The Fieldstone Review

Hemingway's Beard

by Myrna Garanis

El Floridita Bar, Havana
The barman ignores us, just another tour group,
camera phones flashing, rubbing the fabled
bronze beard for luck
Young man with a shiner turns up in every shot
having the drink we’ve no time for, nursing
his hurts at the bar as Hemingway must have,
taking time out from novel production,
downing a fifth mojito, joking with his sparring
partner friends, only one not smoking.
Plenty of Cohibas in Havana, a plethora
of famous beards worth stroking in a city
marking revolution’s anniversary
tee-shirts and postcards exclusively exhibit
Che Guevara’s death grimace, his sacrifice
for a nation not his own. Fidel’s face absent
from the giant billboards masking
hurricane-damaged fields. Our shiny
Chinese bus passes ancient Cuban trucks.
History disconcerting for the tourist,
not one black eye amongst us, none
sent reeling from the ropes.