October 18, 2007

Hemingway, a construction worker

"From such a vantage point a man tends to feel it is not so difficult, after all, to see the world clear and as a whole. Like many another writer, Hemingway did his best work when he felt he was standing on something solid--like an Idaho mountainside, or a sense of conviction.

"Perhaps he found what he came here for, but the odds are huge that he didn't. He was an old, sick, and very troubled man, and the illusion of peace and contentment was not enough for him--not even when his friends came up from Cuba and played bullfight with him in the Tram. So finally, and for what he must have thought the best of reasons, he ended it with a shotgun."

- Hunter S. Thompson, 1964

I know that some of us fondly hold this dream:
Hemingway staring down the Doctor over
Havana cigars and hard liquor
behind the pearly men's club doors.

But our imaginations lie. I've seen Hemingway.
He stands in a northern autumn, hard hat
over his Stetson.

Not standing on a deck, salt-spattered and windblown.
Nor in the savannah, sweat seeping from reticent pores.
Asphalt and falling leaves and the grinding of heavy machines.


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