Sunday, April 16, 2006

A rewrite of the Hemingway draft


A Poem In The Modern Style (rewrite)

Hemingway's passage about men drinking together on the eve of battle
during The Spanish Civil War describes two men comparing pistols.

The length of the barrels, the size of the bullets.
Ah, yes, the important things.

This is always taught in college as a discussion of dick sizes. Oh, sorry
a macho discussion of phallic symbols, penis envy among real men.

This literary interpretation is glaringly wrong, and I have always wanted
to write this wrong.

The Professors of English Lit who light our precious children mostly don't
know of war. I do know of war.

Hemingway had experience, an ear for dialogue an eye for the color of stress,
for the things men say when they go to kill other men.

It is good to drink and get blind before battle but everyone mist know who has which
weapon when the dying starts.

Larger bullets and longer barrels mean death from greater ranges and better chances
of killing quick up close.

Those of us who are better killers will take guns and bullets and will know
from the muzzle length, from the bullet size, the killing abilities of your choices.

I know that you will die, and after dirt paintings of your blood harden with the sun,
I will take your bullets and use them, killing others with your gift.

When Hemingway meant phallic, there were women in the picture.

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