Aphelion Issue 279, Volume 26
December 2022/January 2023
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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The Devil Speaks

by Jean Jones

Listen, I know your story.
I've heard it many times before,
You're lonely, you're sorry,
you're tired of living, etc. etc. etc.
Let me tell you something:
I am Experience, and my name means Lived, and to be me is to live
and let me tell you something,
it's not what you've read about in books.

Nothing in books exists.
If you're looking for meaning,
it's not there. I can tell you that right now.
Young girls and boys writing poems about sex and death
and what does it all mean?
Nothing. Nothing at all and they know it.

I am emptiness. I am your mirror.
I am the eye you turn away from
whoever you open your medicine cabinet,
your liquor cabinet,
your pill box, your bag of pot,
that open refrigerator, or that blank ceiling you see on your back.
I will eat, drink, smoke everything you ever knew
and I'm here to remind you
that I won't forget, I won't go back, and I won't go away.

At two in the morning, or two in the afternoon, or six in the evening,
I'm here to remind you that you're you no matter what you do.

There is no escape.
I know every damn thing in your mind,
and I know all the excuses you give yourself, all the lies you tell yourself
and others, and you know what? You and I both know they're lies.

What truth do you know exists?
Do people ever tell the truth, even to themselves?
Tell me for I know the answer. The answer is no.
Everyone lies to themselves because deep inside no one wants to know the truth
except myself. Tell me something: When have you not told the truth to suit
your own purposes, huh? When have you ever told anyone including yourself
the truth as you know it?

What's the real reason you smoke pot, you overeat, you cheat on your girlfriend,
you cheat on your wife, you sleep with that prostitute, you overeat all the time, why?
Because you want to. You feel like it. You deserve it, you tell yourself, that's why
anybody does anything in this world. Because they want to. Anything else is a lie.

And you know what? I'm the only one willing to admit this. I'm not here to forgive you.
I'm not here to save you, I'm not here to hug and believe in you, I'm here to tell you
the truth, and the truth is, you don't give a damn about anyone else. You do what you
do because you want to, no matter who it hurts, no matter who you betray, no matter
how you destroy yourself, you do it because you want to. And that's the truth.
And only I will tell you that.

So as a result I'll be here night after night,
I'll stay with you, and remind you of what you've done,
the only one willing to tell you the truth and you know it,
no matter what others say, and unlike the others, I want nothing but the truth.
Deep down inside you deserve to be with me and you know it, and you know
why I'm here. I'll stay w/you beyond death, beyond suicide, beyond the grave
and I'll come, come for you, not like the Angel of Death you expected,
no I'll be more subtle than that. I'll tap you on the shoulder
when it's time, tip my fedora, and say, "Listen, it's time to GO," and there will be nothing
you can do about it, because I'll have been waiting, just over your shoulder,
waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, until it's time
to GO. Be seeing you. . ..

© 2011 Jean Jones

Jean Jones was born in Indonesia in 1964, received a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Poetry from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio in 1988, and is currently co-editor of Word Salad Poetry Magazine, an online poetry magazine that can be found at http://wordsaladpoetrymagazine.com/drupal7/

Find more by Jean Jones in the Author Index.

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