Dogs 2007

AFTERLIFE
(9/16/07)


the light
is bright
in this
waiting room

much
too bright
as a matter
of fact

it glares terribly
off the lime green
yellow
and hot pink
plaid furniture
orange shag carpet
and turquoise
walls

the fluorescents
seems to feed
off the reflected
Day-Glo
nightmare
becoming
even more
intense

it is difficult
to keep
my eyes open

what wood
I see
is not wood
at all
but the cheap
particle board
veneered crap
that you might see
in a mobile
home
and most
of it
is peeling
and discolored
from age

any
visible metal
is rusted
and stained

I can smell
the rust
actually
as well as
the moldy fabric
all mixed with
the overpowering
odor of disinfectant
which seems
to alarm
rather
than comfort

and
the music

or rather Muzak
versions of
Barry Manilow
Billy Joel
and Elton John tunes
that literally
make my flesh
crawl

surely
my appointment
must be next

"Mr. Alexander?"

the woman
at the desk
asks

and although
that is not
my name
I know
that is me

I walk toward her
and she holds out
what appears
to be a book
of some sort

"please
fill out these forms
and bring them back
to me
when finished"

I return
to my chair
squinting about me
in the sherbet haze
but there is
no one
there
but me

every
once is a while
I hear a door open
and look up
just in time to see
someone's back
receding into
the room beyond

I look again
around
the room

where
are these people
coming from?

how
do they enter
this kaleidoscope holding area

without
my detection?

I flip
through the pages
but the print
is too small
and the available space
for required entries
even smaller

nurses cross
in front of me
from time to time
and they are
without exception
all beautiful
their thin white uniforms
almost translucent
in the strange
lighting

but
when I can
make out form
through the material
it is like some
visceral x-ray
instead
of outlines
of smooth
supple skin
and all I can see
are pumping arteries
pulsating intestines
the expanding
and contracting
lungs

the bile
rises in me
as I catch
passing
glimpses

I bow my head
and try to concentrate
on the task
at hand

then
I feel the itch
the burning sensation
in my crotch
armpits
eyelids
and ears

it is quite
uncomfortable

I squirm
and fidget
trying to find
a more fortunate
position

I know
that if I scratch
my discomfort
will only
increase

I hear
the door
open again
and see clearly
only the coattails
of some midget
in top hat
and tux
skipping
and whistling
as he goes
into the room
beyond
the quickly
closing door

I look
at the clock
1:55 pm
and I know
that my appointment
is at two
but that two
will never
come

I hear
the violin version
of some long forgotten
Carpenters' song

the itching
worsens
and is now
behind
my eyes
deep
in my brain

I want
to cry
but no tears
will come