How Many Times?

I could see this man. I suppose it was me, really. Yes, it’s me; at least, he’s wearing what I’d wear and looking like, I imagine, I look. Do I have to keep my eyes on him? It hurts to look at him. He isn’t the man I was. That is a dead person in that chair. Can’t you please stop this now? He’s dead! He’s dead! Help me please. Please don’t make me look any more.

And as the moon reddened, there, eating up the peace of midnight, the cigarette pressed into the ashtray of the car, the close of another day, his last on Earth. The earphones still unable to block out the words he hears in his head every minute of every day. Arms heavy with lethargy, with nicotine, with muscle. Each fibre wound tight, as though prepared for murder, for love. How many times, rings his head, must a man die?

 

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