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The Burning Hell

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The Burning Hell

Give Up

In the stacks of the public library I searched for something I was missing
I went to find number 92 in the Dewey Decimal System
That's the secret code for biographies of the famous and the infamous
From Amelia E to Alexander the G to Mister Christopher Columbus

But I was not after tales of pilots, kings or genocidal sailors
Rather the story of a strange American author and one-time whaler
Herman M, that's him, the beardy bard who brought us Moby-Dick
I always liked that book of his and I wanted to learn his trick

Well I discovered Mr. Melville died a destitute romantic
Despite his tales of maritime adventure in the Pacific and Atlantic
He searched his whole lifetime for a symbolic kind of whale of his own
And died with no answers, half-crazy and more or less alone

My fiction ambitions took a hit with that bit of information
I mean everybody has their own symbolic cetacean
But whales are weighty and some become allegorical albatrosses
So I threw away my harpoon and cut my library card and my losses

I gave up! It was time
I gave up: it's no crime
I said to myself that what I've got is good enough
I gave up, I gave up.

One hot August afternoon I was taking customer calls in my cubicle
Doing my job dealing with disputes that people found disputable
The ringer rang, I picked up and heard a lady on the line
She said meet me in the parking lot downstairs tomorrow at nine

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She hung up before I answered, I sat there staring at the phone
There had been something perplexingly persuasive in her tone
And so it was the next morning found me lurking in the lot
She was leaning on a pillar like in a thriller with a predictable plot

Her pantsuit was as black as the feet of an ancient wandering mystic
Her lips looked made of metal, but it was just silver lipstick
Wordlessly she handed me a package wrapped in brown
Her pumps should have clicked as she departed but they didn't make a sound

Now you're wondering what was in the package and trust me I was too
It could be poison or bombs or subversive literature for all I knew
But you could measure my pleasure with the very smallest measuring cup
It was a framed poster of a kitten saying 'never give up'

So I gave up! what else could I do
I gave up: so would you
I mean who doesn't like kittens, but enough is enough
I gave up, I gave up.

So though I know in our culture it basically boils down to blasphemy
I've had it with the power of positive thinking and the tyranny of tenacity
I can't live with this stick-to-it-iveness dependent on endless achievement
I'd rather relax and casually chant a mantra I really believe in:

I give up all of the time
I give up and I'm doing fine
Because I've got to be going when the going gets tough