When Hemingway finally dropped off the twig,
his carcass wrecked by drink and other problems,
he stepped into the boat and flipped Charon a tip
and sat in the back with a flask of Cuban rum.
breasts and their naked flanks
would-be actresses twisted and writhed, still
hopeful of a role, apart from the casting couch,
and moans and whimpers followed them.
the flickering dark, was demanding
the fame due to him; Nixon buttonholed the dead,
groaning on the shore, pointing out to them
the journalists who had hunted him from office.
Pale with grief,
Marilyn, dazed and skeletal,
clung to her treacherous President, once her lover,
and begged of him a final, parting smile
as kind and sweet as his initial promises.
Stein – erect,
dressed in black – stood
like a statue at the helm, her eyes fixed on
the bow cutting the black tide, but Hemingway
stared at the wake disappearing into the dark.
-- John Tranter