Hell by John Tustin

Shirtless,
worthless
at 2 A.M. Sunday morning.
I don’t go to dark places,
I dwell in dark places.
Johnny Cash sings my epitaph
in words
I cannot express myself.
White-knuckled
on this amusement park ride
I find to be
not the least bit
amusing.
The truth falls from my lips
in this echo empty dusty room
and melts unnoticed
into the floor boards.
I can only reveal the truth
in empty earless rooms.
The lights flicker on just long enough
for me to know
I don’t know where I am,
what I’m doing,
where I’m going.
Thorns and broken glass litter the floor.
I walk barefoot across the freshly painted
horrifyingly white room,
leaving bloody footprints,
to the bedroom
where fire-breathing Hell itself
waits in my bed to greet me
with charred nails red-rimmed with my blood,
a shining horn.
I stayed out as long as I could
but sleep beckons me,
overtakes me with its seductive allure,
pulling my eyes down like rolling shades.
Hell doesn’t respect my silence or my space,
my fortitude,
my uneasy love.
Hell only respects Hell.
Hell only sees the mud
that covers me,
the gossiping flies,
the objects I covet,
my tongue swollen with
abject hurtful words,
my eyes full of hungry swarming pestilence.
The renegade
submits at last
to the whip.
So I lay there,
ash in my eyes,
brimstone in my nose,
poison in my throat,
absorbing the heat,
living with my blistered soul.
Living in pain.
Shirtless,
worthless,
powerless.
Sweating out the end
in bed
with a stranger.
An enemy.
The Devil Herself.

john-tustin
John Tustin is currently suffering in exile on Elba. His published poetry is available at http://fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry/
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