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   Jacket 34 — October 2007        link Jacket 34 Contents page        link Jacket Homepage

Philip Hammial

Two poems:


This piece is about 2 printed pages long.
It is copyright © Philip Hammial and Jacket magazine 2007.


Big wise cattle don’t
jell. Does hunting? If
you could tell me what I purportedly
did away with I might possibly

own it. Be rid at last of this
female persona–corset snipped off, manly
chest exposed, etc. But, wait, is this
what I want, this macho image? No, better

back off from it & come at them, the cattle,
from a more compassionate angle, make them
women’s business: Dear ladies, it

would please me immensely if we in corsets
penitentially tight could kneel together & give thanks
for the wisdom of cattle.


To the tell of a river
is what I wake to. For weeks now
I’ve been wanting to use the image
of a camel caravan with a corpse
in every pannier. Which I’ve
just done (who the dead are & where
they’re being taken of no consequence). Will
an almightily-conceived image such as the above
become prophecy, realizable in the everyday world?
We’ll have to wait & see. Meanwhile
from pillar to post Lawrence is running
amok because he’s upset: the wig
that he’d like to wear is the wig
that I am wearing because, obviously,
I’m the most deserving (if not the prettiest). In
actual fact we, Lawrence & I, are simply two men
who each day scrape together a pile, sometimes
large, sometimes small, & say, look,
isn’t it marvelous what we’ve done! & lived
(no caravan on the horizon) to tell the tale
that the river tells, or seems to,
when I wake to it.

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