Monday, July 23, 2012

July 21, 2005

If Ernest Hemingway
were not dead
but instead a vagrant
at Justin Herman Plaza
he’d be wearing a dirty red shirt
and filthy jeans
a fishing cap
and scowls for his bench mate
(who bears a striking resemblance to Lionel Moise
and talks like William Faulkner
about the dope boys
and city hall cops
all bought off)
and he wouldn’t even have
2 bits
from Rexroth in his pocket
for spite or spit
as he sits around the varied corners
down the streets
from City Lights and porn shops
beside financial districts
on his cheap straight pipe
and bad tobacco

but he doesn’t have a Bloody Mary
on this sunny afternoon
still undreamt from somewhere else,

and this San Francisco
not of Cuba
is instead a hangover
writ by London and his Barleycorn
from parks and too much sitting

if he didn't have
this ample hesitation
and a risk
of growing older
this personal tragedy
tangled in his unkempt beard
if he were not
unhid from sight
and hurting like hell
like an immoral problem
or a strangled pigeon
if he were not
a last mismanaged panacea
of terrible depression
and he sat here
in the artist’s reward

his motion
might be mistaken
for action
but not defeat
by the world
but not stronger

might quote Bukowski
“It takes special talent to be a drunk.
It takes endurance. Endurance is more important
than truth.”
might quote himself
“Always do sober
what you said you’d do

If Hemingway were not dead
he’d be here chasing pigeons
in Justin Herman Plaza
throwing his cap
with a deadly aim
and cursing with his little words


  1. I believe I may have read this one before (or an earlier version of it?). V. much enjoyed the read again.

    Looks like a cool blog with a lot to peruse!

    janet ("HJ")

  2. Janet! Nice of you to stop by. Yeah, I would have posted this at MUG a few weeks after the date in the title. In this case, I neglected to do some of the formatting (laziness on my part) but it would be pretty close to the original, with maybe a few edits over the years.