Nathan's Laserium: What Hell Is

If you only know me from this site I realize you might not know very much about me at all. So it might surprise you that I am a coal miner. Heavy equipment operator in a small open pit operation. We mine metallurgical coal, that is, the stuff they use to coke steel. Been doing this since I was 18, though not continuously. Off and on, but for the past ten years that's what I've been busy doing. This might change very shortly, met coal markets are slumping and a whole bunch of coal mines are shutting down. My company announced this week they are cutting 600 jobs globally, though what the distribution of those losses will be, and whether they will affect me personally, are, at the moment, unclear. Either way, life goes on. If I do get laid off, I will undoubtedly have something to say about that, but in the meantime, please enjoy this poem I wrote once that pretty much encapsulates what it's like to work where I work. Thanks! 

(Originally appeared April 4, 2010 on my blog, Pooing in the Woods)


What Hell Is

Preacher says

Hell is sulfur and brimstone

a lake of fire

the absence of god

but he's full of shit

because I know

hell is a pit

gouged from the side of a mountain

carved, torn and bombed from solid rock

where giant machines bigger than dinosaurs

spit diesel fumes and piss hydraulic fluid

the only devils are dust devils made of coal

from that goddamned wind that never stops

we curse it hard enough to make a demon blush

when you're out there all night

and you find yourself knocked to the ground

watching your own blood drip onto the mud

you think

that preacher was right about one thing

there ain't no god here

but hell isn't red

Hell is black

- Nathan Waddell