Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Houdini’s Sister

There’s always the girl who understands locks and a bone-toothed comb, the one who crawls under the table, crams into the mouse hole, the one who gives the witch the wrong directions. There’s always the girl who knows the language of rabbits and convinces one to let her ride astride, the girl who can live on breadcrumbs and fog, who clings to the giant’s boot until he gets tired of stumbling around the kitchen, looking for a cooking pot, and falls asleep. There’s always one left, the one who cuts off her hair to make a rope (if that’s what it takes), the one who talks the blue-bellied salmon into carrying her across the river, the one who takes the diamonds of her tears and sells them for a good pair of boots.

Monday, August 27, 2007

This is just a draft -- I've got kind of a fever and my head is swimming -- this might make sense if you felt the same way.


she can tell when it’s coming
a damp aura surrounds her
in the tomato garden
or on the front lawn
as she sits and picks at her toenails
silently cursing the postman for
being so late, always so late

the bees gather in her hair
just behind her ears
they murmer louder, louder
a great warm motor of buzz

she stopped being afraid of them
after she got married
she’d call her husband,
Frank, get them, get them
and he’d lift a broom
and sweep the air around her head

during the divorce he confessed
he saw nothing
and grew tired of all the animals
that came to her dreams and woke him up

the sparrows perch about her hips
like a soft sighing belt
all coos and settling, resettling, wings

after the birds begin to peck at the bees it happens,
deep in the boat of the sky, the sun opens up
a cloud like a burning book:
the Virgin reaches down to hold her hand
and weep

Is the end too corny?

Friday, August 24, 2007

I took this photo during a short break in a heavy rainstorm.

Also, here's a draft of a poem. Let me know if you can tell where the "action" takes place. Perhaps some of you have actually been there. Or here.

Learning about Mammals

underneath the stairs
the whale grapples with the squid
nothing protects the children from the diorama
the lip of the exhibit comes up
to their knees they step in when
the teacher’s fussing at Greg
and Sheila

on the other side
shake out their pant legs
scratch their scalps
hide in the darkest parts
under the floating animals
dusty mouths the size
of school desks

look at me, he says to her
touching the cool whale belly,
touching his own nose

Monday, August 20, 2007

Birds and Bees.

New painting.

I didn't quite get the overlap right in this one --the bird adds too much confusion around the face.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


How to Use Your Cup

Is it empty?
Is it full?

These are questions you must answer yourself.

Is it big enough to fit in both your hands?
Is the rim damaged, will it hurt

to put your lips to it?

What does it remind you of?

Perhaps you have tasted something similar.
Perhaps you are in for something new.
Ask your mother if it is safe.

What color do you see there,
what texture?

Ask your parents about the cups
they grew up with.

In years past, people used their thumbs
to measure the temperature in their cups.

When you put your ear to it, what do you hear?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ink into Skin

the security guards at the airport
are all whispering about my tattoo
they ask me how long it took,
if it’s new, if it’s finished

at each security checkpoint
as I slip off my shoes,
my belt, as I unbotton
my blouse and lay back
on the conveyor belt,

they open my chest
and ask me about the bite
marks on the inside
of my ribcage, still

obsessed with my tattoo,
where did I get the idea,
in what city did it occur

they lift their pant legs,
their hems, to show me
their own tattoos --
hairy dragons curling up calves,
butterflies clinging to biceps

they sink their fingers into
the curl of my intestines,
divining my future, they pull
everything out, set it down gently
in the plastic trays

and tell me how beautiful it is,
my tattoo, how it looks like
a real knife and how it
calls to them, each of them,
with a thready, tender song

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Coming to Terms with Your Deities
(some text taken from Science in Your Own Backyard, 1958)

Have you ever touched one?  
Chances are that you have.

Did you notice what they looked like,
pressed up against your window?

Blankets spread out between you and the earth.

Bright petals that move without a breeze.

Deities change from one shape to another:
a colonial gentleman
a cocked hat
a crouching lion
a wrecked castle

High up in the air, they appear so soft and fluffy.

Keep a record of the kinds you see each day,
write the names and the number of legs.

You will soon discover a relationship between
the dawn and your deities.

Scientists agree, deities create the atmosophere
in small underground holes.

Have you ever had the delightful experience
of lying on your back?
How did a deity learn to make such a perfect thing?

Are they of any use to us?

They have no backbone.

So many people are afraid of their deities.


Okay, the question is this: if you go to my brand new and improved website, www.christinehamm.org, do you like what you see?
Be harsh. Is it pretty, or just difficult to follow?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hah. You thought I'd given up writing, huh?
Blackie’s Story

My husband speaks to the dead. Yesterday, our old cat Blackie visited him in the bathroom and described a plane ride in our future. It will be a long trip, according to Blackie, and the plane will stop and hover, making sounds like a little boy being a helicopter. Nevertheless, we are not to worry. We will land some place warm where plants grow out of building cornices, swoop down and steal your hat or maybe your shoes. I was too busy trying to feed the ghost of my brother to hear the whole thing -- he was demanding eggs, and the rotten ham sandwich I had buried at the bottom of the garbage. My brother is so hungry, but he can’t quite get the food to his mouth. His hands are broken or absent, he was trying to tell me.

Also, a rather painfully honest interview here: kickingwind.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Like a good little capitalist I've churned out more cards and magnets, enough to make a stationary set! (But you can perhaps argue with the "good" and "little" in the previous sentence.)

You can BUY them, or just look at them, here: deadcarnations.etsy.com.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Yeah, I haven't felt like posting any writing for a while. But I have new pictures! I'm going to sell these on my etsy store, starting tomorrow -- in the form of postcards, note cards, and magnets.

See more at my flickr account.

And then, also, there's this t-shirt:

Thursday, August 02, 2007




Jane’s Dream

A woman is trying to get me off her lawn. Her black beehive wig towers over me, a hostile ice cream cone. She tried shutting the gate, but I am already on the inside. We don’t want your kind here, she hisses. I have a message for your daughter, I say, warding off the blows of her pocketbook, my hands bloody. In the top story window, a hairless girl watches me. She chews slowly on the lace curtain. I don’t have a daughter, the woman shouts again. I know the girl is watching me, waiting to see what I’ll do next.