Books · Poetry · The New Verse Movement

Hell, A Prose Poem by Peter Johnson




“If you want to understand the social and political history of modern man, study hell.”

~ Thomas Merton

It’s probably like the excitement of your first cigarette, but it lasts forever, that dizzying nausea — the Unknown: with imitation human heads on their buttocks, bats leaping from black books, dragon tails waving, monkey glands everywhere, hope dying slowly like a bad marriage, “I am nobody” the only conversation.

But then again the damned might be as unrecognizable and stupid as the living: men who use the same condom twice, women who let them, the degenerate who molested Spider-Man — everyone perpetually suing each other, holding hands in a circle whose rim clangs like a counterfeit coin.

But more likely it’s the general humiliation of being dead, realizing your own personal Beelzebub might be the least weird guy you know.
© 1997 by Peter Johnson. 


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