Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Dear writers and others,

I'm running a contest! If you're not interested in poetry at all, then just ignore this. The first 3 people who email me with the correct answer will win a free copy of "Echo Park".

Kate Durbin said this about the book: "From "pink-spangled bikinis" to "your mother's stolen perfume," Christine Hamm's Echo Park is littered with the strange, sexy detritus of life, gorgeous life."

And Rebecca Loudon said this: "These poems are a delicious dreamy basket of puppies with a dank surprise underneath—not the pony every little girl longs for but a portal into a whole wide weirdly and care(fully) imagined world."

The email address for this contest is christinehamm01@yahoo.com. Only responses sent to this particular email can win. If you have already agreed to write a review for me, you're getting a free copy anyway, so please don't enter the contest.

Here is the contest question:

What was the last line of the last poem in Plath's original version of "Ariel", before Hughes rearranged all the poems after Plath's death?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

[gigya width="300" height="200" quality="high" src="http://hosting.gmodules.com/ig/gadgets/file/112581010116074801021/fish.swf?" scale="noscale" salign="tl" ]

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Because of copyright issues, etc., etc., I am making this a private blog. For the password, please email me at holdingmytongue at yahoo.com.

I will make occasional public updates about artwork, publications and readings, etc.

The rest of the archives will remain up.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Awesome video at We Who Are About to Die, the last half century of nuclear explosions:

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Like a Prayer
Down on my knees
-- Madonna

Then, the letters sticking in your mouth,
you tell the used car dealer exactly what

color you’re looking for. We hold hands
under the tin awning, the rain buzzing

like a hive on fire. The engine of your
face turns to me, and I ask when you

can choke me again. You put your finger
to my lips, worried that the dealer will

hear us. I watch your new tattoo bleed
limp ink, and the tiger on your shoulder
closes his eyes, as if too tired to answer.

Monday, February 28, 2011

(This is such a long poem; I feel guilty for writing such a long poem, forcing i ton you)
July, Then Before

Your dark straight hair like some kind of expensive silk skin I wanted to stick my fist through. That Neil Diamond song we practiced all year in the 8th grade out on the front lawn. The album playing in your bedroom. Singing it to each other in the bathroom stalls. How you cried under the redwoods in the national park, worried the raccoons would bite your toes if you slept. How your sleeping bag swarmed with red spiders in the morning. I wanted to show you how to masturbate: I had read about it in my mother’s medical textbook. I wouldn’t let you share my sleeping bag, I wouldn’t let you borrow my bikini. How you told me not to tell anyone else. I'm not the pig you think I am. I'm not the dog you think I am. I 'm not the person you think you are. Can we try this again?

How you were still crying at the breakfast fire, around the burnt sausage in your mouth. Shaken cans of 7-up exploding on our t-shirts, hot dogs with stripes like prison pajamas. We sang in harmony with the record, sometimes you went a few notes higher for contrast. Peanuts made you go to the hospital, boys pretended to like you during recess and made you cry after school. How Billy, the counselor with the scarred lip, told you his dad did it. How you hated your white fat face. You kept saying that, I hate my fat face, when we'd look in bathroom mirrors. Almost matching floor length blue dresses, with transparent flowered sleeves, for the graduation song. Holding hands during the song, the sun so strong I closed my eyes. As you got hot, you smelled more and more of lemon and old tires. How you were better than me at math, how your painted horses always had an alien gleam. Your hairspray made me sneeze. The song had the word blue over and over. Do you really think you’re an animal? one boy asked before he hit you on the back of the head, made you fall to the lawn. You apologized for running over my yellow lab with your bike; I never said anything about pissing on your toothbrush. We sat cross-legged on the front lawn, chewing grass blades, the fat, white, tender part. I’m sorry your parents pretended to love you. I poured all your change down the latrine. Then I kissed your sleeping hand and, for hours, waved the swarming summer bees away from your face. How I bit your arm once, right after a mosquito, to see what it would taste like. Let me tell you about that summer camp.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

As if the moon were still ripe for decontamination

In the sun, he lies on his back and rips the hole larger with his thumb. In the shadows later, he drinks half a warm diet coke. In the mirror, I check my teeth, to see if they're still broken. In the light cast by the bug-zapper, he plays his tapes, swings his daughter right and left, until her wrists bruise and she laughs loudest. In the fields, I lose my purse and one of my flip-flops, the daisy kind. In the backyard, I set up a miniature city, made of paper-mached milk bottles and Christmas lights, right at the edge, as if we still knew each other.


Made with the help of this: http://www.writewords.org.uk/phrase_count.asp

and the text of my next book, Echo Park.

(also, a little bit from a picture on Radish King)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Finally, another poem. OMG!

My Western, II

The Outlaw Josey Wales. Grace, Idaho.
Red-tailed hawks. A black eye on a girl
hiding behind the corral. A Lady Takes a

Trip-wires for horses. War paint,
eye shadow. A Fistful of Dollars. Cow-
boy hats reeking of smoke and spoiled pork.

Mule deer. Mud Lake, Idaho. Highways
looping over themselves, empty drive-ins.
Coyote brush. Broken stirrups. Bitter

Springs, Arizona. Cigarettes staining the
ceiling of his trailer, his teeth. Pale Rider.
B.B. guns, hand guns, shot guns. Guns with

the serial numbers filed off. Appaloosa.
Star-nosed moles. Robbing the grocery store,
your father’s restaurant. Raccoons. Copper

Beeches. Yellow dust on your tongue, in
the corner of your eye. A Man Called Horse.
Apache, Comanche. Star sedge. A drunk man

singing in the outhouse. A drunk man singing
by the fire. 6 Black Horses. Saguaro cactus.
Condor shadows the size of sinking boats. Black-

tailed jack-rabbits. The Man from Nowhere. Burning
barns. Horses galloping back in. Eureka, California.


The titles in italics are the names of Western movies, or phrases from Western movies. All the town names are real.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pet Cow

I only see her in summer; in the winter, some man comes, but not often. Short, sharp fur, scar near her shoulder in the shape of California. Black and white and black. Does not hesitate to shit on me when I get near her tail. Eyes like limpid balls of goo or something I could stick my thumbs into. Liquid dotted by vague filaments, possibly parasites. Some man with cold hands, fingers that feel very rough on her teats. I used to tease my skin open with an exacto knife. Ear surrounded by dark swarms. Slow to look and poke, barely interested in what I have in the hand behind my back. She lets me lift her right front hoof and scrape between her toes with a hoofpick. Someone whose voice she never recognizes, no matter how often he calls. I used to tie the trussing string from the roast beef round my arm till my fingers turned dark. Nyquil hummed me to sleep at night, green buddy, thick mulch tongue. His hands, rough and cold. She's a summer animal: I can't imagine her visible barn breath in winter, her huddling next to other cows through the dirty slats, another one munching on her tail, on the tip of her tail til it bleeds like a nipple.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

This is an old one I'd thought I'd give you another look at:

Disaster Porn

He rips the door off the hinges at 4am -- it's not even locked. He stumbles and hits his head on the chair. He lies still, his mouth slightly open. I can smell the piss on his pants -- there's a yellow trail of translucent vomit down one arm. His eyes are so swollen they look like leaking red fruits, as pulpy as plums. He makes himself a bowl of blackberry ice cream and falls asleep. He tips over, wakes up; he steps on the cat's tail, he steps on the cat. He leaves the refrigerator door open, knocks milk all over the red-tiled floor. He turns on the gas stove. He tries to light a cigarette and sets his beard on fire. Milk footprints follow him into the bathroom. He tries to make a knot of the shower curtain and hang himself, he tries to take off his shoes and pants at the same time. He ends up face down in the tub, scrabbling and slipping. He pauses: his breath is wet and heavy. After a moment, he asks for a beer.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I can't get this to format correctly on blogger -- so you'll just have to click:
Radical rewrite of an earlier poem I've been banging around for years: does it work for you? Fawn, Calf, Mare, I dream... clickie.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Overdose

Not like a river. Not like flying. Not a good taste, anywhere. Not dark. Not like a tunnel, not like a train coming out of that tunnel, with me tied across the tracks, me under the wheels. Not like music, playing softly in the distance. Not like the slang, not like anything misspelled or garbled. No small animals at the fringes. Not in the mouth of a large dog. Not like dragging a piano through the street, a rope around my neck. Not like many soft hands. Not like falling deep into a feather bed from a great height. Not like a film playing in slow-motion across my stomach, across my mouth. A little like a tiger, like a tiger falling from a great height in slow-motion, with a rope around her neck, in her mouth, watched by small animals softly in the distance.

Friday, January 07, 2011

The Future

In the letterbox up the stairs, she found a letter postmarked from the following week. It was cold and wet along one corner, like it had been sitting in snow. She took it into the kitchen and put it on the table in front of him. I'm still waiting, he said, watching her out of the corner of his eye. She took two mugs out of the cupboard and slid them onto the table. She put the mugs back and took out a plate. The plate had grey fingerprints along the rim. I told you, she said. I'm too busy. She dipped the plate into the sink of dirty water, then lifted it out by the edges, and set it gently on the table. They watched the tiny grey soapbubbles crack and disappear. She took his thumb into her mouth and tasted tar and dust, something chalky like soot or medicine. He closed his eyes.