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Hemingway’s And

And I was trying my damnedest to finish my novel

and none of it was true or strong and the dialogue

was loose and cowardly and shivered like a man

who had never stood in front of a charging bull

and I’m not a man who stands in front of a charging

bull like Romero and Robles and Gonzalez

who stand in front of a charging bull and do not shiver

and I took a drink of the rioja and I went into the city

and I took a woman of such beauty that I couldn’t

bring myself to have her or her me and I wandered

out into the night which is the best time to wander

and I couldn’t stop shivering and it had nothing

to do with the cold, if a man shivers he is not a man,

and I found myself looking for another woman

and I saw a woman of such pure beauty I forgot

all the women I’d ever been with, though all of them

had the pure beauty and back then before the writing

and the words and the weakness of it all

and my weakness for the rioja I could hold a woman,

and I held her and I was holding a charging bull then

and I was carried along by its power, its energy, its honesty,

and we made love and I did not shiver and after we made love

we drank the rioja and ate the good ham and the good cheese

and later we made love again and drank more

of the rioja, which was better after the love making

and I wasn’t so drunk, and we ate more of the good ham

but not the good cheese and before I left her naked on the bed

I looked at her naked on the bed and her skin

was like the good olives I’d eaten with Romero or Robles

or Gonzalez, I can’t remember which of them

I ate the good olives with though it doesn’t matter as all of them

have the strength to stand in front of a charging bull

and it would be good to eat the good olives with any of them

though I only have just enough of the strength to make love

to a woman with the pure beauty, and I left her naked

on the bed and went out again into the city and the cold

and when I was home I had more of the rioja

though it was not so good to drink rioja alone,

and I was drunk then and I took my novel and tore it

into pieces and yes I shivered but it was a good shivering

and my novel tore easily because it was weak

and wanted to be torn and I did what it wanted

and when I sat down again to write I went at the words

like a man who stands in front of a charging bull

and does not shiver, I went at it like Romero

and Robles and Gonzalez who do not shiver

and when it was done I saw it naked and beautiful

and I did not leave or shiver or take more of the rioja.

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About michaeleganpoetry

Liverpool based poet and editor. I have had four pamphlets of poetry published, most recently After Stikklestad (Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2010). Penned in the Margins published my first collection, Steak & Stations, in 2010.

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