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On Thinking About Hell

Here’s another poem from Bertolt Brecht, written during his exile in the City of Angels.

On Thinking About Hell

On thinking about Hell, I gather my brother Shelley found it was a place much like the city of London. I who live in Los Angeles and not in London find, on thinking about Hell, that it must be still more like Los Angeles.

In Hell too there are, I’ve no doubt, these luxuriant gardens with flowers as big as trees, which of course wither unhesitantly if not nourished with very expensive water. And fruit markets with great heaps of fruit, albeit having neither smell nor taste. And endless processions of cars lighter than their own shadows, faster than mad thoughts, gleaming vehicles in which jolly-looking people come from nowhere and are nowhere bound. And houses, built for happy people, therefore standing empty even when lived in.

The houses of Hell, too, are not all ugly. But the fear of being thrown on the street wears down the inhabitants of the villas no less than the inhabitants of the shanty towns.

Published in zettel