My Time in Hell

I was told I would burn forever
and it would never stop hurting.
I've been here for a while now.

I've learned a lot about people,
here they have nothing more to lose--
the dictators, the crooked philosophers,
the witless sinners--
they'll tell the truth about anything.

A perfect system
for eternal burning and hurting
is a lot to ask of anyone,
and management is no better here
than anywhere else.
There is always an overlooked water cooler,
a shady spot, a guard who'd rather play cards
than torment you.

Agony is a job.
You put in your time,
make someone look good to his boss
and everyone's life is easier.

The flames just now have a playful quality,
yellows and bright oranges
are the most beautiful of colors.


2001 Mark Giffin