Lean forward now and listen well
It is a tale of much despair
I have this account and I must tell
the misery, as if you care.
She was a lovely girl, you know
I imagined I knew her well
from total manic sense of show
her own self-inflicted hell
Friends we were, though bumpy ride
it might have seemed to all.
Funny how it would coincide
with an untimely, unlikely fall…
She called me from a payphone one night,
said she was unsure of her life
said she was despondent, full of fright
said she could see no end in sight.
…and I agreed, most thoughtfully
and then I hung up the phone
and then I went straight on to bed
and left the TV on, to drone.
Falling asleep was never easy for me…
thoughts would always invade my mind
especially tonight, I could not shake free
the talk with her placed me in a bind
You see, dear listener, I had once loved
a man who chose her over me,
and over and over it stung memory
and over and over I was reminded, you see…
She’d speak of him all of the time to me…
Pushed me to the edge of sanity…
and sleep finally came…finally came for me.
The rage finally ebbed, and I was asleep
but all was not right in the world…
Somehow through the night, it crept,
a tragedy unfurled
Splashed throughout the papers today
They said she poisoned herself
They said she was dead for only some hours
They said Strik-9 was the ultimate power
They said it had to be most painful, that end
and notified her next of kin
and then they had nothing further to say.
Poison mingled with Oolong tea
and within hours it was over.
I truly had an idea of the madness…
hysterical madness that drove her.
Today I was neither happy, nor sad,
nor in a daze over it.
Kind of like when you see the news
but you get really tired of hearing that shit.
So, finally her mad ranting had ceased,
so what? I cared not, either way.
I talked to no one about this thing
I simply had nothing to say…
…until last night while trying to sleep
I found that I could not breathe.
It was cold in my room, much colder than ought
I suddenly could smell a slight odor of rot
and mist unfurled chilly hands to my face
and my heart jumped to life and began to race…
for there, before me, stood my dead friend.
She smiled bitterly and pointed at me
and I wondered mindlessly how to defend
against said apparition, I could not flee.
She continued to stare and tilted her head
I cried out at her, “NO! You are dead…!
…you killed yourself! By your own hand,
you are through with this earth, nay, you are damned!”
She moved toward me, her skin blue and pale
gestured to herself, began silent wail
and again her look said, you can not flee…
she bared her teeth and snarled at me.
She faded until there was nothing left to see
except on the floor where she’d been…a key…
I leaned forward, and touched it, my head pounded so
from remembering a night of trudging through snow
walking up to an apartment door and unlocking
and pausing for a moment, hearing them talking…
The two of them, herself and her there,
her imaginary friend, the only one left who cared,
inviting myself in for a moment or two
and careful of where fingers brushed…
so as not to leave any trace of me.
I sat and watched as she sipped her tea.
I sat and wondered how long it would be.
I sat, outwardly calm, save my face – a bit flushed…
..and leaving before the deed was quite done,
and back into deep sleep before rising sun
and having no memory and not wanting one…
I pushed it back as far as it’d go.
I simply had no desire to know.
The key, if there was one, fell into a grate,
and I’m just fine, and all is well…
and I seldom remember that rotting smell
and there seems to be nothing more to tell
as I rarely imagine screams rising from hell.
But now, I must leave as its gotten late.
At least, for you now, the story is straight.
This piece was written over a decade ago,
and originally published December 6, 2000