Canto CCCLXVI

The moon is waxing gibbous, my verse wanes
as I build to my closing, five stress whimper,
tomorrow’s sky will host a round, blank page,

and my work will be done before September
draws the dark across the lunar face
and piddles on the summer’s final embers,

so Dante can stop spinning in his grave.

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Canto XLVI

I wonder if I was to take the hand
of Virgil in these knowing, secular times,
what infernal and woebegotten lands

would we descend to? Where would we find
the hopeless souls that seek their story’s telling,
now hell is just a figment of the mind?

Perhaps he’d guide me through the cracked and failing
infrastructures of this rich island,
the unemployment lines, the jails all filling

with those who left a month ago, old friends
will greet them like it’s a college reunion,
academies in how to reoffend.

And then the next circle, off to Taiwan
to where this touchscreen’s components were made,
assembled in the cleanest of conditions

so that the workers don’t contaminate
the circuits on their endless standing shifts.
Outside the yellow suicide nets sway.

And then to Congo, where bloody conflict
keeps the market price down on coltan
that keeps those wires from filling up the office.

And further on, to lands of drought and famine,
to those whose bodies consume their own stores,
a plane’s flight from our unconsumed food mountains.

None of them spoke, no laments set to verse,
and yet each time I cleared my throat to ask
if this place is the home of Lucifer,

they clutched their throats, rolled up their eyes and laughed.

Canto VI

Back to the basement, dungeon if you will,
the underworld for novices and hacks—
the quasi byrons, preening, on the pull;

The iphone thoughts of hip insomniacs;
the Speaker’s Corner residents to come;
denied requests for CD backing tracks;

the poverty tourists recall the slums
that bolstered their nobility of soul,
their bank account’s bolstered by Dad and Mum.

And reader, I have played each of those roles
they’re ain’t a cliche that I haven’t used—
the urban griot, bigging up the proles,

the fake-kowski laments for girls and booze.
But when I glimpse the upper echelons,
the free wine at the la de da venues

occasionaly breakthroughs of the “unknowns”
that write just like the orthodox elite.
The boys club rules for style are set in stone.

I race back to that basement in Betterton Street,
to welcome in the city gent and wino
for while the Paradiso’s lines are sweet

I get my kicks from reading the Inferno.

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