Friday, August 1, 2008

Christine Hamm

The Selling Of Parts

I contact Ebay to see if I can sell
my left ventricle. Customer serviceh
as a hard time getting back to me,
their emails keep ending up in my
spam folder, so I decide to call
the free 800 number (it's supposed
to be active 24 hours a day) but
then I just get a recording, and the
funny thing is, the recording has
my name on it, it's kind of hard
to understand, there's the noise
of large machinery and race cars
in the background, and I wonder
for the first time where Ebay
is located, is it in a particular
state? I always imagined it floating
in cyberspace somewhere, and when
I picture cyberspace, my ideas
alternate between a cold black
icy room with green numbers floating
by like large dust particles, and a
vast empty white plane, peopled
by tall white men in form-fitting
plastic body suits. Anyway, the recording
says something about Christine
and then something about Beth Anne
and the requirements to become a gold
member, but I don't want to become
a gold member, I keep telling the recording
machine, I just want to find out
how to sell this tiny part, which is
hard because I don't have a very clear
photo, and I'm not sure how much
to charge for shipping.

Disaster Sushi

While I, while it
drops through my chopsticks
the sticky rice round your chin
you tell me about the baby
elephant who tried to get
into your size 12 pants
in the rest room, where
you had taken them off
to air, as that infection
had come back, and with a rash
this time, and I ask if
you're speaking metaphorically.
You blink as if a lizard
had skittled over your brain
and then the light bulb
bursts over your head;
in the shower of harmless,
deadly glass you say
now we're both in the dark,
what were you talking about, love?

I Tell My Mother

About a dream in which she dies.
There’s a cranky buzz on the
cordless phone, I bring it closer
to the base, farther away,
the buzz stays the same. I can
hear my mother licking her lips
and sipping her coffee. Go on,
she says, tell me the part about
the stairs again.

Hunters Point, 1PM

the girl in front of me
is paying for her cheeseburger
with stripper bills, tens and fives
folded down the middle,
greasy from her thighs

her brown matted braid swings
down as her diamond-starred
fingernails untangle her cash,
wadded at the bottom of a purse

out of its gleaming depths
floats a stray napkin
white unfolding bright
struck by a breeze
from the opening door,
it rises into the street, vanishes

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

1 comment:

Rethabile said...

I'd read "The Selling Of Parts" on your blog, Christine. It's a cool poem. Nice to see you here.