On Being Informed Fags Go to Hell

My handbasket must be ready

by now, parked somewhere near

a fiery maw. Surely, the dead

musicians are all there, laughing

about arm-length spoons. Hold it

on the bottom, you fucking idiot, barks

Freddie Mercury. All those pagans

must be relieved to laze about,

unhunted by the desert god. It’s not

so bad. It is, after all, the only place

you’ll never hear a sermon. No one

will wear those torturous denim

dresses stitched with Noah’s ark.

I never wanted paradise, which I

imagine as a bleach-white room

crammed with grinning host forever

singing hymns, a party that goes on

too long, even when the guests

are weary, the cheese board

has gone warm, and everyone is sick

to death of holding in their farts

all day. Pleasure is an impermanent

state–unless you have persistent

genital arousal disorder, the sufferers

of which must endure orgasm

after orgasm, even while driving

or eating sushi. I wonder if people

in heaven are forced to smile

or punished when they don’t. Or is it

like the Magic Kingdom, actors

paid to trot about, disguised as

loved ones, beaming warmth? Anyway,

I’ll be in hell, you tell me, though

I’ve yet to understand the basket,

which must surely plummet down

a chasm. A well, perhaps. Funny,

it’s almost like a greeting card:

Here in hell. Hope you’re well.


Robert Campbell is a queer poet living and writing in rural Kentucky. He is the author of the chapbooks Monster Colloquia (Hellbox publications, 2020) and In the Herald of Improbable Misfortunes (Etchings Press, 2018). His poems have appeared in The Adroit Journal, Tupelo Quarterly, Columbia Poetry Review, Nashville Review, Barrow Street, and many other journals. Read more about him at robertjcampbell.wordpress.com