The Closing Of The Cells

All Hell is disheveled;
Back home went the sheep.
The field has been leveled;
The Devil, he weeps.

Smells foul and drastic in scope and source
like traffic down the road a half-mile
from a moody stoplight
come coursing in pungent bulges of mass
reeking of men
and charred soles
and barred souls
and missed opportunity.

The Devil comes cursing
(as he's wont to do) through the reeking gas,
jangling keys,
letting the cast-iron master key
slap his wiry shank of a calf,
that slab of bone and goat-pelt
coursing red and wounded—
coming to rest on the rock
behind which Virgil and Dante hid.

Tar in a shallow wave
slips shyly up
to warm the feet of the Prince of Darkness
and collect the most recent tear
to free itself from the trembling lips
that once tested Christ.

In the proximate space hangs a thought,
looking Satan in the eyes and glistening
with the sheen of brutish inevitability,
as a lean she-wolf
eyes a sidetracked fool.
The thought is a capsule.
It lingers in air,
spills out its contents:
powdered memory
threatening once more
to make Hell a place of pure torture.

a child's muddy foot
a long day of play in the strawberry patch
full eyes and a full diaper:
Let this be the scene
as Beelzebub
with a squelch
lifts his stance out of the pitch
and takes off hobbling,
keys still vainly clutched,
toward the imposing Prisons of Dis.

Life imitates Comedy; a laugh track is heard
by the Devil
from the mocking flocks above.

An angel throws down an empty non-alcoholic beer can.
One near miss grazes another.

thunder walls

stepback—stepback! —stay
"Lucky we got the censored version. This is Heaven, after all."
"Look! Look! "
I look down. My friend is pointing.
"He's crawling out from those rocks."


—with those remarks,
the most beautiful angel the Host of Heaven once had
wiped the blood and dribble
& tears from his unkempt beard
wiped the dust from his knees
three times coughed
three times felt his senses attacked
by the airborne metallic grit
that once leaked from the veins
of corrupted cops:
the inhabitants.

The demons had built it with their own hands.
The honored foreman of the project,
head architect of Dis,
coughed and choked on what once was an idea
then a design
then a mighty prison
then air pollution
then a chant rose up
"Con Tra"
then a sound like bleacher stomping
"Pas So"
then the swishy clang of a half-full can of non-alcoholic beer connecting with the head of its target
"Con Tra"
then a whispered recollection of the Memory
"Pas So"
**** **** **** **** ****
**** **** ****! ****
then that.

came upon the Beast in his metacognition
with stomping and hooting—
it came all at once
with the succinct beauty of a mathematical proof
and the sting of a taut leather belt
and the grunting
of a mad ox.

His keys held close to his heart,
the trek continued;
warm flesh and cold iron quarreled for motion:
gray dipoles of intent.

The key said:
"Here, master,
I mean no ill will.
There's good in Hell still!
Reverse that disaster
by locking your cells
as once they had been:
take pride in how men
were once trapped in Your Hell! "

Short-term glory
comes sashaying to a devil
like a hooker from an alley
unraveling the mind
hoisting a beckoning finger
into night's lustful fog.

Dawn finds empty pockets.
A hideous old woman is sprinting across the road.
Satan has a capsule
overflowing with woeful memory
in his throat lodged, and melting.
One finger twirls a key.

bitter crunch of a pill
taste of laboratory, floor cleaner, corrosion
panicked swallow
forehead does a quick throb: a temperature change
rush out for water
better: juice,
better: cola,
bitter: LetitwashawayOhLordOhLetitwashaway
This is Judgment Day


Put a banner up in your office.
Call the demons in for some wine.
Tidy up the torture chamber.
This is Judgment Day

Pace expectantly in your office.
Tell yourself it's time to shine.
Polish speeches, seal up papers.
This is Judgment Day

Imagine the sinners
Here come the sinners!
Fresh from God's wrath
Fresh from rejection on one or both ends
(Who cares how they lost it!)
Get the devils at the ready—
Beasts in pits, thorny vines,
Gulches full of worms and feces,
Coffins ready, cells receptive,
Coals lit, fires burning high—



Waiting stands the Devil, a younger Devil, his feet wide apart on a plateau of his choosing, staring up perplexedly into the snow-white clouds that he understands to be Heaven.
He's never seen Heaven but he knows which end the gates are at, and if the sky is right he can just make out the golden tops of the gates through the translucent wisps on the cloud platform's edge.
Nothing opens.
No screams, no falling spirits, no voices booming condemnation.
The demons have halted.
Most of the sinners stand aghast, red-rimmed eyes turned upward.

There's a spot in the clouds where a brown thing grows
A brown thing falls from a patch in the sky
A little thing fell and it grew as it fell

- ~
blinding light

- -~



That was God, screams Lucifer, the veins in his head bulging,
That was Christ.

An immediate turn of the neck
—of self-induced whiplash—
whirls the body of the Beast around
to see there's no-one there

My demons!
Gone—to shout is useless.
My sinners!
Gone—a light still shines


Glances up
does Beelzebub
Tears are exploding out of his eyes
through his nose
out his sweat glands
Sighs like the grinding of tectonic plates
disturb the twilit mist—

no-one can listen.
All the damned
are rising in a ring
around the one who promised Judgment
tempted Hell with plans of Judgment
and came with Mercy
like a lightning bolt
on a windless winter day.

Every cell in Dis is thrust open
‘til now, as Satan:
weak, exhausted,
crawls upon his belly
like that vicious Eden snake,
keys jangling ‘round his neck.

Here he finds a row
of still-standing cells
besieged by mold;
years of decay
have felled the walls
in parts or wholes;
the gaps could fit a man.

Yet the doors hang,
still intact,
ajar on hinges made to withstand
all the pounding from the inside
from the cops inflamed by irony
and rage
and lack of hope.

I turn to face my friend,
daring to look away from this great sight.
"Shall we sing it once more? "

All Hell is disheveled;
Back home went the sheep.
The field has been leveled;
The Devil, he weeps.

He closes the door of
That crumbling old cell.
All praise to the Lord, and
Good riddance to Hell.

by Noah Smits

Comments (6)

Powerful write, liked this.
I'm glad SOMEBODY figured it out...
You can't create poems that are on par with Ginsberg by using vague, over-emotional phrases-you need to get personal. The idea behind this poem is good, though likely less than genuine; the content of the poem is rubbish.
True... It's not the land its self as a homeland america is still beautiful only the people inside of them need to start taking caring of her better. We have out personal homes that we clean and take care ofdaily, however we share America as our home and we all need to care of.
there are some amazing lines in here... the part about the bull, the liberating the already freed, you speak from a heart that knows struggle, both internally and possibly out. i loved this poem.
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