For the Obstinate

It was Hell. It displayed itself, a bad time

in full throe. Right where they always said

it was, down below. A deathless music

of shrieking strings, of poison yellow

clarinets. Here, the unspeakable mansions

were. Here, the stricken souls must slide,

clear out of bed, sluiced out of skin to rain

through floorboards, to rain like

an untended bath rains into the basement.

They must be the defacement they have made.


The simmering acres swallow them.

Now, they never tire, fitted

in their spiritual attire: couches lit on fire,

forever unconsumed—the rhetoric of a liar

in every flare & hiss. How they go on! They

shout, shout, for the argument to continue,

without doubt that it shall continue, as it shall.

Continue. Continue. They’ll allow nothing.

They’ll see it through, as they did on earth.

They’ll not concede. They insist. Like this,

like this.