A Rebours

No Exit

I swear I was in a café when I died;
It's the only explanation that I can abide.
'Cause here you come with a look full of longing,
Sitting down across from me with a chai latte.
And suddenly, I'm tangled in the coma-inducing web of your life.
Here they come: all the Cliffs Notes of your boring play.
Within minutes I feel like I've been here all day.
Yes, here it comes-why you hate your job,
The guy you like and what you did this weekend.
And I realize an hour has passed
And I haven't heard a word you've said.

I know I've died, and I'm paying for some time
When I was unjust, or just unkind.
Why else am I drowning in your endless droning,
Struggling to maintain a smile?

I'm sure you're not altogether bad
But you're still a pain in the ass.
And nothing I could say
Would leave your self-esteem intact.
You're such an awful boor
When you come through the door
I want to run and hide
But our paths always collide.

I swear we are in the café of dismay.
We're stars in the sequel to Sartre's dreary play.
Your mind is like a TV set tuned a dead channel in the night,
Though I prefer the sound of lush white noise
To the broken static of your life.

I must've died, and I'm paying for some time
When I was unjust or just unkind.
Why else am I drowning in your endless droning,
Struggling to maintain a smile?

Then you croon, "Thanks so much for listening,"
As if I had a choice, as if I had a choice.
I'd rather be beaten with a blunt instrument
Than listen to your noise, than listen to your voice.
Keep your iron voice locked away.
And keep your mouth closed long enough for me to say, "Goodbye."