Hemingway wasn’t Hemingway until he was Hemingway…

This is what I want to say when you ask me.

and there he sits. the old man alone. late in inky

blackness, the light shrunken to a stale pool of

defiant solidity nightbirds mock. he cannot hear

the barrage of inanity; his internal temperature

is too high for that, the war raging behind his

weary skin too fraught with flames and shrapnel,

the screams of the dying thoughts he had no time

to capture. what does it do, you ask. what does it

even do?

as if entering the world in this way was a process

mechanical in nature, understandable and concrete.

the dialect one spoken by all, the dialectic a puzzle

worth three hours, a key that fits many doors, a clock

full of sentimentality and beauty whether it functions

or not. as if I had something to give you, wrapped in

the aura of a far-off land or some fleshy mystery.

instead of meaning and purpose we have a misery

both comfortable and complacent in its recurrence,

the agreement made that we would not step out of

our space. a thing unspoken, the better part of an

evil, social wisdom. pull up hard on that strap.

what can I say. pointing to my own efforts does nothing

they are few and silent. would you fail your children, or

someone else’s? remaining silent we know, speaking out

we do not. should you risk it all on the dream of burning

wings, an apartment overlooking the Seine with its boats

a father’s furrowed brows?

how to begin. you’ve already done it. the question itself an

open door your hand upon the frame. some things cannot be

avoided. the story of the man in the cafe is all our stories, the

being and unbeing at once, the metastasized mythos we carry

around like the heart we earned on our way home. it is yours

already, like your name.

Published by cbrannonwatts

teacher and writer

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