Tag Archive | Hell



Today I’ve been thinking about my brother, who died by his own hand, some 25 years ago. He shot himself in the mouth. He was young. Life was full ahead of him if only he could have waited for worthy moments to come his way. Like me, he was an impulsive and impatient fellow, filled with miseries of his own making. Expecting more and terribly disappointed when his life didn’t conform to his imaginings. Calm and dispassionate in his demeanor. Consumed in his heart with jealousy for a rewarding life that never matched his actual existence.

Especially when we are young, we make oh, so many mistakes. We find it hard to justify the waiting. We demand a quick and logical, sequential pattern to our coming of age. We don’t understand that nature doesn’t march forward in straight, perfect lines. Often we are forced to step back or to the side and start again. The agony can be palpable.

“She walked closer to the flames.

I don’t have God. I don’t pray to the blue lights, or the cigarette gods, or the god of good fortune, or even to the goddess Persephone who raises the cruel spring.

It isn’t Persephone’s fault the spring brings chaos and disharmony. She ate three of Hades’ pomegranate seeds – big deal. That’s no reason to bind her to hell. That’s no reason to give up on her. Hades is the mean one, the gross and disgusting pig of an underworld god. Persephone isn’t much more than a child, Hades, though she looks adult. She’s just a girl, Hades. Leave Persephone be.

Glory moved to a spot where the sparks flew straight out into the night air. She raised her hand to them, and let them hit her fingers. She felt tingles but no pain.”

Not every young adult experiences the kind of melancholy expressed in PERSEPHONE IN HELL. Not every young person destroys himself in a fit of despair. But some do. My memories live with me. The agony is palpable.



Finding Fury


What is hell but the fury in me? The hatred that can explode without warning. That self-immolation, that despicable, vile loathing that imprints an image into my cerebral cortex. I am not good enough, insists the graven image, that revolting torture carved on my flesh. I will always be less than I desire. Never happy. Unworthy. I turn to golden calves for wanton relief. But the truth is there for the remembering. It can cut me down at the knees. Its relentless driven message – directed, precise. It permits no escapes. I am useless. I am a waste of a human being, a waste of a living being. Let me descend into my own rot, make my appalling mistakes. Let the faults speak as loudly as my tattooed skin shrieks foul to a sick universe. This hell, this fury, this determined rip, this unyielding tear. This afflicted place.

The Mistake
Soak your pride in acid rain
Clip past the quick
Silence sentiment
Scrape the evidence from your fingertips
Drown uniqueness in categorical denial
Burn the prints
Gut a jealous turn
Cut and let fall your naiveté
Down, down
Till the budding branches
And all hell is happy

Persephone in Hell: a novel by C.F. Joyce

Persephone in Hell by C.F. Joyce, Westport River Publishing August 2014. Find her on amazon. com.Only $2.99 for one of the best e-reads of your life. Or buy it in print paperback for only $14.95 @ PERSEPHONE IN HELL.

Troubled teenage Glory imagines herself a mighty queen, but discovers in her 1968 Massachusetts town that even queens have to watch their heads as savages await. Glory and her family move from Boston city life to rural cow country where people have heard of Jews but never seen a real one. A coming of age tale of a girl who doesn’t understand why her sister won’t talk to her and even Mother Nature seems out to get her. She cries out to the gods for help. But nobody sees her terrible self inflicted wounds. No one is paying attention. In this coming of age debut novel, C.F. Joyce explores the roles that family histories, clashing cultures, and dysfunctions play in the life of a young girl.


Under the working title “Memories of Glory”, the novel won a HarperCollins Top 5 Gold Medal award. Here are some of the reviewer’s comments:

“It is very difficult to approach a ‘coming of age’ story, and write in such a way as to not appear clichéd, but [the author] has made a remarkably strong case. In ‘Memories of Glory’, the journey from childhood to adulthood is dealt with in a unique way; the six children in Glory’s family are used to explore various different facets of growing up. The reader is also able to understand more about the pasts of Glory’s parents and their families, allowing adult tensions to be explored too. A compelling feminist take on life dominates, but the feelings of the important men in Glory’s life are not left uncovered. The memories she recalls do not depict a clear straightforward story, rather each is a part of a puzzle which in the end paints an often brutal but fair conclusion on life…Glory is set up well as a whimsical day-dreamer. She lives in an alter-world, and her intelligence and desire to be elsewhere helps build a strong picture of her imagination. Gradually it becomes clear that the world she fashions for herself is an escape from the harsh life that she has had to lead. As a protagonist she is wonderful; her suffering is a result of both her surroundings and of universal teenage trauma: I found her hugely accessible…The use of dialogue, and the focus on different characters in each recollection, allows the reader to build a strong concept of each family member, and their relationships with one another. This is a vibrant read, and no connection is left unexplored. Friendship, as well as sibling rivalry, is beautifully drawn out…The author clearly has a gift for wit and charm, illustrated in the passage where the family go blueberry picking…The role of “Mother Nature”, of fate and fortune, is an interesting theme and one that gives an interesting dimension to the family’s attitude.”