Philip Hammial has had 22 collections of poetry published, two of which were short-listed for the Kenneth Slessor Prize. He was in residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris from August 2009 through January 2010. 



We should concern for this affair. Affair
of there ought to be some in kind who refuse to accept
a stand-in (not the first killing that dumped its government)—
white public lovers who dealt as best they could with the spellers
who encroached upon Madame’s overly-ripe sensibilities & were not
in the least bit successful, for, look, there, a naked someone
actualised so close you can smell her as though
she was dead but in fact is still alive, just back
from a holiday in Egypt, or Senegal, or China (Clarity,
some help here) like one of those debutantes who extract privilege
with impossibly dainty fingers, morsels
tidy, morsels teeming with, Thanksgiving just
around the corner blowing its horn, strutting its turkey, “When
the saints come marching in” it’s Madame who leads them, baton
twirling, bobby socks dream girl, 1954, I wasn’t in that marching band;
if only I had been I might not have come to this: my life
as a fetish not what it’s cracked up to be, can’t just
walk up to someone & ask for a good spanking, call it
one for the road or one for the angels in the fountain who fall
like hail on the replica of my hard-won grace temporarily won
when I took the hand of a gentle killer & we slipped through
the gate, eluding the Big Boys, the thugs who guard
the Chocolate Farm, a bouquet in my other hand (how
it came to be there I’ll never know) for Madame who refused
to accept it, our affair long over she insisted with a smile
that she’d acquired in Egypt, or Senegal, or China (Clarity,
some help here).


I’ll have it—the courage to wear what I kill. It
being difficult if not impossible to say at this point
in the proceedings when I ended up in bed
with the wrong family because my admirers
(that motley crowd) are demanding one of my fly-ups. Molly,
have you seen my wings? Now that I’ve finally mastered
the art of remembering where I’ve left my glasses
I keep losing my wings. At least with glasses
I can see to find them, no more groping around
on the floor on my hands & knees. Wrong, as in family?
Wrong. Wrong as in now that I’m up & away (she found
my wings in the oven where I left them to dry) at 30,000 feet
the oxygen masks have dropped & begun to sway
hypnotically, a dozen passengers in a voodoo trance
dancing obscenely in the aisles & the rest engrossed
in a past lives therapy session from which they’ll emerge
as clean as scrubbed boys for Sunday school. Me,
I’m with the voodoo mob, ridden, as we all are,
by Mami-Wata, the mermaid who, when she’s finished
with me will leave me with a small token
of her appreciation—the courage to wear what I kill.