Merry Christmas, Mr. Hemingway

This poem was originally published and featured by Rick Lupert in the Poetry Superhighway website and then consequently in my second book, LONG. I try to repost and reprint the poem every year at around this time. Enjoy. – Angel Uriel Perales

Merry Christmas, Mr. Hemingway

So the writer steps
out unto the curb
to kindle a lung
in the city of lights,

not Paris, never Paris,

just another urban vanity
in the endless series of
conscious similarities.

Well, maybe Paris
seen in the dull sheen
of seasonal gloom,

handmade toys and
silken scarves,

festive boughs
sagging over
speckled streets of
honking cars,

a fine gray mist
envelops eyesight,

pantyhose perception,

fogged-up lenses
suffocate a viscid
postcard vision

of electric Christmas
trees glimmering and
sparkling on windowsills
and rooftops like numerous
sprinkled tiny Eiffel towers.

Wait,
don’t believe,
maybe this Paris
is my Paris or yours

truly, the sidewalks
endure the same scars
of the ragged rabble,

dust the same soot
from crumbling chimneys.

Incinerated carbon residue
settles like dandruff snowfall
over hunched up shoulders,

the ashes to ash of continual living,

the black breath of industrial air,

the unfelt pulse that binds
those faces created for murder
in the banks, the factories,

time squandered gossiping
in restaurants,

machine lust polished
over burnt oil,
opium incense,
flaked rust,

offered by the malicious
masochistic Magi.

Fidget on the corner and
smoke a lung, Mr. Hemingway,

the men of action dance
the flirt of death,

the writer genuflects
the genuine bullfighters and
the women of the Tarantella
flaring a ruffle of skirts and
flashing bandied legs
for the leap of the tarantula
and the snap of the tempting
red cape.

All is memory in the dearth of winter.

Scarce photographs remain:

Poor Julian kicks up his feet
with crazy Zelda,
ornaments hang haphazardly
behind them in their favorite
holiday pose, a full library
to their left.

Celebrating what results to celebrate,

the repose in the eye of the storm,

the stillness between two cataclysms,

sea bass gulping for air
in a mud puddle,
not so much a generation lost as
left stranded by the Gulf Stream
and all things eternal,

the immortal sanguine fisherman
caught deftly by a journalist’s
terse laconic hand,
a tough prose,
an ink and paper rose.

Which will not survive intact,

the young banderilleros thrust
stilettos into the withers of
bleeding knuckles

already usurped in scabs
of criticism and praise,
not what you meant to type at all.

The false nobility
of a fake Nobel summons
you to Ketchum,

true speech waxes profane,
true love fucks pornographic,

Emerson and Thoreau lied to you,
these lights cast from these cities
spill over and transcend into
your sacred mountain,

dragon fire,

a perverse jetliner aurora
streaks across the northern skies,
a tinsel of torment,

even blind Tiresias
gets blinded by the rapidly
encroaching glare,

and the gleeful are dazzled
by this brilliance of ignorant
hope and wish peace on earth

on earth, in Spain,
a horse in Guernica,
Goya’s soldier up a tree in Madrid.

A legitimate measure
of a learned span,
an ambulance in Italy,
first love in Milan

prior to the opal opulence
that book-ends with the whores
and the profiteers of a liberated
Paris, the original city
of continual luminance.

Key West callused fingers
that can no longer write.

A lifetime of priceless
possessions seized
from a finca in Cuba.

Feigned interest in phantom
Nazi submarines
and six-toed felines,
a legacy and myth,

your legend longing
for the deep darkness
dreaded no longer,
disdainfully desired.

Do not fret, Papa Hemingway,
here is my Christmas gift to you-

My pen,
not as agile or nimble as yours,
I cede to you with all
the aplomb of the poetaster,

a homage from the homespun,

when the words dry up,
fade,
and cannot be recalled,

when language,
finally,
becomes my last
treasonous deceiver,

when the vinegar crusts and festers
in the self-inflicted wound

and I laugh at such absurd metaphors,

I will stomp out this cigarette
on my corner of my city beneath
the luster and the splendor awash
in the harsh agonizing grainy
spleen of communal existence,

my accumulated hell of halcyon nights,

I will slouch off towards Idaho,
much sooner than you ever thought.

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About Rumrazor

Just a malcontent surviving in Los Angeles, working the news, writing the poetry, making the films.
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2 Responses to Merry Christmas, Mr. Hemingway

  1. Ariel Marie says:

    I think he would have loved this poem. One of my fave stories and concepts of all time is The Kilamanjaro Device, only I would have taken the leopard, too, back then. I wondered if that was why he loved the cats so much, that leopard. Not long ago, while rereading his auto/biographical details, I suddenly wanted to write something about him. I told a friend I was thinking of calling it after its premise, ‘Hemingway’s Suitcase’ but he shot down the idea so quickly that I abandoned it.

  2. rumrazor says:

    Thanks for mentioning The Kilimanjaro Device. Wanting to read the story led me to an online post of the entire Time Magazine 1965 issue where Bradbury’s story first appeared. I read the whole issue. The article on Peter O’Toole playing Lord Jim was fascinating. Of course, the advertisements were hilarious. Seems like the trend in advertisement during that time was “affordable luxury.” And yes, the “Poor Julian” mentioned in this poem is referenced from Snows of Kilimanjaro. Hemingway was talking about Fitzgerald, thinly veiled. Thanks for catching that.

    I think “Hemingway’s Suitcase” is a wonderful idea. Of course, this is an infamous literary mystery, what happened to Hemingway’s suitcase which Hadley lost on a train platform. Unfortunately though, a novel has already been written with this very premise in mind.

    http://articles.latimes.com/1990-06-08/news/vw-750_1_hemingway-suitcase

    Of course, what you write, Ariel, will be BETTER. Also, I think there is a literary contest where writers send in paragraphs or short stories which may be found in Hemingway’s suitcase. Perhaps you could submit something wonderful to the contest:

    http://www.cambridgeblog.org/2013/11/hemingway-lost-suitcase-contest-results-fb/

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