Wesley’s Inferno, Canto 2

 

 

Canto 2

 

Outside the cab colors swirled,

like a miasmic kaleidoscope,

obscuring the street. The whorl

 

eventually dissipated. A sign. “Abandon all hope,

you poor pathetic bastards.” A guard

nodded to Catullus, unhooked a rope,

 

and we drove on past, through a junkyard

of cars stuck in an epic traffic jam.

“We call this Limbo Boulevard,”

 

Catullus said. “Hollow men and women stranded;

You know the Eliot poem. These nobodies

In life never took a stand, didn’t

 

vote, etc., Not bone fide sleazes,

per se, so this is their punishment.

“Can they one day cop a plea?”

 

I asked. “Make atonement?”

“Naw, but this ain’t nothing,

not having no movement.

 

“What you bout to see on the other side will wring

your heart, if you think this here is hell.

Like, I said, tain’t nothing.”

 

Looking in the cars it was hard to tell

any of the passengers apart. We drove past,

swerved left, through a dell

 

towards the car ferry, the last

stop in Limbo. We took our place in the line

of cars. Across the river lightening flashed.

 

You can read/listen to “Canto 1” here.

 

8 thoughts on “Wesley’s Inferno, Canto 2

  1. And Louie the King said let me think for a minute son

    And he said yes I think it can be easily done

    Just take everything down to Highway 61

  2. Wesley, I am having too much fun in my 12th grade English classroom. I am doing a PBL unit with the following guiding question: Why did the Swedish Academy choose Bob Dylan, a musician, for the 2016 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature? What specific song(s) were most influential on the Academy’s decision? I am using a bracket structure using 67 Dylan songs. I have 4 learning outcomes for the winners of each bracket as the students are tasked with advancing a song. For example. persuasive PowerPoint, dramatic representation, symbolic representation through art, Town Hall Meeting. Every class period during this first stage, I get to listen to two Dylan songs and hear arguments from the Presenters and class regarding the merits of each song. “Highway 61 Revisited” went last week. Anyway, I think about you a lot, having been influenced by some of the same sources including Black Jack Ashley, Dylan, etc. Have a great day teaching and think about me listening to Dylan in my Guatemalan classroom!

    Cheers!

    • Russell, wow, how cool, and what a valuable experience for the students! I’m wrestling with my choices now. I think I’d go with “It’s Alright Ma” and “Señor,” a lyric (sort of) and a narrative. I don’t know if you’ve seen this post, but check out my treatment of Señor if you haven’t: https://wlm3.com/2013/12/14/rag-and-bone-shop/ Anyway, brother, keep up the good work and keep in touch. Best, Wesley

  3. Great power point as well. You think Dylan is alluding to “Prufrock” at the end? “Beneath the windows of the sea/where lovely mermaids float.”

  4. Pingback: Wesley’s Inferno, Canto 1 – You Do Hoodoo?

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