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Friday, December 25, 2015

Ghosts don't stay buried

Ghosts don’t stay buried

I am pressed up against the edges of Denver.  The hidden stories of this city are the only thing that keeps my interest.  Stories we tried to bury and stories we are trying to bury now.  The stories that get my attention are of wretched acts of treachery and demonic acts of man.  Stories so dark they have to be buried deep beneath this city so we can try to forget them.  Stories that should stay buried.

We don’t want to know just how uncivilized we behave or remember when rivers of blood jumped the banks of the Platte River and Cherry Creek. We would assume forget the scalps and carcasses that stacked up on both sides of the Frontier Wars.  It’s gone now, buried, and we ride bikes on the graves and feel good about our efforts to not drive.  The stories will not stay buried.  Nothing stays forgotten.


Only half the train whistles you hear passing through the crease of Denver in the middle of the night are real.  The other half are the screeches of the ghost train signaling it’s passing through a town that existed one-hundred some odd years ago.  A time when things that glittered on the sandy shores of our rivers got men laid and got men killed.  It is the whistle of the ghost train passing through a town that reeked of pine smoke and the by-product of human encampments.   The whistle of the ghost train, a warning signal of its slow approach into the forgotten depot near the confluence of the Platte and Cherry Creek.  

When the ghost train arrives at the station the people who get off are not alive.  They are ghosts; poor souls who did not stay buried.  They did not understand where to go when their hearts stopped beating so they stay here with us, without substance.  They go about their daily lives, just like they did a hundred some odd years ago in Denver City.  They exist beside us, participating in the commerce and civics of a by-gone era with as much conviction of their realness as you or I do, as we go about our daily lives.

If you can shut your mouth and open your ears for just a minute you can hear them.  They are everywhere.  They tell stories.  Stories of a time we would assume forget.  A time when the rivers ran with blood and we stacked carcasses like cordwood.

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