Campbell McGrath

(1962 - / Chicago, Illinois)

Hemingway Dines on Boiled Shrimp and Beer


I'm the original two-hearted brawler.
I gnaw the scrawny heads from prawns,
pummel those mute, translucent crustaceans,
wingless hummingbirds, salt-water spawned.
As the Catalonians do, I eat the eyes at once.
My brawny palms flatten their mainstays.
I pop the shells with my thumbs, then crunch.

Just watch me as I swagger and sprawl,
spice-mad and sated, then dabble in lager
before I go strolling for stronger waters
down to Sloppy Joe's.My stride as I stagger
shivers the islands, my fingers troll a thousand keys.
My appetite shakes the rock of the nation.
The force of my fiction makes the mighty Gulf Stream.

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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  • Silver Star - 8,474 Points Kim Barney (1/10/2015 8:31:00 AM)

    John Evans in his 2006 comment was probably correct. The word in the last line should probably be MICTION instead of FICTION. While I had never seen this poem before, MICTION would make perfect sense. Just look it up in the dictionary. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 14 Points Gillena Cox (1/10/2014 8:28:00 AM)

    this reads like the Caribbean Robber Mas man's chant in his treatise of 'how dread i am' as he walks through the streets blowing his whistle in between his words (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 182 Points Karen Sinclair (1/10/2014 4:18:00 AM)

    I loved his angle and subject matter. Amusing original and managed to make me smile and gag at the same time. I detest (smell-fish) reminds me of an unfair sided spaghetti western and Leigh-on-sea combined (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 616 Points David Mclansky (1/10/2013 5:31:00 AM)

    Despair not Mr C. McGrath
    That you've excited the bully wrath
    Of the mob that eyes with praise
    The poser in his shimmering haze;
    Papa wrote as one two fisted,
    On his genius he insisted;
    Who never got over his mother’s dresses,
    Or her insistence on his blond tresses;
    This manly man became a bore,
    To his wives he became a chore,
    Always ready with a punch
    For any man they had to lunch;
    In the end he could not conceal
    His fear of weakness that age revealed;
    Paranoid he took his life,
    Thoughtless of his loving wife. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 24,567 Points Gajanan Mishra (1/10/2013 3:24:00 AM)

    Just watch me and
    My appetite shakes the rock of the nation.
    These lines touch me most. Thanks. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Brian Purdy (1/11/2012 3:39:00 PM)

    Easy target or what? Kick a dead man, will you? Hah! Hey, there, Mr. McGrath, when you accomplish as much and have given as much pleasure by your productions, when you have permanently altered the style and tenor of modern literature in your time - in other words, given your ALL in the effort, as did Hemingway, maybe someone will come along and take cheap-shots at you, too. And, in your case, Mr. Loose Lips, it will serve you right. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie John Evans (9/3/2006 5:02:00 PM)

    The last line is incorrect. It should read: The force of my MICTION makes the mighty Gulf Stream. Poets.org had it wrong for a while, but they've since corrected it. (Report) Reply

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