My Therapy Session With Hemingway

Hanging out, in Key West, inhaling the spirit of Papa Hemingway, and drifting along
Duval Street, the longest street in the unfathomable universe, I discover Janus, the 2-
faced Roman deity gazing with mythic duality at the vast Atlantic Ocean and the illusory
Gulf of Mexico too. And I taste the tropical sun, drink the frozen dust of death, and eat
the fire of the soul.

Earlier, I sit with Papa’s polydactyl cats, six-and-seven-toed beauties in the Hemingway
House, a feline paradise in Key West, and imagine these gorgeous creatures whisper
mystical revelations buried in their eerie eyes-these bewitching cats named Marilyn
Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, and Katherine Hepburn a.k.a. Sunshine; Zsa
Zsa, Sara Bernhardt, Billy Holiday, Hemingstein, Colette, and a cornucopia of other
exotic names.

In the late afternoon, I stroll along Mallory Square and feast on a phantasmagoria
of freaky flowing images as I watch mesmeric street performers dazzle me. Time vanishes
as I rush and swirl into their magnetic worlds.

Later, I wait for the red sun to drop into the Gulf of Mexico.

Alone, after midnight, in the tomb that I rent, I sit in the emptiness and ensconced in my
imaginary therapy session with Hemingway, I listen to his labyrinth of despair. He has it
all and he has nothing.

The storyteller reveals fragments of a fierce merciless death wish. The sultry world of
appearance, a kaleidoscope of glitz and glamour, is his dead skin that covers the vastness
of the deep snow and his ferocious abyss below.

Quietly, I join him in Hell, inside his rotting psyche.

Vast interludes of silence devour me. I feel the chill of his void.

“Nothingness or…interminable pain,” he mumbles. “Motherfucker, doc, you can’t…save me.”

The storyteller is the shattered poet of violence.

Alone, in the tomb, I inhale his toxic universe. I cough violently, while my brain

An oval suffocative silence is a noose around my neck and it ties me to Hemingway’s
dissolving soul.

We are one.

Inside the lethal silence, I return to Duval Street and the Hemingway House and Mallory
Square for a microsecond. I hyperventilate. I gasp for air.

“Motherfucker, doc…you can’t save me!”


Hemingway blows his brains out.


My frenzied eyes dart across the room. Hemingway lies on the analytic couch. He is
alive! Grunting and growling, he sits up, grimaces and gesticulates, and shouts,
“Kaboom,” as he points a chimerical gun at his head.

And now, he grows a wicked smile, gives me the finger, and shrieks, “You won’t let me
die, will you?”

He plops onto the leather couch, sighs, and falls into a deep sleep.

“No,” I whisper.

I close my eyes and drift off.

I lie in the deep snow on Kilimanjaro looking up at the Heavens, searching for a
legendary leopard and the House of God.


Photography © Allison Goldin

Photography © Allison Goldin


Dr. Mel Waldman is a psychologist, poet, and writer whose stories have appeared in numerous magazines includingHardboiled Detective, Espionage, the Saint, Pulp Metal Magazine and Audience. His poems have been widely published in magazines and books including Skive Magazine, Poetry Pacific, Poetica, The Jewish Press, The Jerusalem Post, Hotmetal Press, Ascent Aspirations, and Namaste Fiji: The International Anthology of Poetry. A past winner of the literary Gradiva Award in Psychoanalysis, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in literature and is the author of 11 books. He recently completed an experimental mystery novel inspired by one of Freud’s case studies.

Allison Goldin is an artist living in California. Her work is a collection of spontaneous drawings from the imagination. The most common link throughout her art are the semi-recognizable creatures scattered amongst and bringing together the surrounding doodles.