September 2023

Back to Issue 14

Hemingway in Brisbane

By Phil Brown


Summer here is fine until it isn’t

you tell yourself you love the heat

but that’s not the honest God’s truth

you watch the sunlight blanch the day

and it reminds you of a summer in Spain

but then you recall you don’t want to remember that


it gets white hot here in the middle of the day

and the sun blanches the brain too

saps the will and you tell yourself

to hell with it


you look outside and everything is wilting

the road is hot as Hades

and seems to lead straight to the underworld


you lose interest in food

because it doesn’t taste good now

even the water is warm

coming from the cold tap


and you lost interest in other things too

and that makes you feel

less than you want to feel


later in the day when the sun relents

and slips beyond the end of the street

retiring quietly like an old matador

a breeze rattles the leaves


then the evening star appears

and what a fine sight that is

a good and proper sign that the day is done

as a day should be done

with its honor intact

and that’s a good and decent end to it


I will sleep soon

which is what I want to do

and dream a dream without heat

without war and without even love

and everything that goes with that

because I’m done with it all

for a little while

I’m done with everything today

until tomorrow

When the sun also rises