Philip Hammial


by women with stethoscopes

I’m gift Eve. You don’t believe me ask

Don Jesus (pronounced Hey zoo) he’ll

verify –  that I’m terrified by scopes – stetho, tele,

micro, etc. Because was embedded with several

single-bodied thunder-clap fellows hunting

through hearing, my humming to all

who would listen, ten by my count, they said

it was wrong. Wrong. Wrong. And price to Society

would pay. And Public would not bat

its single eyelash. For at six two how could I possibly

nomenclature my sorry singing self as Little Eva

(1943-2003) was their question rightly asked of

stooping, unreconstructed me from mandrake weaned

by Memsaab, mother to ticket-scalpers & various

televangelists feeding Truth to a cash cow

nickelodeon. Best throw around

a cordon sanitaire & pity him (meaning me)

who would dance in nation, nickels feeding. Just

leave me to clean my Glock, make ready

for the main event: spieling child soldiers spoiling fun

for the Fifth Estate (watch them run). Most

of these bastards are de-class anyway, no business

hanging with Papa Doc even though they do have

critters up their sleeves. Time’s up

for the little sex-ups, Madam. And by the way

you do have what might be described as a superior

feel, not that it’s going to get you anywhere

with the Arigato clique, God’s pipers piping pony

boys in from the cold (Ok, we’ll save our trots

for later). Shuffle them in, shoo them out is


my advice (No, I haven’t been asked). And, no,

between Lords I haven’t been able to distinguish,

same problem with moms although I’ve taken

on board the consequences of Mariko’s manger

complex (her new single Guru Glitch, top

of the charts) – that a mojo clown is not an ideal

role model for anyone because it’s sequel, if

there is one, will probably be chilled with a shiv: click

on listen, scroll down to heart, what

I’m lacking they reckon.






Deep (paraphrase of) Play

After a passage from Diane Ackernman’s Deep play


Patricia Sykes


The night a keyhole, the mind stepping through into distance.

From out of the dark riffs iceberg gardens,

filling the page, their strange white love


their perfumeless grip play deep


Writing “nature” is not the it of it

the i/I of her scribing hand not an arctic butterfly

feeding on a rapture she has no name for


play deeper


beyond the shining words, beyond and farther

than vocals abeyant in rock,

amber, permafrost


play deepest


among the nervy nerved instinctive self.

The foot on its throat is centuries, the weight

a ball and chain. Till the ground


that feeds the worm else dispassion builds,

annuls. The closest relative of nothing

is nothingplay deep


















A Man has Exploded in my Front Yard


Maggie Mae


His inner child is hanging upside down
from a tree, pointing his finger,
laughing at me.

He smells like cheap vengeance.
The stench is assertive
crawling under layers of skin.

I see his aching memories strewn
across my garden
seeping in.

I am
begging time to catch up.
He is a scattered man

and I am
a watcher

a statue of sick love

leaving him on his own
to gather himself.








Philip Hammial


The row must be neat, those of us sitting.

For accomplished effect the mouth must be certain

of the dub lest all say against.

Remember: this history is specific to skedaddle

on outta here, girl.

You neither rhythm nor institutional solace.

If your gospel is that good it’ll shed its tent.

Boogie bites back: a lesson you need to learn.

These clothes are empty & will remain so.

The winner: some book about some loco.

Looked out on a woe & cracked a smile.

It was the thing that got me.

That up & stole my clear-speak.

Sent it tail-between-legs to that fat hulk raider.

His scare ain’t style, yet. Still

confined to razor shirts but capable

of disturbing image: A thousand sailors floating

forty fathoms down & especially so because

I’m there among them, not as I am now at 75

but as I was at seventeen, never sweet

& had been kissed by Kay & Fay & Lady May

Winter-Smith who, if only we’d known,

was a sex-change sweetheart who pole-danced

in high-toned places ­ Colombo’s on 52nd, Brummel’s

on Broadway, etc.

A tree, she, of many fruit & we pickin’.

My hands now: thick green veins, any thicker

they’ll leap from my hands like nets from trawlers

& nothing catch because nothing to catch.

Though could a death.

The guns must be aimed, those of us standing.



There is No Mystery


John Leonard

There is no mystery, the book
Of the world was written long ago—
If you have not riffled its pages,
Wondered at its beauty, and touched
Upon its teachings, then where,
Tell me, does the fault lie?







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