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Hum for the Hammer

From: New England Review
Volume 33, Number 2, 2012
p. 100 | 10.1353/ner.2012.0043

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

You will often be held,
unable to hold back,
and it will be necessary
to get used to the downward swing,
anticipate the strike and love it,
if for no other reason than to love
the upward swing and sturdy
rhythm that accompanies the two.

Be hickory or ash, straight-grained
and strong enough to survive overstrikes—
one miss could snap your neck.
May sandpaper be the rough
hand that rubs you smooth.
Be carved until the end of you is a wedge—
you already intuit the precision it takes
to fit well enough to not be dislodged.

Be a length of carbon-rich steel,
2,350 degrees Fahrenheit in the open flame
before you are positioned between
two dies, let the pressure have
all of you until you are formed.
Have the flash cut from you;
excess is excessive. Be cooled in water,
not air. Don't breathe. Drown.

Jamaal May  

Jamaal May is the author of Hum (Alice James Books, 2013), which won the 2012 Beatrice Hawley Award, as well as two poetry chapbooks (The God Engine, 2009, and The Whetting of Teeth, 2012). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Michigan Quarterly Review, Callaloo, Indiana Review, and Blackbird, among other journals, anthologies, films, and broadcasts. A recipient of scholarships and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Cave Canem, and Callaloo, Jamaal is a graduate of the Warren Wilson M.F.A. Program for Writers and is the 2011-2013 Stadler Fellow at Bucknell University.

Copyright © 2012 Middlebury College Publications
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Jamaal May. "Hum for the Hammer." New England Review 33.2 (2012): 100-100. Project MUSE. Web. 27 Jan. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
May, J.(2012). Hum for the Hammer. New England Review 33(2), 100. Middlebury College. Retrieved January 27, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Jamaal May. "Hum for the Hammer." New England Review 33, no. 2 (2012): 100-100. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed January 27, 2013).
T1 - Hum for the Hammer
A1 - Jamaal May
JF - New England Review
VL - 33
IS - 2
SP - 100
EP - 100
PY - 2012
PB - Middlebury College
SN - 2161-9131
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/new_england_review/v033/33.2.may.html
N1 - Volume 33, Number 2, 2012
ER -


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