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.