A woman I know polishes and dusts and wipes clean office desks in the city at night. She is responsible for three stories of garbage emptying, toilet cleaning and floor shining. She is experienced, she works quickly and finishes early so she can do her favourite thing – sit with a cup of coffee and look out the night-clad windows.

You can see everything from the 35th floor. I know. I went in one night and thought I was on top of the world. You can see everything and more.

The streets are matte black. Lights come from all sorts of sources – buildings, cars, neon signs. Shadows are cast, orbs caught in the dark, bounce.

The woman who cleans tells me that from the 35th floor she sees people who are not really people walking the city streets. Soundlessly. The woman who cleans tells me the ones she sees walking the city streets at three in the morning aren’t people at all – they are ghosts.

Smoky ribbon trails flare from their feet. They are not directionless but they are unhurried. Streetlights flicker as they pass and buildings fall in and out of focus.

The woman who cleans sometimes think being so high and looking down on a familiar scene alters perspective, allows the mind to be a trickster. Yet even at ground level, out of corners of eyes, people who once were walk.

Who would’ve thought that there are as many people who used to be walking at night as those people who still are during the day. Are they memories or leftover contemplations?

The womans who cleans watches through freshly unsmeared glass as the hours turn black and white like old movies. Every night the people walk – crowded under the moonlight – and I have that dream again – of ghosts in the city.

16 thoughts on “GHOSTLY

  1. Hi Selma,
    It is amazing what can be seen from some of these tall buildings, I love looking over the rest the city whenever I’m in some of these places. Very strange the people walking, it certainly is a mystery to add to so many strange things that happen in the world.

    I also put a post in about ghosts in a city, what are the odds, as the old saying goes great minds think alike. πŸ™‚


  2. When I was a police officer, my supervisor and I would take turns working off duty overnights at a very old and large buidling that was being remodeled into offices for a music label.

    One morning at 3 am she stated she saw a woman’s face in one of the top floor windows in a closed down secured area. She called for back-up and a group of them searched the entire building and of course found nothing.

    I never saw anything there, but obviously was not as excited about walking through the old structure by myself with just my flashlight (since the electricity was not on). Yikes.


  3. that is breathtaking in its mystery, i love the syncopation of the repeating phrases, but beyond that, it is so perfectly noirish. something about it made me think of black onyx, and opals for the trails of smoky mist. it is a gem, i guess thats why.


  4. Ohhhh…I like this! What an atmosphere you’ve created with this post Sel. Felt like I was there, looking down at the night scene below. When i lived in Toronto many years ago, I lived on the 22nd floor, I remember sitting in the window seat many a late night, wondering about the happenings so far below.

    Excellent post! G :<)


    That’s the impression I got too. There are a lot of people trudging the streets looking for jobs these days. I can’t help but think that some of that energy gets left behind…..

    Well, I will definitely be over to read your post shortly. That IS amazing πŸ˜€
    The view from some of those huge buildings in the city is extraordinary. It is so different from being on the ground. If I worked in an office in the city I wouldn’t get any work done for looking out the window all the time!

    I’ve seen a few faces in old warehouses and such too.It can be very unsettling. There are definitely some ghostly presences lurking in disused buildings. Yikes, indeed!!


  6. TIPOTA,
    Awwww. You are so sweet to say that. I do love the noir vibe and I think big cities at night lend themselves to that. It means so much to me that you liked it!

    It is a different experience to live so high up, isn’t it? I can see why people get telescopes and get into astronomy and such. It’s as if being so high up opens up the world. I love it!

    Aww, thanks so much. I’ll see what I can do with it. πŸ˜€


  7. Oh, this is such a marvelous foundation for a poem… I can hear it being read in a hushed voice, like a stage whisper, with sudden splashes of high, clear voice as though excited or in awe of discovery.

    Very lovely.


  8. KAREN,
    It’s funny you should say that because I used to write ghost stories for my sisters and cousins when we were kids and then freak them out by reading them aloud in the dark with a torch under my face. Come to think of it, I was a bit sadistic :mrgreen:

    I am pleased. I wanted this story to be a bit spooky!!!


  9. Nice post, Selma. Like another life to be awake at night high up in the sky. Funny coincidence is that for the last couple of days, here in the care centre where I am recuperating I keep seeing something out of the corner of my eye, but am never fast enough to catch it! πŸ™„


    Oooooh. I wonder if you have a spirit looking after you in the care centre. When I was in hospital a few years back the nurses used to tell me all sorts of stories of things they saw at night. It was incredibly interesting. I tried to stay up all night to see something but of course I was on meds and just started snoring. I really like how you put that – to be awake at night high up in the sky is like another life. That is so cool!

    I like to tingle every now and then. Keeps me on my toes πŸ˜†


  11. I think the woman is being given a gift. The night world is magical – but I only see it once in awhile. I think her imagination is advanced – so much so that it allows her to *see.* I’m glad you shared this – as a result, MY imagination is roaring.


    There really is a lot to stoke the imagination at night. I think she initially started imagining scenarios to counteract the tedium of the work, but now I know she has come to love her nightly sojourns above the city. It’s quite an incredible experience. I love it too!


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