rhizomes.06 spring 2003

Surveillance & Period Piece
Philip Hammial


From my standing box
to my sitting box
in one quick movement unnoticed
by those at the window, their gaze
momentarily diverted by the antics
of Aunt Helen whose notorious ability
to pluck a coin from the edge of a table
with the lips of her cunt enough
to keep me safe
until next time.

Period Piece

Where was it -- Beirut -- that I did with fatima
what I'd never done with Helen? Room service
with its naked bellhops menacing
with Kalashnikovs, a piece of the action
usually enough to send them on their way but
after a week we'd had our fill. Nothing
for it but to sweep the cat and the pajamas and
the piano under the carpet & leave
without a trace. Carpet that, flying,
followed us to Capri, riches to rags
while time ran out, our debut in a live show
where we milked a bus load of russian tourists dry
with ten minutes of dirty dancing that tipped
the scales in our favor for a day or two & then: Waste
Masnagement! -- our contortions on video sans fee, Fatima
in on the deal I thought & she casting aspersions
on my honesty which, admittedly,
was questiuonable. Where
was it -- Naples? -- that I said my sad farewell, Air Italia
to Harare, Helen out on the tarmac
to welcome me home.