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Purgatory Doesn’t Say Do I Stop Or Do I Go

by Gisborne poet Benita H. Kape

(after The Entrance to Purgatory

by Ian Lonie)

Purgatory begins slowly, slowly.

We watch and wait for information

There is Purgatory One:

Then Purgatory Two.

And Spain was Purgatory Three.

Oh Purgatory, Purgatory we

cannot believe this.

Now here from behind a

desk as far as we thought

we could be (but there is

no escape).

Like a wartime announcement

Purgatory within the borders of our

own hills and valleys and cities;

streets and parks, the beaches,

the theatres, the meeting places.

Purgatory knows nothing

about itself; it's having

a pinhead of a ball beyond

all believing.

We too know little about it

Other than it doesn't say do I stop

or do I go? Oh no!

E hoa, it just goes.

It especially hopped on a plane

again and again.

A cruise ship! It's a wet little cruiser.

Shared through droplets: not


Purgatory does not like soap.

Loves you if you smoke.

While we distance with language.

Pleased to metre you on the

footpath or in the supermarket.

At home a wine glass of time

and a game of solitaire