Monday, July 31, 2023


“For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
~From “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman

The mitochondrial needle stitches green into a leaf
that branches and blooms into a forest of plant.
In Gotham, the hooker steps off the curb

into a sea of a hundred million tailor-made sins.
I cannot sift them all or know in this flesh and flow
where one ends and another begins

any more than I can divide raindrops that fall in sheets
to cleanse the bruising sidewalks and sloping gutters
that form a single grid of a thousand streets.

The stardust of Hera’s milk spans the sky,
an entwined ribbon of nuclear fire and fusion
giving birth to chalk-white bones in your legs and mine.

Together, we walk as one,
stitching days hyphenated by the rising and falling sun
into a single stream, a book with a single theme of time.

There is the you of me and the me of you,
a bonnie lad and a more-than-fetching lass
bound as an epic poem from lasting leaves of grass.

~William Hammett

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Monday, July 24, 2023

Sacred Moment

Sitting in the kitchen, I look out the window
at the green meadow, the tree line, the mountain range beyond.
The scene is painted freshly each morning with a new color palette

by an impressionist who has a vested interest in the landscape.
The clock in the downstairs hall chimes,
a call to prayer as I sip morning coffee,

added inspiration lest my brain show up late.
In the poplar, two birds debate philosophy,
St. Thomas versus Hawking, the wind of their debate

flapping leaves like Buddhist prayer flags.
The rising sun changes angles of light by degrees,
and I am bathed in a yellow beam

for a minute or two, or perhaps eternity.
It is good to be here, transfigured for a sacred moment in time.
Did I mention that it was good to be here?

~William Hammett

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Friday, July 14, 2023


The impossible glaciers, the icy slopes,
the serpentine path through the Himalayas—
they fall behind me like a season
that has outlived its days and dies.
The snow blindness, white corridors of darkness,
are cured by the High Lama’s touch
and ministrations in the Valley of the Blue Moon.
The Sherpas make camp while doves,
bells flying on their tail feathers,
serenade the air and pluck the Aeolian harp.
I sit in the library of the grand palace
surrounded by the holy incense of silence,
leatherbound volumes sweeping away
the confusion of distant megabytes.
I read of millennia’s glories and delights,
the madding crowd fading, fading
like the harbor’s last light
before sunrise ruffles new water
with Florentine wavelets of gold.
I lay my glasses on the desk, rise,
and put a kettle on for evening tea.
Later, I go for a walk up and down the block,
the wonders of Shangri-La spinning in my mind
before I ascend the porch stairs, weary,
lock the door, and set the ticking clock.

~William Hammett

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Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Mona Lisa and the Buddha

It is a square peg in a round hole,
the fat, ascetic Buddha
with a barely-perceptible smile
spreading across his lips
like a slender crescent moon.
He was as crooked and gaunt
as the walking stick
that led him to break
and collapse like kindling
beneath the sumptuous shade
of the wise and merciful bodhi tree.
Perhaps he had calories
hidden beneath his saffron robe,
a Hershey bar with or without nuts.
Perhaps he was a puffer fish
bloated with enlightenment
when kundalini turned his spine
into a bipolar serpent of fire.
Maybe there was a wrinkle in time,
a wrinkle in space,
the Buddha stealing away
from his karma at midnight
for a tryst with Mona Lisa
in a Florence feather bed,
for she is smiling too, barely,
and hiding an extra pound or two
beneath her Florentine dress.
Here is how it all went down:
the lovers consumed tea and oranges,
chocolate kisses smeared like a swoosh
on their thin and lusty lips.
In the absence of take-your-own-photo booths,
they sat for wandering artists
skilled in paint and bronze.
Oh, what fireworks and transcendence transpired
between the sheets to produce images
of the eternal, smiling afterglow
when the sacred Ganges
made it with the frescoed Renaissance.
What a show.
What a show.

~William Hammett

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