#poem #poetry #amwriting divine comedy - canto 7

canto 7

'wake up'
a rat faced man
with open sores and bleeding gums
looms above me
in panic I stare at the yellowing stones
of the jaundiced cell
'liberal' he barks
in reply I meekly shake my head
all the normal caveats escape me
for now is not the place to wallow in the subtle
by the stench of the breath
I am guessing the rot in his gum
is the cause of the blood
alone and foresaken
one should not trust to chance

in the exchange of snap decisions
that pass for definition
of the entirety of the human condition
we pass
into the revealed fate

or so I fear
when in response to the questionairre
I paint a less guilty self
into a sugared corner

the rat faced man
of shrivelled wings
cares not
for I am but a number
of boxes ticked
that on a whim
he might tick to tease
or condemn

'usurer' he asks at last
probed and prodded
all my sins
nods he leaves me
to the dark drip
and the muffled screaming of souls
along the corridor
who repent and wail
in fear for what awaits

but I
refuse to lose all hope
wrapped in failing courage languished
the ant on which I stamped
and took delight
does not compare to the fists never thrown
or the knife sheathed and never dagged
nor the spit that stayed in my mouth
and whenever asked advice
I always spurned the pandered truth

as I run through these justifications
thinking the thoughts stay within my head
I feel the mocking taunt
of echo
in the tumult

for all that can make release
is a keening lamenting shriek
enjoined with the mulititude
clutching the pride of sin
tightly in the spirit's fist

The Blue Book