by John Patrick Robbins
If You Counted Skeletons
I had far too many old stories laying around .
Much like dead bodies and old vices I hid them from sight buried in the clutter.
It was a tomb without riches.
But every danger was real one wrong step and that was it.
Everything here lingered like some far past it’s prime bar.
It was a nightmare without end.
And simply called it home.
I built it over time and poor life choices.
It was my master piece on full display to everyone and not a single soul.
I made friends from ghosts and ignored every knock upon the door.
My thoughts and failures hung in the corners with the cobwebs.
Everything had a place in the chaos.
And still you would need a road map to find a exit in all this debris.
If you counted old skeletons in the closet you would probably call this place a morgue rather than a apartment.
But then again I think the morgue smelled far better.
Another Dead Night
To say you worked the graveyard shift at the morgue was a hilarious statement in itself.
But the sad part for me was that this was true.
I waited for the dead like some night clerk at seedy motel.
I knew the close to life’s book.
And saw the start off point to what would be the greatest diet some would ever know.
“Hey Philis, you look like a bag of bones literally. What diet are you on?”
“It’s called death, bitch!”
You had to keep a sense humor when they were bringing in the dead like Domino’s delivered pizzas.
You saw it all.
And after awhile you became blind to the scene.
It really took something fucked up to shock you.
The kids scraped up off the sidewalk were the worst.
No matter how you started we were destined for the slab.
More bones to the yard fuel to the flames.
Everyone had to die and it seems some chose to do so more so on these nights than others.
We had five altogether.
Three from a car wreck.
Another just old and forgotten and partridge and a pear tree.
Though I hated the holidays I once saw a guy dressed as Elvis, course he was a impersonator.
I always hated a fraud.
Then there was a night I saw a ghost.
It was in the paperwork first she spoke to me.
I saw the name and at first it didn’t click.
Julia E. Loveless.
I unzipped the bag and looked at my past.
It was her.
I left her there sat at my desk mixed a drink wasn’t worried about the stiffs snitching on me.
I thought back to when that empty shell once knew life.
When I wasn’t so fucked up and dead inside as the stiffs that kept me company.
I poured the rest of the flask in the glass.
I remember how she used to watch me mix a drink as she sat on the couch cigarette in hand.
Blanket across her naked body.
“You know from the way you mix those, You’re going to put yourself in a early grave baby.”
“Look who’s talking, smoking a cigarette with a bad heart,” I replied, handing her a drink of her own.
“True, but you need to slow down.”
“Yeah, Jules, but what fun would that be sweetheart?”
I remembered those nights often together when the word was ours and the nights were filled with passion and life.
I remember her beside me asleep dead to the world.
And now its seems she was dead to all.
I took a hit from that same flask she had given me.
The bourbon hit my stomach heavy and burnt like fire.
Yeah it was going to kill me one night but it definitely wasn’t tonight.
It been awhile since we had parted ways seems she must have missed me.
I can’t say she was dying to see me but here she was.
And the sad part is even in death she looked far better than I did alive.
Course she always had her looks.
But least I was breathing.
Some skeletons never stay in the closet some simply open the door and slap you in the face.
I saw a ghost tonight she had haunted my thoughts haunted for awhile.
It took alot to shock someone like me.
Sometimes it best to seal the whole room and barricade the door.
And leave the old skeletons to there own Halloween cast scene.
Every night was dead here.
John Patrick Robbins’ work is often inspired by the people he hears around him. These two writes reflect a man far beyond jaded.