If You Have Ghosts, You Have Everything

For this Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, we tiptoed to the crypts, dug up this dusty classic and resurrected it for Thirteen Days of Halloween. Originally published here at Cream Scene – 10:28 am on October 26, 2008 – as Part of The Spooky Kabuki Special.

Archived Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel by Dia VanGunten
Art by Motel Gemini

In the night, I am real. …I don’t want my fangs too long…. The moon to the left is a part of my thoughts and a part of me is me.”

This was a hymn from the church I’d been waiting for. This was reckoning & rock n’ roll at once. This was the theme to the soundtrack of my life. NOT one of those songs that I came to love. I loved it on first listen — in my bones, in my molecules, in the depths of my mind. If you have ghosts, you have everything. I had been waiting all of my days and nights to hear that song. I still shudder at every listen. It is my anthem. It is the mantra which saves me.

This odd sequence of words spirits me to my truest place.

Roky is a coyote in the dark piney woods. Pine cones float in the moonlight as organic odes to Tanuki and Kitsune. The coyote says “This was the life you wanted. How lucky you are to be haunted.”

If you have ghosts, then you have everything.

These spirits that clamor, who are they? Why are they here? What do they expect? They leave omens everywhere, valentines in the path of days. Instructional pamphlets? 

Dad called it the “cosmic phone” and the voice on the line is the voice you long to hear. The scarab in Jung’s window will knock with more frequency should he see that you too have twitching antennae. Ah, to talk about what this song means to me is almost impossible.

The effect it had was to scatter me like seed while condensing. How can it feel this way? It reminds me of Alice with the Drink Me bottles and the Eat Me cakes. I am ENORMOUS! Crowding, pressing, filling up. I am tiny. A nanotech hologram of all that I am, a portrait of Dolly Parton etched on a grain of basmati. Practically invisible, wholly infinite.


If you have ghosts you have everything
If you have ghosts you have everything
if you can say anything you want
then you can do anything you want
If you have ghosts then you have everything

one never does that
one never does that
if you call it suprise there it is
the moon to the left of me is a part of my thoughts
is a part me is me
one never does that

In the night I am real
in the night I am real
the moon to the left of me is a part of my thoughts
is a pert of me is me
forever is the wind is a part of my thoughts
is a part of me is me
in the night I am real

I don’t want my fangs too long
I don’t want my fangs too long
the moon to the left of me is a part of my thoughts
is a part of me is me
forever is the wind to the left of me is a part of my thoughts
is a part of me is me
I don’t want my fangs too long
if you have ghosts, then you have everything.

I am simply being forthright when I say that this song means the WORLD to me. Is there anything more in the world than this?

If you have ghosts, you have everything.

I have ghosts. 

More and more everyday.

I feel their presense at the tips of my shoulders. I dream of complex impossible machinery and blame them. They are always watching, wondering. What now brown cow?

Some people point to their scars and say, “See! I have lived! I took the leap!”

Others point to frown furrows. “I have suffered. My heart has broken in a million places.”

Then to smile lines. “I have grinned. I have beamed. I have known joy, I have brought joy.”

I point to ghosts.

They are the proof of a life lived on the curled up smoky edges of existence like burnt paper. They are testament to …. willingness? …. courage? … awe? … curiosity? … wonder?

NYC, Summer of 2008

If you have ghosts, then you have….

  • An open mind like a a wind-whipped hallway. Where is the wind coming from?
  • A hungry heart. Skulking in the dark, turning over every rock, nibbling velvet moss, barky twigs, souls unlike your own, souls akin, a lover’s skin, a friend’s soft spot.
  • Allies amongst the gods, the totems, the sky, the dirt. When you are injured, they gather you up in cloudy limbs and carry you to a bed of soft thistle.
  • You love to love (that they are loved is no secret to those you love.) You’ve seized their cheeks, pounced on their goodness, pointed out their attributes and celebrated their quirks and their quarks. Even their molecules feel handsome. You don’t withhold kindness. You take liberties with love. You lay it on thick.
  • It all gathers, an accretion of all the love that you’ve lavished or ever been given in return. Compliments filed away, talismans built from origami & feathers, tokens of affection. Many keys to many hearts on a ring that clangs in your pocket.
  • You’ve found members of your tribe, recognized them, summoned them, exalted them, comforted them. SHOOK THEM.
  • Your ghosts aren’t just people (or pets) loved and lost but selves, moments, ideas. So many layers of being like tissue paper glued over glass. Illness, experience, dreams, injury, heartbreak, love, longing, learning. All the things that contribute to the complexity of your being.
  • You’ve experienced a drug unlike any other … wine, hallucinogens, tobacco, soda pop, sex… none of it compares to the ephemeral solace of the spirits that carry you, ferry you on a raft of peach skins, banana peels, orange rinds. You float on the current of time, space, electricity, wonderment. You crack the pod and lick the shell. The doorway swells with feathery light. You swallow the bulb and become a bulb. Incandescent.
  • No need for long fangs. No need to take, rape, steal, beg. If it’s not willing, you don’t need it. Hate is not welcome in your heart.
  • A glow-white lightning bolt: theater of synchronicity, dance of the Mindellian demon. When the audience laughs, take a bow, whether they are laughing at you or with you, it doesn’t matter. When you stutter or miss your cue,  you are Pee Wee Herman who meant to crash his bike into a rose bush. They will appreciate how you stop to smell the roses. Should you mangle a line just tie your mustache into a bow like your mouth is a gift to the world.
  • Your toe in the water, while the wave has its toe in you.
Austin, TX. Honeymooning Bride – Frankie wore green tights and had a big green woodie sticking outta the hole in his boxers. We are lucky we didn’t get arrested.

Hopefully you can translate my urgent over-wrought gobbledygook. When you love something the way I love this fucking phantom-tastic Roky Erickson song, your brain turns into a dollop of whipped cream. In the struggle to grab the meaning from its swirling vortex of importance, the writer looks like a hack and a zealot. So please excuse my raving mythos.

Just LISTEN to Roky, our genius mad man who was spirited home to us at last.

Thank you for tuning in/turning on to this special SPOOKY KABUKI edition of the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel. XOXO, DVG your friendly neighborhood Alphabetfiend!

About the Author

Dia VanGunten has been haunting Cream Scene for a long time and used to spit the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel on a weekly basis, which sounds exhausting.

Photo is a Halloween from around the time this gospel was written.

About The Artist

Motel Gemini is mysterious.

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