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switzerland

by kirk ramdath

why can’t they swim in the pool of filth with the rest of us?
to hell with switzerland
but one good thing happens there
henry takes catherine there*
they row a boat there all through the night
fuelled by sandwiches
& brandy
& love
they pretend to be married
henry says ridiculous things, like
darling, i don’t live at all when i’m not with you
i kept thinking,
that’s cheesy, but he sure loves her
almost like he loves her too much
but fowler would say,
love is just the name for a man’s obsession with one woman**
i agree
so i didn’t see it coming
i didn’t want to see it coming
catherine gets pregnant
we think the child is born
but labour has been difficult
henry says of his new son
that he is not proud of him
because he almost killed his mother
that’s the kind of love i’m talking about —
a man should love his wife more than he loves his child
but hemingway is just fucking with us
the child is born dead
on the second last page
catherine has a hemorrhage
and dies —
what the fuck?

sometimes when i read a novel
the shadow of a tear begins to fill my eye
sometimes my nose gets a little sniffle
and i almost start to cry
but when hemingway pulls that rug from under me
with only a page of text to follow
and absolutely no denouement
i bawled
i clawed at my chest and pulled hairs from my head  

then again, i was going through some personal, emotional shit at the time

that was the first time i hated hemingway
the second was when hunter s. thompson blew his brains out
i read about hunter visiting hemingway’s grave in the sixties
writing that,
the function of art
is supposedly to bring order out of chaos,
a tall order even when the chaos is static,
and a superhuman task in a time
when chaos is multiplying
so hemingway did what he had to do
to stop the voices in his head
or some bullshit like that
that’s how i learned —
hemingway blew his brains out too
i hated him for it

then again, he was probably going through some personal, emotional shit at
the time

fuck switzerland


***Hunter S. Thompson,
National Observer, May 25, 1964

switzerland
Love in a Handful of Dust: switzerland
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