Make sure there’s fire in the voices
of the demons you listen to,
Don’t point to yourself
among the dim stars
of a lustreless starmap
like a consolation prize
as if you were ashamed
of the children of your own shining.
In hell you don’t trip
when you should have fallen
but there’s never anyone to call on
even when you do.
Hell’s valley is heaven’s mountainside.
As above so below.
Hell’s light isn’t red
it’s the last breath of the colour blue
just before moonrise
covers your eyes in wax
to display your likeness to the future
like a deathmask in a quiet room with candles.
The pump don’t work
cause the vandals stole the handles
but there’s no point
witching for water in hell
because the waters of hell are born without eyes
and there’s no seeing in the well you look into
to see what might be looking back.
To be and not to be
are two wings of the same word
that disappears wholly into the endless skies
of the terrestrial rounds of existence
without ever flying out of itself
but hell is a kind of unbeing
that keeps finding signs of itself everywhere
like a gene it’s never possessed.
Deep in the heart of hell
there’s no doorbell on the emptiness
that waits like a host without a guest
for no one to arrive.
There’s no salt on the table of the feast
to sit above or below.
No king or queen
who are the first to be seated,
no jesters grovelling at their feet for scraps.
Hell is a history of blind maps
that never went anywhere
they couldn’t be found.
Lots of dirt
but no ground to stand on,
no wind to carry the ashes of the morning dove
like a cry for help in a bottle
to a new generation of stars
to build churches
deep in the deserts
of their braille constellations
to await the resurrection of Mars.
And it’s a great error of insight
to think that hell is a furnace
that only the prophetically inclined can endure
where they pour the ore out
like night from the pure light of day
that gets thrown away
like the memory of an old injury.
Hell isn’t a torment you can anticipate
anymore than heaven’s
a reward you can expect
for making the right mistake.
The good are unrewarded in heaven
and the evil unpunished in hell.
And here on earth where we dwell
among our sisters and brothers
it’s hard to tell one from the other
though we’re all rumoured
to have been mothered
by the same original sin
we don’t honour the distinction.
And it is as obscenely absurd
to be disgraced by your own birth
as if it were a skidmark on existence
as it is to enshrine a worm
in your rose of blood
like a tiny voice
that eats its way through you
from the inside out infernally
like the pygmy oracles of a new Delphi
that mesmerize you with your own magic
into shedding your own blood
on your own thorns
in your own garden
so you can rise from the dead
without horns on your head
to watch the moon without her crescents
pulling the sword out of her wounded light
as she rises like an enfibulated stone without delight
to survey what’s left of her impoverished realm
through the dead eye of a godess
witnessing the abominations
of the nameless generations
that have died with her in labour.
Hell is the space where you realize
you have never really known what life is
because you lived your own
as if it were you
that were doing life the favour
and now it’s all so clearly over.
Where you look deeply into your own eyes
for any sign of being
as your seeing grows
more and more desparate
not to separate the roads you didn’t walk
from the ones you did
like the threads of the spine
that walked upright like the S-curve of a snake
that wasn’t a strong enough rope
to deliver the punchline of the joke
as you broke into gales of laughter
everytime you failed to kill yourself.
Hell is the moment
you finally get it into your head
that there is more horror
in being condemned without punishment
than there is behind the backdoors of the damned
listening to someone in the darkness
tampering with the locks on their imaginations
to get in over and over and over again.
Hell is the foreplay of pain
not its consummation.
To bring anything to a climax
would be salvation.