HST Poetry

Our friend, Ryan Havely wrote a great poem to memorialize Hunter S. Thompson today, on the 4th anniversary of his passing.  Thanks, Ryan.

But Not Here, No, Not on Earth

But we all want something from her,
whether it’s food
or to rule.  This is where
Jesus was born, where the winds
playing Mozart with your shingles
start in the sun
and work their way
along seams in the sky
like Gypsy Moths.  Mozart,
too, is from around here.

You tell
stories about a man, how
once, some five hours
after midnight
he tore
the phone cord from the jack
in one sweeping motion
to punish the thing
for ringing.
How he looked like a matador,


with the AT&T rotary
under one arm, grabbing
the .44 magnum from his mantle.
He walked like a cop

strutting his beat
into the yard, stuffed that phone
in the low hollow knot
of an Aspen, turned

and walked ten paces,
his shoulders back, the traditional
posture of duel, then wailed around
to empty six chambers.

Three hit that phone,
sent it running off into the dark
two whizzed back at us and over the house
like hornets, one just after the other,
the sixth shot grazed the crescent moon.
We saw the trail of dust kick up, only briefly,
as the moon took stray fire from the Rockies.

He reloaded, held the gun with both hands,
his arms locked above his head
like maybe he’d dive, follow
that bullet through.  Instead
he capped another six,
this time at least 5 hit the surface,
each with a plume of gray dust.

He shot it some twelve to fifteen times
that night and never said a word.  Just reload,
take a pull off the Wild Turkey,
let go of another six.  At the end

he couldn’t get out of the chair.
That’s what really did it.
All the sitting, the loafing.
Up there he wouldn’t have needed the damn thing,

up there in a sixth of this gravity
he’d have been riding that dirt bike,
getting a good jump on the dusk
closing on his days like a curtain,

or a flag slowly drawn from its pole
for that final, formal act of folding.
Somebody pulls the rope,
the pulleys do their pulleying,

but gravity brings it down, in the end.
There are some places, though, a curtain
can’t so much as fall, some places
the gravity isn’t trying as hard,
so things there rise painlessly but

Ryan Havely
February 20, 2009

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