from Issue #8: Poetry by Philip Hammial

Photo (CC) Tim Parkinson

Photo (CC) Tim Parkinson

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Tied

Those tied at the feet
will attend Lesson Time where they’ll learn
the discipline & grafting required for a transition
into membership in My Father’s House.

Those tied at the waist will receive a deposit
containing a soul’s beginning
that has the capacity to recognize the Kingdom
of Heaven’s Representative.

Those tied at the hands
will, with some effort, be reprogrammed to assimilate
the advanced non-human perspectives that are being
offered by the Admiral & Captain of an away team from
The Evolutionary Level Above Human.

Those tied at the neck,
will return home, will, in human bodies picked & prepped
for this task, experience a second rapture or snatching
away from this world that is about to be
recycled, refurbished, spaded under.

Verily, tied at the neck & guided by the Shepherd,
these human plants will experience the glories
of Our Father’s House, therein to dwell forever.

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Ward Seven

Who’s for ward pride?
If not by the light of a maid’s lurks
we’re paged by what? Number mad with sane
& the Molly you think so fair is a face
for an apricot fan. All
of her curtsies at once, at once, all
of her curtsies at once.
………………………………..In a cup
I thought empty the blood of an owl, for who
has wit enough to keep at bay the hounds
of Henry the Eighth, his double
I’m forced to shave. Bury me not in the lap
of a dog, I said, & he did not listen, in the lap
of a dog & he did not listen.
……………………………………In father’s piano
with the lid nailed shut, that’s where I’ll be when
Henry’s finished with me while his cooks skim off
a right keen breast (a ripe queen’s breast), & so
they should for it seems that glaucoma thugs
are close behind, are close behind
with rags for eyes.
………………………..At most
in trams I trust, a dozen dozing
in a depot, in each the corpse
of a man like me who all too soon was quick
through hospital corridors tangled like baobab roots
on the verge of marrow, on the verge of marrow
those baobab roots.
…………………………..If by tooth not nail
I judge a hunt those dogs in the thick
of shamed men will be kicked by him
who’s for ward pride; for it was him I’m sure
who left a knife on my kitchen table, to do
what with, a knife on my table
to do what with?
………………………Not the wit
to know, not wise like an owl
that left its blood in a cup for a queen
to find, to make of it a broth
to quiet Henry’s hounds at large
in tangled roots, in tangled roots
at large.
………….And for a finale
we turn to the last page (sane
numbered by mad) where a surly nurse
with ten thumbs is dressing my eyes
with ribbon, an obstreperous rainbow
skipping its maid on the verge of marrow, its maid
on the verge of marrow.

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*

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Bins

Everything
on sale! So what to say
to these burly girls assaulting bins? What
you can’t carry in your cupped hands
leave behind? No way, that’s suicidal & might
prove fatal (unlike those previous attention-seeking
failures).
…………….Leapt
on the count – one – & no time off
for good behaviour. Is it true that a deep plunge
is more effective than a shallow? Yes, obviously. So why
evoke culpability when wives one & three were left high
& dry? – so abundant
their sorrow, so loud their prayers, but would they pay
to hear me print a book? – Hallelujahs
on every page, enough voice
for six choirs (if you’re going to do daft
do it right): sleights of idiom
that mind harm, those begged comparisons palmed off
as apparitional insinuations that buried
the dead of Haiti with the dead of Togo. What
a mix up! – a scramble for place
as house music for God buffs swells
with bloat. Jesus, just a smidgeon
of decorum, please; I can’t take much more
of this uproar, these girls with their celebrity screams
mounting me, a ridden god; if only I was I’d replace
everything that’s for sale with everything that’s not.

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ABOUT THE POET

PHILIP HAMMIAL has had twenty-six collections of poetry published. His poems have appeared in 25 poetry anthologies and in 105 journals in twelve countries. He has represented Australia at eight international poetry festivals, most recently at Medellin, Colombia (2012) and Granada, Nicaragua (2014). In 2009-10 he was the Australian writer-in-residence at the Cité International des Arts in Paris.

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