Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hemingway Stole a Urinal

I haven't posted here for a while.  Since this poem is about Hemingway, and I am an English teacher, I think  I can justify posting this here.  It comes from a story I heard when I was recently in Key West.  It is purportedly true.  

Hemingway Stole a Urinal

Hemingway stole a urinal,
That’s how the story goes.
Hemingway stole a urinal,
While helping move Sloppy Joe’s.

Joe decided to move his bar,
To save a buck a month in rent.
He figured a way to make the move,
Without costing him one red cent.

He closed the bar at two o’clock
(That’s early for Key West)
And offered free booze to everyone
Who honored one request:

Help him move all his stuff,
Half a block to the new location,
And he would make sure that all who helped
Would be rewarded with inebriation.

And so the patrons of the bar,
Picked up every table and chair,
And balanced their drinks as they moved the stuff,
Through the humid Florida air.

In order to get another free drink
They had to back for another load,
And carry it down half a block
To the new site across the road.

Joe opened the bar at nine the next morn
And kept his business in the groove.
But there was at least one accoutrement
That didn’t make the move.

Young Ernest went into the john
To recycle some of Joe’s beer.
And as he stood there he was struck by an urge
To make the urinal disappear.

After all it was only fair,
Reasoned his semi-pickled brain,
After all he’d paid for that urinal
With all the profits he’d sent down the drain.

And he reached out a drunken hand
And tore it from the wall.
Then he left the party
And headed home with his haul.

He put in the front yard
Not caring if he appeared the fool.
He was getting back at his wife,
Who secretly put in a pool.

She tried to to make him take it out,
But she never won that fight.
And so she tried to dress it up,
With a fountain and tiles bright.

And that stolen urinal
Still sits there to this day.
And that’s the tale of the urinal
Stolen by Ernest Hemingway.

©2009-Art Belliveau


Melissa B. said...

Do you think I could get away with teaching this in AP Lit? No, that's right...I teach Lang, so if it's true, I can pass it off as "creative non-fiction," correctamundo?

Art said...

Well, I only have the one source, but I did see the urinal, as described, on a website. That's why I posted a link to a pic of it. It sounds true. Isn't that the best part of a legend?

Feel free to use it. I am always glad to see something I wrote can be useful.

Optimusfish said...

Well I absolutely teach it to my AP students.