Where’s Waldo of Eternal Damnation

"The Butt Song from Hell," musings on Bosch by Marci Rae Johnson

Where’s Waldo of Eternal Damnation

The Butt Song from Hell

One section of Hieronymus Bosch’s massive triptych, The Garden of Earthly Delights, depicts a hellish chorus singing a song painted on the buttocks of a sinner. -io9

i.

Of course Jesus is there in the garden already looking into the distance at what comes next while he holds, not your hand, but the wrist above, & you look down, trying not to display your boredom, how you’re already tired of the man who sits on his ass all day waiting for the cat to bring him a creature from the pond dreck to roast & eat. He’s looking right at Jesus while you must avert your eyes, grow your hair long & pretend you are happy to be the last in line. You won’t last long despite your best efforts. Seeing the pond from the corner of one eye you can’t wait to muck it all up – massage your body with mud, stain your pale lips with fruit & desire.


ii.

Tips for relieving boredom: Stay naked. Eat a cherry from a bird’s mouth. Cut your hair short. Ride a peach like a boat & sleep in a clam’s shell. Let a bird go. Hug an owl & stand on your head while wearing a strawberry for a dress. Hold a fish like a baby. Poop out a bouquet. Play all day & turn your skin dark with sun & distraction. Let him touch your naked hip, dip you into the clear blue lake & swim like it will never end. 


iii.

Now there’s no sign of Jesus & his pink dress, just a city with all its excess, steel & arrows, the avocado lute & machines that don’t make sense. Be careful little eyes, be careful little ears, Jesus has given up on us. The light no longer comes from the sun & our leaders are cannibalistic fish, use our heads as coffee table books, our bodies for their animal lusts. The song you have written on your ass might be our last chance – the last thing the man strung up on the harp will hear as the knife slides between his ears. & this is our one consolation: at least the scene is intriguing this time. Of the usual smooth grass, the perfectly curved neck of the giraffe & Adam’s shapely rib & thigh there’s no sign. This is what you wanted, finally: the chaos. Freedom. The right & the wrong all in one song.

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