An Ersatz Heaven Then a Genuine Hell, by J. J. Steinfeld
“An Ersatz Heaven Then a Genuine Hell” was first published in Bête Noire (Issue #11, 2013).
Having to choose between madness
and time travel
rearranging the past
or shining up the future
you hesitate, go instead
on an existential expedition
synapses and psyche unmapped
the confusion wasn’t half
as horrifying as expected
you find a contraption
luminous yet makeshift
to save you from everything
when nothing was your destiny
arriving at a market of the meaningless
forgetting choice and contraption
the horrifying taking new forms
redefining salvation and destiny
you ponder and purchase
your way into an ersatz heaven
then a genuine hell.
Canadian writer J. J. Steinfeld lives on Prince Edward Island, where he is patiently waiting for Godot’s arrival and a phone call from Kafka. While waiting, he has published seventeen books, including Disturbing Identities (Stories, Ekstasis Editions), Should the Word Hell Be Capitalized? (Stories, Gaspereau Press), Would You Hide Me? (Stories, Gaspereau Press), Misshapenness (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions), Identity Dreams and Memory Sounds (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions), Madhouses in Heaven, Castles in Hell (Stories, Ekstasis Editions), and An Unauthorized Biography of Being (110 Short Fictions Hovering Between the Absurd and the Existential, Ekstasis Editions).