Wesley’s Inferno: Canto 5

Canto 5




Catullus put the vehicle in gear

backing up out of our space.

“We’re getting on out of here,


going to another place,”

to witness gluttony and avarice,”

similar sins that we can easily trace


“back to bad-old-fashioned self-centeredness,

the mother lode of all evil.” The whirr

on the screen of the soulless rutting couples’ nakedness


receded in the rearview mirror

as we drove down hell’s rutted road,

the end of my journey seeming no nearer


than it had centuries ago.

We crossed a wooden bridge

beneath which glowed


a cloud of phosphorescent midges

biting and stinging a mass of obesity,

pulsing like amoebae in garbage.


“Here’s where the greedy spend eternity —

Trimalchio, Thackery, Ponzi, Imelda Marcos —

no longer possessing individuality,


“now nothing but an indistinguishable bolus

of inextinguishable desire,

a very different type of lust,


burning toxic like a dumpster fire.”

How much longer, I wondered,

would I be turning, turning in this narrowing gyre?

Wesley’s Inferno, Canto 3


Canto 3


Charon chided Catullus as the cab

pulled into a line labeled LUST.

Waving arms, speaking Latin, babbling,


Catullus flashed credentials. Trust me;

Charon was one ugly dude. Liberace crossed

with Elephant Man, plus a dash of Jackie Gleason,


snot running down his nose, the grossest

shit I’d ever seen. As we rolled onto the one-car ferry,

it occurred to me that here there was no rest,


no coffee breaks, no take five, no reprieves.

The river, appropriately hellish, polluted,

frothing, malodorous, reeking


of industry and death. I recruited

all my strength, closed my eyes, the screech

of machinery assaulting unabated.


I passed out, my sense driven beyond the reach

of enduring. A thunderclap awakened me

after what seemed centuries. “That’ll teach


you,” Catullus, said enigmatically,

apropos of zilch. “When’s the last time

you’ve been to a drive in?” he asked. “See,


bro you, bout to get dipped into some slime,

awful porno, meet punishment for the lustful,

who squandered earth-time


always seeking sex, overdoing it, never fulfilled.”

The ferry approached a dimly lit dock,

An oily humidity had replaced the river’s dank chill.

Wesley’s Inferno, Canto 1




In the second month of my 64th year,

I awakened in an all but abandoned

strip shopping center


where a scrawny hound

limped up and growled

mouth-foaming, rabid.


Suddenly, a screech —  an owl?

The hound turned around,

so I stepped away leaden-legged, slowly


away, inching straight ahead

with great effort, like in a nightmare,

petrified with dread.


Looking up, I noticed the car,

a cab, parked in the shadow

of a dumpster. “Sir! –“


“Shhhh, chill, thyself,” the driver said, “whoa.”

“Let me introduce myself.

I’m pretty sure you know


“The name Catullus. I’m here to help,

to be your guide,

but sushssssssssh, you whelp,


“you’ll awaken the dead

with that loud mouth.

C’mon, man, don’t be scared,


“Hop in. We’ll head south,

tour the hellscape,

the land of the uncouth.”


Click here for Canto 2.