A Visit from The Ghost (or I never knew there were really Vampires until I died)

This morning, before the sun came up, I was thinking about a friend of mine from years ago. I wasn’t thinking about anything specific except about the way we keep memories of those who are gone. He had blonde hair and green eyes and a smile that wouldn’t quit. He left no dark ghost of fear except the one I used to keep in my heart for a while. Then I thought of someone I lost this week last year – another blonde and an angel on earth who should still be here. It is too soon to think otherwise. So I count the years and think of things we wanted to say. At first we ask questions and wonder what if, then we stop wondering. I turned to the sound of a voice.

“I died today. Weird.”

It would have seemed weird coming from most people but this was from a Ghost. The Ghost (Nigel) who lurks around my house and now most places in my life. It isn’t that odd of a statement for those of us who live in the shadows, sometimes between life and death and other places.

He stood next to the fireplace in my home wearing black slacks, and a white shirt with a black skinny tie.  No jacket today. He ran his fingers through his longish black hair and held my eye in his usual intense way.

“I didn’t even know where I was buried until I’d been dead almost a year.” he told me. “People go to my grave. They leave flowers. They leave glasses of wine and whiskey. I’ve gotten love letters and women have written poems to me. Someone even put up an easel for a weekend and people came by and waited for me to paint from beyond the grave. Creepy.”

“Did you paint?” I had to ask.

“No. I don’t want that. I could have, but I don’t want to be brought back. I mean, I’m already back but I don’t want to be known as a ghost. I want to be known as the artist I was…the man I was…I am. Twenty eight years. I’ve been dead for longer than I was alive. So much has happened since then. December 3, 1986. Damn. This morning she was there at my grave. I don’t remember who she is but I know she was important. She talks to me and has a glass of wine and pours one on my grave. Then she talks for a long time to my friend buried next to me.”

“Nigel, isn’t so much that December 3rd was the day you died – it was the last day you lived. What did you do that day.”

He gave me a bitter smile. “I slept with my best friend’s wife then I went to his funeral. Wait, Juliette, the woman at my grave. That’s her. That is… oh my God. I was in my car. Your Wildest Dreams was on the radio. I hated that song. I missed Enter the Sandman – that didn’t come out until what, about 5 years after I died. Damn. The Cold War ended. I should have been there.”

“What kind of car did you have?”

“Porsche 944. 1985. Black on black. Right before he died, my friend, I remember we went to Yosemite. I can’t believe how fast I drove. He died there, I know that much but…that part of my life, the part just before I left is so foggy.”

“How strange that you only remember bits and pieces.”

“It is strange that I’m a ghost sitting here talking to a Vampire chick trying to remember my life before I died. Did you know the Internet wasn’t even out yet? What am I saying? Electricity wasn’t even out when you were born. I’m a Ghost talking to a Vampire.”

“I never had a ghost for a friend until I met you.”

“I never knew there were really Vampires until I died. I missed out on so much. So much. I should be 55. I should have a family and… damn, I missed my own funeral. I wasn’t even there. I had no idea.”

A quiet voice with a strong old fashioned accent spoke out. “Nobody goes to their own funeral. Funerals are for the living.”

Mary materialized next to us. “I’ve been a ghost for a long time. Nigel, I never knew love until I met you.”

She was a small delicate ghost, almost like a fairy with her long red-brown hair flowing down her back, wearing a green mini skirt and white sweater and fuzzy scarf and over the knee black stiletto heeled boots. She died around 1600 but she still kept up with fashion.

Nigel smiled – not his usually snarky or sarcastic smile but one that was genuine.

I told them to go and have a lovely day in their own ghostly fashion. There are more stories of those two and the funny things they do. But today I’ll be content to keep in my own thoughts and watch the rare rain storm we’re having.

I will also make sure to spend the extra effort with those who are physically here, no matter who or what they are.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman


Sacramento Old Cemetery

In memory of a poet – Daniel Tanzo

Dan passed away March 27 at 2:50am. A nurse who checked on him at 2:30 said he was sleeping peacefully. When she returned at 2:50, he was gone.

From his dear friend Tina Benson:

His sister Tracy, brother-in-law Mark, and I arrived within the hour to bear witness to the full military honors he was afforded before they took him away. It was quite moving, actually.

When I got there, he was clearly at peace…I had no sense that he was holding on, hanging on. or hovering around at all…seems the last few weeks surrounded by all the loving care he received, allowed him to move through the bardos and be on his way. He felt very peaceful, and very gone…as if he’d already taken flight and was well on his way.

To all of you who sat vigil at his bedside over these past weeks, and to the many more of you from around the world who lit candles, sent prayers, and bathed him in love, please know that it gave great comfort to Dan and his family. Dan knew in the last weeks of his life how deeply loved and cherished he is.

I will post Memorial Service date, location, and time, as soon as it is determined.

In shared love of this crazy, gentle, giant of a man…”

~ Thank you Tina for all of your updates and for being there with Dan. The love will always be with you. Wishing you peace.

Vampire Maman


I’d like to introduce you to a poet, a bear of a man, a free-thinker, a man with a loud laugh and a gentle touch. A man with few filters, but a man of great words. Daniel E. Tanzo.

Celebrate with me the poetry…

If You Really Want to know

Poetry is the gauntlet of the human existence,
from agony to ecstasy, mundane,
profane and sacred. From Christ on the cross
to Dionysian orgiastic debauchery
with nymphs who rend his flesh,
to the cry of a newborn babe,
reaching in and attaching itself to your soul
Poetry is life squared,
brought to existence,
through an oft times inadequate medium.
So we try to connect soul to soul,
with the ink from our veins.

Copyright © Daniel E. Tanzo

Daniel is a tough, ornery son of a bitch, often called The Grizz (after the bear). He also has a softer side…

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Passings in the night

The plan tonight was to share some Vampire tales and adventures and truly funny things, but plans change.

Tonight I saw The Ghost, Nigel. He wore an impeccable black suit, his hair was a perfect glossy black and all in place. He motioned for me to sit with him out on my back deck under the cold night sky.

His eyes met mine and he told me a story.

“I died 27 years ago as of December 3, 1986.

I normally wouldn’t have remembered the anniversary of my own death, but, it was the strangest thing, I was standing out in the woods, not doing much of anything. When you’re a ghost you don’t do much of anything. Anyway, I was out in the woods and a woman came towards me. She was smiling at me and I knew things about her. Her life had taken up where parts of mine had stopped. Then her life stopped December 3, 2013.

She looked at me for just a moment in passing. It was dark but I could see the light coming over the horizon.

She asked me who I was and if we knew each other. I told her “I don’t know you, but we’ve loved some of the same people.” I turned her in the right direction.”

Then he stood up and looked up at the stars, l hovering in and out of a transparent state. Then he came close to me and made himself look as real as a live person.

“I couldn’t go with her. But I sent a little bit of my love along, I hope. Well, I know I did. Don’t look all sad. I’m a ghost. These things happen. Hey, nobody should die alone. She left surrounded by love.”

“Who was she?” I had to ask.

He shook his head slightly. “I don’t know. But we loved the same people, just not at the same time. I loved them first, then she loved them after I was gone. I have a feeling she was better at it than I was, or most people for that matter.”

There were so many questions I wanted to ask him but tonight was not the time to ask or to try to get answers.

Love is a force that we can’t explain or quantify. It goes beyond worlds, beyond sorrow and beyond grief.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman


That was not my friend

Let me remember

My friend

In my own heart

With my own memories

And the love

I had.

Don’t tell me

What was said after

How other said he was

Stories of things

I don’t want to hear

Because that was not

My friend.

The long years make things softer and memories not so jagged, but sometime those dusty file drawers in one’s brain get lodged open and make a line directly for the heart. I can’t take more in those drawers or in my heart.

As my children grow older I know that their now sparkling and new file drawers in their brains are neat and ordered. Their hearts are light. Over the years the dust will fall. I think of the young people, or anyone who saw that burden on their hearts as too much and the sadness and pain seems so overwhelming. So in honor of your love, remember those who passed in darkness with light, and love and hope for those you will meet one day.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman