the infernal hatcheck guy

so I died and went to Hell

(yeah – I know, right?
the second bad thing that happened that night
after pulmonary embolism and cardiac arrest
and a new paramedic who did her best
but was completely exhausted, running late
leading a team that couldn’t wait
to call it
despite her best efforts to stall it
I mean, sure – it was appalling
me up there on the ceiling, calling
but no-one could see or hear me
a disembodied jimmy
shimmying, flickering
doing a disembodied breaststroke
while a bunch of ghostly folk
beckoned unto me from the nozzle
of a ghastly, ectoplasmic funnel
the feeder of a numinous, neonatal tunnel
that anyone’ll
tell you leads up to the light


well – okay – alright

that’s it

I’ve died and there’s nothing I can do about it
I’ve been fatally out-manoeuvred
I put my hands up and let myself get hoovered

I have to say it was an exhilarating flight
like a vacuumed penny rattling up to the light
I was pretty excited alright
dreaming of all the heavenly crowds
waiting for me up in the clouds
the eternal benefits I’d be allowed
the syncopated trumpet parts
jamming with the other perps and harps
play dates with angels
endless cheese and wine on waitered tables

but uh-oh
whaddya know
Gabriel said no

I said check your list
I insist
I fundamentally do not believe I’ve been missed
You’re an atheist?
he said
nodding his head
in a saintly but faintly patronising kinda way
like he knew exactly what I was gonna say
before I said it

Yeah, I said, but I don’t regret it / I’ve never believed in a vengeful monotheistic deity / but more in a freely loving kinda spontaneity / I mean – how can someone be like ‘I’m all about the love’ / then get the hump and give you the shove / into a lake of eternal fire / just because you say your love’s not for hire? / that sounds more like blackmail / or a dodgy kinda fan mail /
Love like a shadow flies when substance love pursues;
Pursuing that that flies, and flying what pursues.

I’m confused
said Gabriel, stroking his beard
don’t blame me, I just work here
them’s the rules – I don’t make ‘em
I only deal with the ones who break ‘em
So…I’m afraid you’re not down for entry
he said, annoyingly gently
humming, flipping through his list
with a casually ethereal flick of the wrist
(he had a few problems as arbiter of the sky
but one of them obviously wasn’t RSI)

No / I’m sorry – down you go / he said

I flipped on my head
and down I sped

turns out – Hell looks exactly like Heaven
even having
the same kinda pearly gates
but from some cheaper, bargain basement affiliate
hanging off their hinges
skulls and shit on the fringes
a scattering of tarot cards and syringes
and instead of Gabriel standing by
Donald Trump as a hatcheck guy
leaning on his counter like a lectern
watching clips of himself on a projector
his mouth in a pout
his wig in flames that could never go out
‘you like cucumbers?’ he asked as he took my hat
‘O-kay’ I said ‘Let me get back to you on that’

3 thoughts on “the infernal hatcheck guy

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