Once the design of the equipment was complete, Dixon moved his laboratory and his family into an abandoned air hanger previously used to assemble and mobilize general infantry units during the Great War.  Despite Dixon’s genius, the machinery required to complete the translation was large, metallic; full of switches and hundreds of whining gears.  And what noise it made: Dixon could feel the workings of the machinery within his body as the large gears tore at each other; the smaller, more intricate parts—pieces Dixon pored over with his soldering gun for weeks at a time—pierced the air like the shrieks of cats skinned alive.

They were secluded enough that the ruckus caused by the lab had no witnesses other than Dixon and his wife.

Dixon’s wife Maribel was the first test subject.  A fellow physicist, Maribel was, one might say, distinguished—intelligent eyes, her blonde hair slowly giving itself over to a polite gray, the smile lines around her mouth both generous and unobtrusive.  But she was sick, slowly dying of a cancer that would surely grow only more painful the longer her life wore on.  Edward could sense in her a kind of dimming.  He knew the Ghost-World was her only hope to survive the year.

It was a harrowing procedure. The telephone was then the Ghost-World’s only known entry point.  Dixon knew Maribel’s body would first be decomposed into its individual molecules by the machinery, which then translated Maribel’s body into corresponding bolts of energy that traveled through some copper wiring to a telephone receiver. 

It was a risk, Maribel knew, going first.  But what was love if not our first and most important risk?  She had loved Edward until now.  Her molecules refused to unknow him; her energy, she was sure, would remember to love him.

When Maribel entered the machine, feet first, and slowly slipped inside up to her neck, Dixon begged her to stop.  But she was resolute.  For her, there would be no Ghost-World —only this one, without the burden of her body to weigh her down.




A message from the Ghost-World : be brave.  Imagine a room full of shoes, how much potential that is.

Or the room of car keys, the room of overstuffed messenger bags.  The room of travel-sized soaps.

Everything piles up by category, discrete lists of things that take me to you.

To find you I’ll need a fifth dimension, beyond space and time.  I won’t name it—what this is, how I get to you.  How I was found again, rescued again, restored again.

The Ghost-World hasn’t missed me.  But I miss you.




I tell you            this is what physics is:

                        our bodies in collision
                        and the force of impact we accumulate over time

                                                            In the Ghost-World we are just our voices,
                                                            just waves

particles            and nothing else.

                       The way our imagined kiss
                       its heat

                                                            made the memory of our faces sweat
                                                            and our hands

dreamed           sordid private lives.

I tell you            the Ghost-World
                        does not observe verb tense and so what happens there

                                                            happens continually
                                                            and returns to occur again—

we can have      no future here.

                       In the real world
                       there is a car

                                                            the engine is idling
                                                            and your hands are clutching the wheel

I tell you            fire changes things
                        in ways we can’t imagine
                        What burns

                                                            becomes alive.  Your foot on the gas
                                                            is the perfect arsonist.





Over the next two decades, Edward Dixon devoted himself to locating Maribel in the Ghost-World in order to return her to our plane of existence, the physical world.  The world of physical love.

There is no map of the Ghost-World .  Since Dixon’s experiments became part of the public record upon his court-ruled death in 1974, cartographers have puzzled themselves over the location of the Ghost-World, its topography.  No map withstands the Ghost-World’s dizzying contradictions.  And so, those who are lost there remain lost.

Among his papers and notes are several shredded documents carefully reconstructed by the graduate staff of this department to the best of their ability.  Puzzling, these documents seem to be transcripts of a voice unlike Dixon’s.  Philip Harwood, Dixon’s primary biographer, has theorized these documents are “automatic writings” resulting from the extensive drug and alcohol use of Dixon’s later years.  Scholars of Dixon’s papers have not yet explained the significance of these writings, although they number upward of 10,000 documents.

Edward Dixon’s air hanger and physiotranslator (as it became known) were destroyed by fire around the time the scientist himself disappeared.  Fire marshals agree it was arson but no suspect was ever named and the investigation was left unsolved.

There are many mysteries surrounding the Dixon experiments and we have yet to draw any significant conclusions regarding the Ghost-World, about Maribel Dixon, and about the fateful machine that possibly turned human flesh into dynmanic, non-corporeal energy.

Edward Dixon’s body was never discovered and his death was ruled a suicide by the New York courts at the petition of his brother Michael Dixon.





To be shapeless

      is what you’ve given me

               I can’t describe the form of your voice, its energy

                        or the timbre of our love, which has its own noise

                                       I am in the dark

                                                I am part of the dark

                                                            And yet, explain to me how it is

                                                                        that only now

                                                                                our voices have their own hands

                                                                        their own needs

                                                            and make bodies out of sound

                                                the complete body

                                         has four hands, my love—

                        I am in your dark

        I am waiting for you in this dark

nd my voice has opened itself like a glove





If I asked you
where am I?

I know
you’d have little to say.

I am where
there is no you,

where I haven’t seen
a lamppost

or a mirror
or a stack of nickels

in as long
as I can think of.

No matter how long
I may be vanished like this,

and haunting you,

I will hear
the tires of your voice breaking gravel

to find me
even though

I will not be found.
If I asked you

where is my body?
It would not be in vain.

There is no riddle
more complex than us.  Simply say,

You have no need for body,
I am filled with you already.