Hotel Nacional

The Hotel Nacional,
glamorous epitome of the Jazz Age
now a faded dowager in
her declining years;
riddled with labyrinthine corridors
arteries where no lifeblood flows;
Room 4-2-6 where Dexter Stevenson
a contemporary of John Steinbeck’s
who disputed the authorship of “Cannery Row”
claiming a similar manuscript and title
lodged in Paris in ’39,now long ago;
Room 3-1-5 where Steinhoffer,
distinguished doctor of medicine
originally from Klagenfurt
glowers in exile and
cannot return home due to
some administrative requirement
that he be detained and questioned
about his work at Dachau in 1944;
Elsewhere,black and white
portraitures annotate mildewed walls
fading to a natural sepia,
there the one with Cary Grant
and Marlene Dietrich
on their way to Rio,
or was it Havana?
and there,sailor-hatted,bare chested
the great Hemingway himself,
though he never deigned
to shake Dexter Stevenson’s hand;
And in the rundown lobby,
a receptionist stares into space.

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