Canto

Posted on June 7, 2010 by Amy Lenzo

by David Sparenberg

We progressed until we reached the latest rung in the Inferno.  There before us were two seething pits of new made hell, carved like gouged eye sockets in the fearsome, rude desolation of blind punishment.

The first of such was as a lake, thick and deep with blood.  Over this body of violence an angry wind whipped in bursts of crazed fury and waved in rippling obscenities of gurgling cries, gagging groans and ugly screams of pleading agony.  Awash in the blood thick muck, swilling and knotted into fist sized clumps, circulated currencies of all the world—some nations contributing more to the horror, while others less.

Into that reek of rancid death and death-made profits were condemned the souls of those who gained in life from crimes against humanity.  And while these profiteers of genocide and war had been plunked down here to suffer consequence of avarice and injustice by perpetual drowning, the common outcry of these ensanguined pirates was ego: “My life!  My life!  Give back my life!”

Near beside that fetid mess ranged the wound of the second sink hole, a noxious pool of black and percolating oil, inexhaustibly releasing methane bubbles in a foul and toxic stench with spewed out tar-balls ridding the surface of the crude miasma.

Plunged head first into their viscid and suffocating bath, we watched the black rain of souls who in life betrayed and schemed and spread about in global contagions wide deathless deaths, committing crimes against creation.  Even those who, bloated with arrogance and selfish greed—as if they mattered more than all life forms else—raped, poisoned and threatened earth herself, dispensing the cancerous tumors of engineered epidemics, and extinctions.

There looking, I felt ashamed to be counted one of so malign a species, as my soul in shuddering pondered: Why have we waited for damnation, when it stood always within our common power to exact justice before our common danger?  (For year by year, myself and others out around the living sphere observed in trepidation how less and less of hell stayed hid beyond the grave, and more of hell was now and here.)

Thus, as I brooded on these heavy thoughts, the air before our horde congealed as if to glass.  The glass, by smut and gloom grew dark, as if a sort of mirror.  And in that horrid glass-reflective, my guide, myself, and others gathered at our sides, beheld ourselves for what we are—the latest demons of this place.  Our clothes and skins on fire, our hairs in flames, the space above us weeping ashes, the space below us strewn with filth—and all because we held indifference precious, more valued than the earth herself.

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