A Thousand Men And A Ghost – Mel Waldman

My father was a thousand men and a ghost. I don’t know who he was. But in the distant summer of my youth, we became one, in the hamlet of Loch Sheldrake, at the New Edgewood Hotel. 

With four hands and four eyes in perfect harmony, we performed at the top of our game, like Maslow’s self-actualized humans, and we created magic on the handball court, pounding the pink ball against seething cement and crushing killers from every angle in the ancient heat, where we shared victory and love rather than rage and despair.

We were the Mighty Miracles, for we possessed soul, although we didn’t have a name for it then; and only years later, when I heard Smokey Robinson and the Miracles sing, did I recognize the omnipotent, all-loving, and overwhelming music of emotion.

And although my father’s dark brown eyes were diseased, magnified by cataract glasses, they were not a handicap on the boiling court, our micro universe beneath the sultry, sprawling sun of Yesterday. They saw clearly and so did my young, gold eyes. 

Together, Father and I whipped all the waiters and busboys so long ago, at the New Edgewood Hotel, in the hamlet of Loch Sheldrake, in the town of Fallsburg, in Sullivan County, in the Catskill Mountains, when we flocked to the booming Borscht Circuit and abandoned crimson rage and the weather-beaten faces of hatred in the lost summers of my youth.

Dr. Mel Waldman is a psychologist, poet, and writer whose stories have appeared in numerous magazines including HARDBOILED DETECTIVE, HARDBOILED, DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE, ESPIONAGE, THE SAINT, DOWN IN THE DIRT, CC&D, PULP METAL MAGAZINE, INNER SINS, YELLOW MAMA, and AUDIENCE. His poems have been widely published in magazines and books including LIQUID IMAGINATION, THE BROOKLYN LITERARY REVIEW, THE BROOKLYN VOICE, BRICKPLIGHT, SKIVE MAGAZINE, ODDBALL MAGAZINE, POETRY PACIFIC, POETICA, RED FEZ, SQUAWK BACK, SWEET ANNIE & SWEET PEA REVIEW, THE JEWISH LITERARY JOURNAL, THE JEWISH PRESS, THE JERUSALEM POST, HOTMETAL PRESS, MAD SWIRL, HAGGARD & HALLOO, ASCENT ASPIRATIONS, and NAMASTE FIJI: THE INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY OF POETRY. A past winner of the literary GRADIVA AWARD in Psychoanalysis, he was nominated for a PUSHCART PRIZE in literature and is the author of 11 books. Last year, he completed an experimental mystery novel inspired by one of Freud’s case studies. He is looking for an agent.

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