Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Fireman in Hell

“Didn’t you
used to write poetry?

I mean,
it wasn’t very good
but still you cranked them out
like pretentious sausages.

What happened?

Now, you look like
a confused fog,
trying to keep smoldering
embers from sparking
into wildfires.

Your sleep isn’t restful.
Your worship isn’t comforting.
Your sunshine is gray.

You’re too old
to flail about
with your
angry feathers blazing
trying to rouse the world
from its sleep.

Now you’re just
a sputtering
in his own
flop sweat.”

Yeah, I used to write poetry.

I’m a fireman
assigned to
the hottest borough
of Hell

and when
I’m off the clock
I pace in
counterclockwise circles
around my kitchen table
in a vain attempt
to turn back time.

I pace
inside my house,
with lights out
and shades down,
because it would
scare the community
to see their fireman
in the street.


  1. The sacrifices made by those who fight to protect the safety of the "greater good" can haunt the one who made the sacrifice forever... This makes me think of service members having to live with the horrors of what happens in war. And, of course, it makes me think of women and men who had to make difficult choices in life, and then had to live with the consequences... even the very unfair ones. Even after they are done, they still do what they can to protect...

    This is sad... and hope-filled at the same time.

  2. Interesting. My favorite stanza is:

    "I mean,
    it wasn’t very good
    but still you cranked them out
    like pretentious sausages."

    I'm not sure why I like this stanza. Poetry is so subjective -- who's to say someone else's poetry is pretentious sausage -- unless that's ones opinion, I suppose.

  3. Fresh and original - touching too, I found...We've all been there!!

  4. It would have been so much better if he had continued to write poetry... maybe that's what contempt makes us... firemen in hell.

  5. in some many ways, I find myself, being described here, and the daily struggle, with mental health. Want to reach out, offer a gentle hug, with a comforting shoulder, to cry upon, while I listen to your nightmares that plague, my dear sensitive firefighter.

  6. Beautifully poignant..!

  7. Good or bad, nothing wrong with continuing to write if it helps him ~ I want to turn the clock back too, and the imagery of a fireman in hell is just too hot to handle, smiles ~

  8. Even hell needs good poetry. I love," angry feathers blazing, trying to rouse the world from its sleep."

  9. I feel like all of us go through these times. Some say the best way to get over it is to just sit and do it.

  10. Pacing counterclockwise to turn back time--that's one of the coolest images that have entered my brain in a while. And yes, you're still writing poetry!

  11. An eerie, melancholy poem. Beautiful. Makes me wonder, 'though: What does a poetic fireman do exactly, in hell, I mean?

    1. Tends his poetic pyre? Just a guess!

  12. Anonymous5:57 PM

    from pretentious sausages to counterclockwise circles to weeping much to like here!

  13. from pretentious sausages to counterclockwise circles to weeping firemen much to like here!

  14. Dude, you need to get your mirror fixed. There is a poet in there! Your poetic meander is the work of genius, or madness (or geness?) No matter, the Mosk makes poetry, no bones about it!

  15. ah....would that we could turn back time by walking counterclockwise around the table........fascinating idea here.

  16. And just today I said to myself, goodness, you used to write poetry! If only I could turn back time by pacing counter clockwise. A fireman in hell puts me in mind of the one armed paper hanger....too many fires to never put out. I liked this poem so much. I enjoyed the wander of this.