Wednesday, June 28, 2023

The Carpenter

The carpenter chooses carefully from his tool chest,
the event horizon from which he creates a universe
of wood measured and sanded into divine satisfaction.
He sits by a brook to consult a blueprint of dreams

and other ethereal load-bearing schemes.
I rifle through the overflow drawer,
the one that contains bric-a-brac that has no phylum,
an Ellis Island of the immigrant mind.

My fingers fumble for pens, glue, stamps, rubber bands,
and something akin to a blade, that Queen of the South
who rules all endeavors to build our days
ever since cavemen sharpened rock and flint and wooden stakes.

I can find no order, no palace of consequence.
Defeated, I sit with my back against a tree
by the stream that flows from Pangea
to the fertile crescent of my neocortex.

The house takes shape before my focused eyes, serene,
like a Buddha’s gaze into preternatural skies.
And there, as if by magic, you are already seated in the attic.
I stand, ready to climb the stairs.

~William Hammett

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Friday, June 23, 2023

Petal-Yellow Mantras

The audacity of blue sky,
the mystery of deep water,
the pride of certain weeds
to defy all odds
with petal-yellow mantras,
claiming veins
in the concrete—
for the deep glory of color
let all sins be forgiven.

In the alley,
the old black man
plays a cheap guitar,
sings about weeds
and wildflowers,
about Lazarus running naked
through the lilies
though the grave forever
calls him back.

~William Hammett

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Wednesday, June 14, 2023


It turns like a Buddhist prayer wheel,
clear liquid psalms sifted by the mill
that makes glassy mountain snow

into the parsed and perennial workings of the world.
I turn and turn and turn,
catching the breeze with lustful lungs

to make royal rain and a breath of beatific sky
into the ceremony of peaceful Taoist tea.
The earth spins like a gyroscope Grail,

catching electromagnetic light and solar wind,
golden orisons from a Pentecost of sun,
a ballet dancer whirling in the rhapsodies of love,

the grandest paroxysm of all, the budding leaf unfurled,
in the workings of what we perceive as world.
The waterwheel turns the seasons

while the moon makes gossamer loops
so that time and tide can be calibrated and sung.
Let all things turn and turn in due time,

for only the effortless workings of the world
can transform the infant vowels of creation
into an epic poem with perfect meter and rhyme.

~William Hammett

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Monday, June 5, 2023


I walk down Fifth Avenue
past steel and glass,
the towers of Babel,
the stone canyon hiding my shadow.
Farther along,
strip malls carve the land
into financial advice,
Italian restaurants, and urgent care,
no appointment needed.

A hundred steps
take me to middle America,
a single stoplight
anchoring the post office,
the feed store, the mercantile
rich with the smell
of khaki and denim.

A white-haired man
sitting on an iron bench
carves a wooden doll
and points to the horizon
and grasslands where the noonday sun
turns the blades silver.
Wildflowers cling to my ankles
before I walk a yellow dirt road
in a scene from North by Northwest.

I step into the adjacent field,
a maze of corn
and drooping green leaves.
There is a waterfall
and a dark, inviting forest.
Crickets and sparrows
speak in tongues.
Holiness abounds.
I sit in moist grass and wait.
Some passerby wearing a robe
will surely come this way.

~William Hammett

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