Friday, June 12, 2009

New Poem

Hemingway at Key West

In the morning sun, he is lime green

under the big banyan tree off the veranda.

In the papers, the world sings of him;

they love large men of large deeds;

it is no different here.

He eyes the six-toed cats

that mill around him absently;

he loves them, every one.

They steal along the porch,

curl about his ankles,

lick their paws assiduously.

The lizards keep to the rooftops

and the trees.

He drifts naked to the pool

she had installed while he was gone

shooting pigeons with the men on Key Largo,

fishing off the Dry Tortugas.

"Take my last two cents, why don't you?"

he boomed as he threw down the pennies

that lodged there in the wet concrete

to remind her again and again

to honor him and be more frugal.

Fingers of Spanish moss hang

limp in muscular branches.

Soothing the wounds

of body and mind

he slides under the water, counting,

Italy, Paris, Spain, Africa;

a big marlin tugs at his mind.

In the thick afternoon,

bottle of gin in hand,

he climbs to his lion's lair

above the pool house,

draws the rope bridge in behind himself,

reads what the columns say of him today,

"hero," "coward," "man's man,"

"the bravest man I ever met," said one,

"blustering blowhard

trailing women in his wake."

He paces, leopard to zebra skin and back,

trophies out of Africa;

the pain won't let him sit.

Now and then he stands cat still

staring to the future;

gin eyes tinged of shotgun shells,

he pens a word or two.

1 comment:

stevec said...

Joe, excellent piece. I know very little about "Hem" but your poem paints with great insight.