Mortal Weekend


The ground might rise
beneath you, like bread.

Things might descend
to meet you, as if

borne by the voice
of somebody very tall.

I might wish I had one
mortal weekend,

things like laundry
and coffee and ramen,

the dreamt-up shape
of Otto on the couch,

the dark low hills
of Brigitte Engerer’s hair;
she plays Schumann’s Carnaval.

I might wish something
engaged me like a fisherman’s

alternative to faith,
anathema to my cloudy wandering.

An inversion of need,
brought up like the wreck of a car
from a lake,

when metal cedes to
sloughing oxide

hair becomes liquid,
we become aged;
this is my dream
of what a nice summit
might look like.




I don’t care much for dreams.
Last night I dreamt
that my ex-boyfriend

was choking me to death with a cord.

I grasped at it with my hands,
thrust my fingers in the space between
the cord and my neck,

that slippery, pliant cartilage
beneath the skin
so much like an uncooked chicken.

He had locked into rage mode
when I answered him
probably not.

And the article that I have chosen
to believe
says that dreams are
entirely without meaning.

I am so comforted, and also
not surprised, because
the way I feel
is engine oil
pooled in a parking lot.

Superficial, manifest,
holographic byproduct
of forward-
propulsion and

less commonly, of reversals.

I keep no secrets from myself.
Probably not, I said and he threw
a plate and, bizarrely, a shot glass.

Probably not, and his rage
took wing, moved from within
the body to without, like


Squid in its Own Ink


I used to listen to Jacques Brel Is Alive and Singing in Paris.

Now I sit on the couch with a towel in my lap,
I eat rice and beans, find the day exhausting.
I think about godlessness, and about

how wisteria
is in a constant state of diving-down,
or of descending, like rain.
Wisteria: always awaiting
Hyades, or a girl that needs
a pretty photo taken.

In an odd twist, I am informed that
Jacques Brel is Alive and Singing in Paris
is very hard to find, and my copy
has joined the angels
someplace opaque and unknown to me.

First found in a stagnant closet
before my adulthood, last lost and
I am here now with my dishrag and
little phial of alcohol.

I clean the apartment with vigor and eros.

And life is small,
suitable for daily use.
It withstands heat,
it sometimes proffers pleasures:

The hot blackness of night,
hot bar of soap in the shower,
next morning.

Summer showed up yesterday
squawking even at midnight, among
our resting cloud of lime-tone parrots,

and I played Jacques Brel through the television,

what that might make the neighbors


Allison Hummel is based on the east side of Los Angeles. Her work has recently appeared in Gasher, A Velvet Giant, and Anatolios, and is forthcoming in Counterclock, Anastamos, and Sorority Mansion.