A HELL OF A CHOICE

But what if Heaven operates
like a restaurant, closed
each Monday, so you had
better die on Sunday, but
that doesn’t work because
God is resting and there
is no getting in on the sabbath.

That leaves you five days
from which to choose
to die, but God also is
the ultimate physician,
so Wednesdays the office
is closed, so that day
is out unless you can
arrange to die on a golf course.

Given the limitations
it is probably best
to become a Tibetan
Buddhist, do your stint
in the Bardo and be
reincarnated, hopefully
as a house cat, that
is the next best thing to heaven.

First Published in Half Hour to Kill, August 2022
https://halfhourtokill.com/home/a-hell-of-a-choice-by-louis-faber

OH, HELL

You say that I am an apostate,
hell bent, hell bound, soon to meet
the hell hound awaiting my arrival.

You have condemned me for thoughts
that deviate from your own, you
are the guardians of the Word, you say,

although whose words you guard is ever
harder and harder to discern, certainly
not those of He who died for saying them.

You say heaven is reserved to you
and those who merit being your apostles
and those who fail must be condemned.

Yet Cerberus understands well,
and you will be surprised when he
greets you at the hell gates of your heaven.

A PRAYER

Last night, as I sat poised
on the edge of sleep, I asked
God for continued blessings,
for I have been blessed more
than I likely deserve.

I heard Her reply that I
would always have Her love,
on earth and heaven, and I
knew my request, selfish
for certain, had been answered.

But now I wonder if it was
truly She or your voice I heard
in that moment, but I know
which voice would not matter
for you are the blessing I sought.

FORGOTTEN SOULS

From the heart of the inferno
Dante and Lucifer grow bored
waiting, waiting for the ferry
while Charon stops for lunch
yet again at a Greek diner
in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen.
They take up a game of catch
tossing Molotov cocktails,
raining fire onto the brimstone,
setting the Styx ablaze.
Each knows this is not necessary,
for necessity is a creature
of heaven and there is no room
for the extraneous here
in the realm of forgotten souls.
We watch from deep within
a nightmare of our darkest
memories, certain that heaven
must await us, or purgatory
if that is how our fate
is to finally be written.
The angels dance on the ceiling
waiting for the precise moment
to break Morpheus’ grasp
and drag us back to our reality,
to continue our dance
between heaven and hell.

First published in Fresh Words Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 3, June 2022
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1G9eVgBt1ZS1syN9RruNQLzt7-JVq04sY/view

IF ONLY

If there were truly justice
at least of the poetic sort
perhaps Van Gogh could
have been born 75 years
earlier, and in Vienna
not Holland, so that when
he decided to be rid
of an ear he could have
offered it to Beethoven
neither of his working
in his later years. And
if a poet could arrange
time travel using his license
then he could just as easily
have made the ear work
for Beethoven. But
on second thought,
heaven knows what
the mighty Ninth Symphony
might have sounded like
if Beethoven had to listen
constantly to the critics.

HEAVEN CAN WAIT

A Rabbi once told me that
if you want to get to heaven,
something Jews don’t believe in,
you must atone to those you
have harmed, or injured
before you die.

I’ve started making a list,
and it feels like I am in
some wierd version of
High Fidelity, but mine
is more than a top five.

I’ve made a few efforts,
some accepted, some not,
but I have come to realize
that if I don’t believe in heaven
and I was a lawyer for years,
there is no way I am
getting in, atoning or not.

WAITING FOR HEAVEN TO CALL

He says he is waiting patiently
for the arrival of heaven on earth.

He is not sure what that will be like
and the descriptions he has seen
are too fantastical to be believed,
all clouds and angels and music

He is hoping the things he loves
most will be available in heaven,
a good Alfredo sauce and German
chocolate cake, for two, but
heaven should be Starbucks-free,
since he will be able to drink
espresso at any hour, for you have
no need of sleep in heaven.

Until that moment comes, he will
sit for hours in the neighborhood
Starbucks because of its free wifi
and search for the best top ten
lists of ways to avoid hell and where
you can get wifi and
a good decaf espresso.

HEAVEN, UTAH

We would sit around the small park
as evening made a hasty retreat
to somewhere, anywhere more lively
than Salt Lake City in the heart of summer.

We’d pass a jug of whatever was
cheapest at the state package store,
usuall Gallo this or that, and roll joints
which made their way around our circle.

The cops would drive by every once
in a while, and wave, and we’d
politely wave back and yell thanks
which brought a smile as they drove off.

In Salt Lake City, in 1969, there was
no drug problem, and you only drank
in private, or smirked at those who did
in this boring little corner of Mormon heaven.

POETS GATHER

One deep and abiding beauty of dreams
is that it is entirely logical for
Marina Tsvetaeva to be engaged
In an animated discussion with
Corso and Ginsberg where none will
acknowledge that the world they
wrote and imagined is a total mess.

Over in the corner, Mandelstam and
Reznikoff have agreed that for eternity
every game of chess they play will
result in a stalemate, if only
to drive Brodsky to distraction, that
and having Osip say he prefers
Reznikoff’s free verse translations
to Brodsky’s ponderous rhymes.

I am looking forward to a cup
of espresso with Sylvia Plath, but she
says here she only drinks single malt
Scotch until it’s at least 5 P.M.