Wednesday, December 24, 2003

This is based on a true story.

The Book

It is no longer a secret -- the government has been notified.
It towers in stacks to the ceiling.
It fills the tub and slops over the edges.
It overlaps the stove-- embraces the sink.

In this story, I represent reason.
I arrive minus a pen.
The book parts like a sea, spins
me back to the bedroom,
to a small cot.
It covers the cot.
It darkens the windows,
like moths, plastered.

The author is unhappy with me.
I tell her the book must go.
The author is screaming.
Her eyes are unnecessarily large.

Lawyers are involved,
I tell her,
The neighbors hear words groaning
in the pause between brushing their teeth
and turning out the lights.
The hum of electricity no longer
soothes their dreams.


The author shrieks something beyond
the edge of hearing.

Danger,
I tell her,
there is the possibility of fire,
of plague, of tiny bright insects.


The author grabs my hair.
I am prepared for this:
I brought shears.
When I am free, I make the call
and the undoing begins.


www.lulu.com/sharpNpencil

Saturday, November 22, 2003

I've got a new poetry page! thanks to C.E. Laine the world-reknown poet. It's not much yet. http://poets.celaine.com/christinehamm/.
I'm trying to call it, "poetry for the angry temp".

Monday, November 10, 2003

So I had another reading last night, and despite the fact that I had a bad flu and stumbled over my words, and felt like fainting most of the time, it went smashingly. It was at Eastside Oral, a series run by the smashing and dirty-mouthed Elise Miller. Everybody loved me! And especially my stockings -- which read "bitch" over and over again in white gothic script. So... I guess I will continue to write. hmmm. And below, made a little ad to go in the back of BUST magazine. If I understand correctly, it's only about 300 dollars to run a small black and white one.



The Gorey quote is what someone told me at the reading. I blushed.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Dear Friends, Readers and Indifferents,

After my experience tonight at the Curious Cafe, I have decided I am not fit to be a poet. Getting the same score as the “mock poet” or sacrificial lamb at the beginning of the slam opened my eyes to the fact that I cannot write, and in fact, should not. Therefore, this is the last piece of writing you will ever receive from me. Perhaps more poignantly, tonight demonstrated to me that I am unfit for human company. In light of this, I am emigrating to Mexico, where I will sequester myself in the dry and dusty hills and live off grubs and roots. I plan to spend the majority of my days squatting, naked and filthy, in a corner, where I will rock, mouth nonsense words, and throw ashes on my head. Please forward all correspondence to:

That Unspeakable Loser
666 Snowball Lane,
Hell, Mexico

Thank you for your infinite patience with what has obviously been my plague of words. So long. Good bye. I mean it. Seriously.

In the meantime, buy my book: www.lulu.com/sharpNpencil

Sunday, October 19, 2003

I have a new book you can purchase on-line here (http://books.lulu.com/sharpNpencil) . Please go look at it, tell me that you love me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

RE-write

Diary of a Thief

In college, I was skinny
and small, wore too many clothes,
bit my fingernails and fucked anyone
who asked.

Excused from my glass house for the first time, I replaced
again and again and again the small
things, the feathers and the colors,
that had been broken inside me.

I loved to trespass: anywhere
that was easy to enter and forbidden, loved to barely
touch what wasn't mine, loved to pretend this was my place.

When I wasn’t drinking or fucking some boy who smelled
like all the others, I lived in our school library --a miniature cathedral
of dark, sweet smelling wood, a church absent God,
the angels books, helpless, blind and flat, easily torn.

One Saturday night, I crammed myself into the book
elevator and sent me, now a blinded angel, too,
up to the 6th floor, behind locked doors and bars.
A famous poet, you would know his name, had gone to my college and
behind the chain-link fence rested the only copy of his thesis.

I took it down with me.
The paper like baby skin, transparent, elusive,
pages fed through a manual typewriter in the days of carbon paper.

I took
his manuscript, also considering the Durer etching, the Degas sculpture, the signed Dickinson letters: the rare things we hide
because some objects shimmer so
they melt in sunlight or with too much viewing.

I took that thesis
and I touched it, the hand drawn illustrations, the naive anthropological
assertions, the poet's embarrassed youth and misspellings.

I kept it with my books on a darkened desk for a week, imagining
the thousands it could get me or how to take it to my
breast and suckle it, make it
a part of me and my own, seeing the shine
around my head from having such a valuable thing.

Then I put it back.

For years I have done this,
the forbidden, the trespass, and the baroque plans
with things that seem to be suddenly
mine. And for years I have only touched
and returned.

At times I have regretted the things caressed and left behind,
the Vonnegut drawings, the Monets.

But this last spring I finally saw it as a talent:
I can enter a space as private as the chamber of a heart,
uncover without stripping what shines and is hidden,
touch without a need to mold it to the shape of my fist
or mouth. I can return it unbroken, give back what belongs.

And it was spring
when it finally hit me:
now I can be a mother.




Monday, September 22, 2003

A TRUE STORY

When I was in college,
I was skinny and small,
wore too many clothes,
bit my fingernails and had
sex all the time.

I loved to trespass:
anywhere that was easy
to enter and forbidden,
loved to barely touch
what wasn't mine,
loved to pretend this
was my place.

Our school library was
old and gothic. Shaped
like a minature cathedral
of dark, sweet smelling wood,
but there was no God,
and the angels were books,
helpless, blind and flat,
easily torn.

I knew every corner. Where
the red spiders congregated on the south
tower, the desk on the fourth floor
with the broken lamp, where I could store
books without checking them out.
They were never moved. The librarians
were stoned and indifferent,
or too involved in protesting apertheid
to care.

With a random boyfriend's help,
I crammed myself into the book
elevator and sent me,
now a blinded angel, too,
up to the 6th floor, behind locked
doors and bars. A famous poet,
you would know his name, went
to my college, and there was the only copy
of his thesis up there and I took it down
with me. It was on onion paper
like baby skin, transparent,
elusive, made by a manual typewriter
in the days of carbon paper.

I took his manuscript,
leaving the valuable paintings,
the durere etchings,
the sculptures
and shining valuables,
the rare things people
and schools hide because
some objects mean so much
they melt in sunlight or with
too much viewing. They
burn with use and
therefore are hidden
and visited in memory only.

I took that collection of papers
and I touched it, the hand drawn
illustrations, the naive anthropologic
assertions, the poet's embarrassed
youth and misspellings.

I put it with my books on the darken
desk and I left it there for a week. Imagining
how to sell it or how to take it to
my own breast and suckle it,
make it a part of me and my own.
Imaginging the shine I would
acquire from such a valuable thing.

Then I put it back.

For years I have done this,
the forbidden, the trespass
and the plans of fame and money
with things that seem to be suddenly
mine. And for years I have only
touched and returned.

At times I have regretted
the things I caressed and left behind,
the Vonnegut drawings,
the Monets,
the ancient Greek artifacts.

But this last spring I
finally saw it as a talent:
I can enter and touch
a space as private as the
chamber of a heart,
and take nothing, leave
no mark, possess
only in thought, and
return all to the owner.

And it was spring
when it finally hit me:
now I can be a mother.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

The Reading was a success! Everyone who read was really talented, and the audience responded well to my poems, despite the fact the mic was at really awkward angle and I had to speak out of the corner of my mouth and turn my head sideways to be able to read my poems. Unfortunately, I didn't get anyone's last name that I read with, so I can't pimp them here.

I also got a new writing gig with Duponis, which is a art crit site, opening in September. I wrote an essay about writing as therapy.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Christine Hamm is reading her poetry!

Date: Thursday, August 21 at 7:30 PM
Place: The hippest lounge in the ‘Burg, Halcyon!
Price: 2 drink minimum.
Come Drink and Groove to the skankiest poetry this side of Ginsberg.

Halcyon is in Brooklyn,
at 227 Smith St. between Butler and Douglass Streets.
If you need directions, call 718 260 9299. Parking is usually easy in the area if you drive and it is a short walk from
the F or G trains.

See you Thursday!

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

New poem that I wrote all by myself.

the galloping typist

We rehearse our colors each night,
hoping that in sunlight
they will not disappoint us
as did our other children.

Then each day is born gray.
The sun rises like a small balloon.

A cubicle.
We wait.

The bald electrics drain pink from our knuckles.
We blink several times.
Kisses everywhere flop and expire like valium moths.

We stumble home,
eyelashes caught in a button hole.

Fall onto a couch of dinge
dreaming small dreams with our eyes open--
narratives of chapped lips--
the wrong mascara next to the
toothbrush cup on the sink,
the wrong face in the mirror,
the elastic that pinches,
a broken colored bulb.

Morning -- that 20 watt bulb.
Maybe we see it again beside us.

We have tried
when the room is empty
to xerox ourselves
to see some sign
and felt somehow diminished
as if two is less than one

See, I'm trying to be T.S. Eliot, but, uh, not so learned. Did you see it?

Monday, May 05, 2003

New poem to celebrate the working blog. Oh yeah.


The General
for Henry Darger

Little girls, everywhere,
tearing, ripping, soiling their pink frocks,
turning into snails. They run from this side
of the page to that,
stepping on their oversized butterfly wings,
squealing.

Pursued by huge poppies or red
-faced soliders,
they shriek and squeal and laugh and hang.

Little girls, everywhere,
their purple faces, dying,
naked chests full of punctuation
and watercolor,
with their candy corn and bayonets.

Little girls, everywhere,
colored like angels or ducklings,
the daughters of a bearded god
with hands and eyes constantly
tracing little girls,
his mouth full of hearts and swords,
full of little girls, everywhere.
sooo.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Once apon a time
Mother was a fistful of sticks propped in a corner. To steal her hard tiny face she had broken Mona’s kewpie doll. When we were hungry we slept. While we slept our hair grew into one dark pillow. Spiders built and lost kingdoms in our hair. Once a month our mother caught fire and beat us to put her out. The sparks got in our eyes and we would cry while she hit us, rubbing our dirty lids with dirty fists and hiding behind our faded blue hoop skirts. She lay whimpering for days on the floor with her eyes rolled up. She wouldn’t move when we poked her. In our dreams she was made of cotton and many-tiered cakes. We were always hungry. We learned to chew twigs and each other’s hair. Sometimes, when she slept, we broke off bits of her and made soup. The next day our vomit was black. The boys eventually got tired and wandered off. The girls stayed longer. Some of us are still home with mother.

Friday, April 04, 2003

this is one I sort of stole, it's kinda' like a found poem, I reworked

Graduation

Phil and Jonnie and I used to push our boat
and its engine about as big as my fist
through the back swamps of Lake Lagunita,
shooting guns,
drinking beer stolen from our parents.
Sometimes two of us would stand in the shallows,
scum around our knees,
holding a cotton rope fastened to the back of the boat,
and Phil would drag us around the lake.
I got blisters and rope burns, skinned my knees on floating things.
Jonnie squealed dolphin noises,
sometimes made it up to his feet,
walked on water.

Jonnie got in a wreck
the other day, some girl was driving
on good old Red Ridge road,
the road we used to take to 7-11 to sneak a few
more smokes before going back,
back to what was home,
what we called home, then.

The girl was wasted, so drunk she couldn’t stop
talking about the blood and her hair said the cops.
Jonnie was thrown out the back window of the truck.
broken jaw, broken clavicle, broken
wrist,
possible
high femur fracture, punctured lung;
other things inside flattened or gone.

I haven’t visited him yet at the hospital.

I can’t see it--
flying out the back window of a truck.
I’ve had to break into mine
when I locked the keys inside, cut my arm on the glass.
Squeezing through that
small window is impossible:
I’m telling you.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Go to my new zine! Yes, please! And none of the links work yet, but you can submit to holdingmytongue@yahoo.com.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Joy School
for Joseph Cornell

Why is it that when people speak
of joy or paint
its substance the canvas is a vast
blue sky or an acre of snow broken
maybe by a few black boughs.

My joy teaches me small.
It is tiny and dark with delicate moving parts
in the shadows,

like the ripple of a salmon gill
under the river
or a small vintage machine
with obscure purpose and many
tinny whirrings.

My joy is not made in the huge
bright handclap of God.

It is made by tiny mice paws
in the mud. It is made of straw
and teeth,
with a few white feathers.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

The Underneath
I keep a pet
woman under my bed.
She’s small
and feisty, with sharp teeth.
I make her
wear all the clothes
I hate; high heels, garter belts, clingy velour.
I feed her chocolate and wine
from a box. She glares at me
as she twirls the curling iron through her brown hair.
I let her out once a week
for a bubble bath.
When she’s PMSing
she kicks the bottom of my mattress
to keep me awake. I punish her
by taking away her cable.
She pouts,
spends all day looking at her mirror
instead of me. I get her a fist
sized disco ball:
we kiss and make up.
She’s so small
I can fit my tongue
all the way around her neck.
She tastes of vinegar and honey.
When she’s been good I let her sleep
at the foot of my bed. Sometimes
I wake up
and she’s in my mouth.
I chew her
hair softly, like a cow would,
if it had the heart of a wolf.
Then I put her back in her cage.
She cries and dresses
in white
until the moon
breaks.