Tag Archives: afterlife

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One

Mary was on the bus again today.
Same as every day on the
morning run to work
back seat in a skirt.

A startling dark sullen beauty
staring out the window
like I wasn’t there and
never would be.

Looking as though she were
plucked right out of the last day
I saw her
fifteen years ago
just before she passed,
pills and vodka.

Sweet Mary,
everybody loved you but you
nobody saw your pain and
here you are like a
hammer dropped on a glass table.

People would think that I’m crazy
for entertaining the idea of this
of her
and I’ve had this conversation
with myself many times.

But that was Mary.
I was sure of it
even though she hadn’t aged
a single day.

It wasn’t just my imagination,
trust me.

A girl that good-looking
everybody notices.

And we’ve been riding this bus
together for over a year now
so you could only imagine
how this has fucked with me.

It was no way to start your day
with your mind fixated
on her whether you liked it or not
all day
every day as
everything else starts to
peel away like paint under a flame.

How so much like her it would be to go
and do something like this to make it
possible somehow but reality has rules
and people don’t just come back.

Why would they?
What for?
When you die
you’re fucking free of all this.
Mary knew that.
That’s why she left.

You don’t notice
how time really passes
when you become lost in a world
that has already passed
and yet I have done nothing but
endure it because of
my soul-searing uncertainty
and questions that turned into doubts
it can’t be…it just simply cannot be
until now
finally too far gone to care
if I looked like a creep
or if the world was upside down
mid-ride
I got out of my seat and
approached her.

I had a good line
or didn’t.
I don’t know.
Overthought it.

“Excuse me, Miss. I know you don’t know me
but we ride the same bus and I always notice you
writing in that black book of yours
and I just wanted to know what it is
that you write about?”

She slammed the book shut.
I thought that the girl was going to tell me off
but instead she started to laugh.

“I’m writing a story about a guy that
sees a girl that’s been dead for a long time
on the bus every day to work but doesn’t
have the sense or the guts to
actually do anything
about it until one day and…
wait…”

She looked up at me with those
big beautiful eyes and mock smile.

“Stop me if you know this one.”

“Don’t Worry, Albert.”

Took care of my wife
for ten years
as cancer slowly
took her away
from me.

“Don’t worry, Albert.
It always rains
on a sunny day,
doesn’t it?”

She’d always say.

Two years alone
after she passed
I moved far away
to start again.

It was either that
or put a gun
to my head.

But everywhere I looked
I still saw
a reminder of her
in every woman
in every child.

I worked
then I wandered the streets.
Trying to live.
Trying to cry.
Trying to die.

And one day
I saw her
leaving a laundromat,
laughing.

It was her
but it wasn’t
because it
couldn’t be

but there she was.

I walked up to her
and stared
like an idiot.

Asked if I could
walk with her.

She looked at me
strange.
I didn’t blame her
but she acquiesced.

That was when
on a blue sky
it opened up
with rain singing across
all the streets
in the sunlight.

She laughed and she
looked at me with that
gorgeous smile
that always
broke through me
like I was air
then she took my hand.

“Don’t worry, Albert.”
she said.

“It always rains
on a sunny day
doesn’t it?”

Jenny Says Hi

Johnny got drunk
behind the wheel again and
smashed his car into a tree.

Jenny wasn’t wearing a seatbelt
and died on the way to the hospital.

That was twenty years ago
and the only reason Johnny
had recalled it right there and then
as he left the party that night
was that across the road
parked right under the
lone streetlight
was a 1983 mustang GT
5-litre V8
blue finish with cobra rims.

Johnny froze
and dropped his keys.
Jesus.

It wasn’t just any mustang GT
sitting there as though shipped in fresh
from outer space
It wasn’t just any car
It was the car
the one Jenny had died in
the one with the rear left panel replaced
by a slightly deeper shade
the one with long yellow scuff marks
all across the front bumper
and worn dark tints
missing patches here and there

and of course the
silly smiley-face sticker on the side bumper
where Jenny had put it.

Johnny couldn’t breathe
as he approached the car as
inside the shifter sported a chrome skull
on a center console painted black and white.

He did that
twenty years ago
when Jenny was still alive.

Oh God.
This wasn’t happening to Johnny
There must have been some answer to this.
Some strange coincidence.

He decided to wait across the street
on the curb
sobering up –half falling asleep
until when near dusk some kid came
strolling along
cigarette in his hand.

Weird-looking kid
-strange eyes
nobody walked like that.

Kid went up to the car
and stuck his keys in.

“Hey!” Johnny approached.
“Where’d you get the car?”
“What’s it to you?” The kid asked.
“Where’d you get it?” Johnny’s voice grew louder.
“Piss off, man. I don’t answer to you.”

Johnny went to grab him but
the slippery bugger dodged it
shouting:
“Get off me! I’ll charge you!
You can’t just run around grabbing at people!”

Johnny managed to catch him by the shoulder and
spun him around against the car
the kid grinned
his breath smelled like rotten eggs.

“WHERE DID YOU GET THE CAR!?” Johnny slammed his
hand down on the roof
right next to the bastard kid’s head.

The kid shrugged. “Alright. Uncle gave it to me, man.
Some old trash job he touched up. He’s a
mechanic. We good?”

Johnny turned away. Was it possible?
Johnny supposed it was. It had to be.
“Alright, never mind.” He said.

The kid picked up his cigarette.
“You need help, man. Cut down on the booze or something.”

Johnny walked away and heard
the car door slam behind him
and the engine started with that familiar
deep rumbling that he had always loved.

The car started off…
but stopped.

Johnny turned around to face the
red tail lights loudly flashing.

The kid leaned out the window
and looked back.
“Oh, Mister -and one more thing…

With a calm smile he said:
“Jenny says Hi.”