be Lana Turner’s

little sister, or a blonde Jackie-O.

She trickles into the entryway

like a teardrop

behind an old mare of a woman who

clomped through the door after

she shanked it with a key,

letting herself in

like she owns the damn place.

“Here we are,” the old nag neighs,

“and remember, Ms. Bennett,

to look beyond. Imagine

what your sharp sense of style could

make of this place!”

Well, aren’t you an eyeful, Princess?

You make a fella wish

he still had both his eyes.

“I know it’s a


Speak for yourself.

Please forgive us.

The bank

has been

sitting on this one

a while, and really …

had no time to …

and anyway …

heckuva deal!

Stiletto heels with ankle straps

step across

the threshold and in

to the fray. Over

the Monopoly game board, through

scattered cash,

white, pink, yellow, green, blue.

Green houses and red hotels

flung about the foyer.

They should’ve grabbed

one of those

Get Out of Jail Free Cards

on their way out.

Looking around,

laundry on the sofa,

unmentionables left unfolded.

Cracker Jacks catapulted

across the orange shag carpet.

A bottle of Coca-Cola

lying lonely,

flat as a photo on the coffee table.

Half set dinner table,

milk curdled and crusted in glasses,

godawful smell accosting the senses,

rancid roast rotting.

For God’s sake, woman, why

did you open that oven door!

A pink hankie in the crosshairs

of a perfect shot of perfume,

over Ms. Bennett’s button nose

for the rest of the tour:

medicine in cabinets,

clutter in closets,

beds in shambles,

the whole house dismantled.

A phone off the hook

shoes strewn about;

its previous occupants leaving without

their clothes and their soap,

their LPs and their dope.

What are you thinking, Ms. Bennett?

“What are you thinking, Ms. Bennett?

I know it’s not exactly in tiptop shape…”

“Obviously whoever lived here tore out of this place… why?”

“All I know is that the owner was some sort of business woman. I don’t really know the details…”


“I do have to disclose, however…”

Oh, here it comes…

“There was an unfortunate accident…”

… no there wasn’t.

“… and the owner’s boyfriend

passed away

here on the property,

in the backyard.”

That’s not what the neighbors say.

And all Ms. Bennett has to say

is, “Shall we see the backyard?”

The swamp looks like sewage

half full in the pool

and even the stench

does nothing to assuage

the dainty Mizz B

who admires the trees,

still leaning their elbows

on the Spanish shingles.

“I’ll take it,” she says.

“You will?”

You will?

“I will! For fifteen thousand

under that ridiculous asking price.”

“Oh, Ms. Bennett,

I’m sure the bank won’t…”

“Yes, it will.”

She starts to walk back

through the sliding glass doors.

“Miss Bennett,” says the mare, “if I may…”


“If the bank agrees…”

“They’ll agree.”

“You’re not afraid of…”

“Of what? That a man died here?”

Miss Bennett has quite

the impressive


“I’m not afraid of ghosts,” she laughs

and waves a dismissive hand

right through the mess

in my neck.

We’ll see.


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