Purgatory in Modern Terms

by Richard Fein

Even on the road to hell I still managed to get lost.
I can’t even go to hell without screwing up.
And I’m a guy,
and everyone knows this thing guys have about asking for directions.
I don’t know where the hell I am or how I got here
and have utterly lost track of where to take my next step.
I don’t want to find myself by the front gate of that other place,
heaven forbid.
It’s like that time I was on the subway
going between the Bronx Zoo and Coney Island Astroland
not knowing for sure whether
I wanted to walk among beasts or sail the Skyride above the crowd.
So I just went back and forth for hours.
It’s just like that now,
except here there’s no conductor to finally throw me off the train.
I know where I belong, I think,
and I know the way there, but maybe not.
A line is between two points, but a circle?
That’s where I find myself,
going round and round with no points to point to,
forever and a day getting more and more dizzy
pointless, before- now-and-forever, all pointless,
just like it was when my lungs breathed and my heart thumped.

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