I live down the street
Kathleen Hammock

Dear old woman with the wrinkled apple cheeks,

You don't know me
I live down the street
But I see you from time to time
Scrambling about in the daisies
So I hope you don't mind if I write.

You always seem so animated
Sweeping your front porch
Hustle Bustle Hustle Bustle
Your tiny blue eyes darting about
Like a little bird looking for bugs.

You like color
Reds and Blues and Yellows and Greens
Lively skirts swishing in time to the tune
Whistle Whistle Hum Hum
You sing

Your cheeks are weathered
Like orchard apples
Left in the cellar too long
But you sing.

I guess that is why I'm writing.

I heard about Joe
I heard about your Joe
Never came back from the war
I heard you waited a long time
By the train.

Then one day you put on your colors
Pulled your silver wisps in place with shiny pins
And began to sing

I just wanted you to know,

I'm sorry about Joe.

Kathleen Hammock

I can chuck a rock
Smack dab on yur cheekbone
And you ain't never gonna see me comin
Mostly people don't
See me that is
Cause I was raised in the backwoods
Rattlesnake Hollow along Black Bottom Creek.

Ain't nobody pays attention to a skinny white girl no how
So I got to make um see me
That's where the rocks come in.

Mama says I ought to be a lady
And they don't chuck rocks
They sew and stuff
Hell fire and damnation
If that don't sound just plain tiresome.

But it don't matter much anyways
Folk don't come round here lookin for ladies
If they come a'tall, they's comin fer trouble
And it ain't mama's sewin they's lookin fer.

But that's ok
Let um come
Cause I'm a rock chuckin son of a gun.

Titania and Bottom
Kathleen Hammock

Brickdale's A Midsummer Night's Dream

How touching the scene of Titania and Bottom
Their secret moments of love
As seen in Brickdale's art
Of Shakespeare's Dream,
In a woodland glade
Leaning against the trunk
Under the apple blossoms,
Surrounded in ferns of lush emerald green
And the shimmer of a mushroom's fairy ring,
Enchanted Titania, under the flower's magic drops
Has fallen head over heels
For a dullard called Bottom.

But it is not for Titania and Bottom
To be counted among the world's great lovers
The renown romances in history
Or the great literature of passion,
Not for them Paris and Helen's Trojan War
Not for them Romeo and Juliet's embrace with death
Nor Pyramus and Thisbe's bloody veil
Or the story of Antony and Cleopatra
Rome embracing Egypt

Limbs intertwined
Until the serpent's kiss,
Or the tragic tale of Tristan and Isolde
The dreaded black sail
And the broken heart,
Not even to be remembered for their war of wits
Like Scarlet and Rhett
In their stormy love disguised as hate.

No, not for Midsummer Night's Titania and Bottom
To be the romance plot of all time,
Because the queen of the fairies
By a sprite's naughty game
Has fallen hopelessly in love
With an ass-headed fool,
Who would rather chew hay
On this dreamy summer day
Than make love to the queen
In the grass where she lay.

Old Witch
Kathleen Hammock


There's an old witch down the street with an old witch broom, and an old witch hat. She has an old witch eyebrow, and an old witch cat, and old witch bottles full of old witch goo. There's another old witch around the corner with old witch boots, and an old witch toad. She has an old witch big toe, and an old witch limp, and an old witch closet full of old witch bones. I'm not sure which old witch is worse because there's another old witch up the hill with old witch boobs, and an old witch tooth. She has an old witch tree-house with an old witch tub, and old witch chairs stuffed with old witch hair. There are three old witches with old witch brooms old witch hats old witch eyebrows old witch cats old witch goo old witch boots old witch toads old witch big toes old witch limps old witch bones old witch boobs old witch teeth old witch tree-houses old witch tubs and old witch hair chairs. Don't worry, that's only if you go down the street . . . or around the corner . . . or up the hill. That's only if you visit us here at witch-ville.

Kathleen Hammock

November 22, 1963

1616 Crescent Street isn’t there anymore
Just a crumbling rubble, a few dingy white boards to acknowledge its passing
The pink hollyhocks that grew up near the fence are long since gone too
The wire fence, twisted and rusted, still clings to a few splintered posts
But the Mississippi, old muddy, hasn’t failed
Just down the hill and over the tracks it still winds
And I can still sit on its sandy banks and remember

I was five years old then, and Jackie O in pink, smiled
The black limo, so slow and smooth turned onto Main Street
He waved and the crowd cheered, pushing forward to see him
The limo reached Elm Street, but by then he was slumped over

And Mom on the vinyl sofa, surrounded in green wall paper, began to cry
The old black and white television buzzed too, in shock
I sat down, and I cried too
Because something horrible had just happened
And things might never be the same at 1616 Crescent Street

Out the window I could see the pink hollyhocks
They were splattered with blood