Thursday, June 24, 2021

Message in a Bottle: The Memory of You, 1976

It is from an earlier chapter
written decades ago, a page
penned before Jimmy Carter and Nixon’s ghost
would briefly take the stage.

It was all real, not an idle diversion
or sabbatical from the courses I’d run.
No, young nymph, you were my dear,
and I trust you knew my love

was palm to palm and always near
wherever we took our sport:
the Quarter, the lake, some dark tavern
or theater in which our fingers were laced and lapped,

if you catch my drift.
You always knew my inner gears,
the turning of unspoken words,
some fleeting thought not yet formed by lips

otherwise engaged in moist red dances
or afternoon gin and tonic sips.
And I knew your eddies and currents as well.
Not everyone can cast such a synchronistic spell.

We could have talked in pidgin for hours
and always known the warp and woof,
known what was yours and mine,
ut mostly ours.

I had written a much longer poem,
a message in a bottle
with all the whys and wherefores
on a parchment in palimpsest,

a metaphysical conceit
that unlocked all locked doors,
but what purpose would be served?
Since you could not wait on time and tide forever,

it is fitting that all righteousness be observed.
I occasionally sit in an abbey nave,
quite alone, counting saints.
St. Peter says my eye to you should not now roam.

St. Jude whispers that you, with grace,
have found a shining hearth and home.
I am glad, and tell him so,
for I could wish no less

than spinning wheels and looms
for one whose tapestry was so rich
and held the promise of gold
in each and every stitch.

My lost horizon will always have a bookmark
to hold the page, the months that passed that year,
but your couplet deserved a fitting rhyme
when my meter stumbled and lost its cadence for a time.

Just know this, my ever-cherished love and friend:
you were indeed a rainbow coming around the bend
in my once upon a time. No less.
No less.

~William Hammett

William Hammett: A Brief Bio

William Hammett has been a ghostwriter and editor for twenty years, and the link to his professional website may be found in the sidebar on this site. He has also written novels, poetry, and short fiction under his own name. He received Masters degrees in English and Education from the University of New Orleans and taught writing and literature at the University of New Orleans, St. Mary's Dominican College, Delgado Community College, and Archbishop Chapelle High School.

Hammett published short fiction and poetry in numerous literary journals around the country, including American Poets & Poetry, Poem, The Rockford Review, Pegasus, Twilight Ending, Parnassus Literary Journal, Black Buzzard Review, Lynx, Rose and Thorn, Poetry, and dozens of others. He edited the Gold Newsletter (Blanchard and Co.,) and wrote color pieces for weekly New Orleans newspapers such as Figaro.

He wrote the novel John Lennon and the Mercy Street Cafe, which was read by former members of the Beatles' inner circle. It was taught in courses on magical realism at several universities around the United States. His latest collaboration is American Coup with U.S. Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver. The mass market paperback edition will be released on June 29, 2021. Some of his literary and philosophical influences are Tom Robbins, Kurt Vonnegut, Teilhard de Chardin, Billy Collins, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and novelist and family friend Walked Percy.

William Hammett is cousin of legendary mystery novelist Dashiell Hammett. Their common ancestor is Mckelvie Hammett. Mckelvie had several children. One of his sons gave birth to William's line, and another gave birth to Dashiell's. Both lines originated in Maryland. Hammett began reading detective fiction as a child, and was encouraged by Perry Mason author Erle Stanley Gardner to pursue writing when he was older.

Hammett is a patron of St. Joseph Abbey (Covington, LA) and Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans. He advocates for mental health, the elderly, environmental responsibility, political accountability, and the fight against world hunger. He has written extensively about (and for) people who have survived and extricated themselves from extremely abusive and dysfunctional relationships. His brother is a Benedictine priest who has for fifty years created ministries for the needy and marginalized in southeastern Louisiana.

His son, Patrick Hammett, majored in classical guitar at SLU. He then received a Masters degree and state licensing and certification in marriage and family therapy and is currently clinical director at Longbranch Wellness in Abita, Louisiana, and Covington, Louisiana, where his areas of expertise include drug rehab and suicide prevention. Like his father, he is a musician and plays classical, folk, rock, blues, and jazz.

Hammett has ghostwritten for Hollywood celebrities both in front and behind the camera (e.g., "Everyone Loves Raymond," "The Simpsons," and The Wolf of Wall Street), politicians (U.S. senators and congressmen and congresswomen, White House staffers, etc.), CEOs, professional athletes, and published authors of fiction and nonfiction.

Hammett is proud of the contribution that his family has made to the culture of New Orleans. His uncle, Louis Nicholas Hammett, was chief architect for the Louisiana State Capital in Baton Rouge, Charity Hospital of New Orleans, and New Orleans Lakefront Airport. His Uncle Harry (Henry Hammett) started the law firm of Hammett, Leake, and Hammett.

Hammett's grandparents, Joseph and Bernadine Hammett, made significant contributions to the funding for construction of Loyola University and Holy Name of Jesus Church on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. Their names may be seen on two stain glass windows in the church. Joseph owned a grocery store and lumber yard on St. Andrew Street, and his wife Bernadine was a principal shareholder in Faubacher Brewery.

Hammett recently signed on to help promote the song and website Revolution 1X1 (Revolution 1X1), a song by musician, singer, and songwriter Noel Paul Stookey. The song seeks to create a world that is ruled by simple tolerance, kindness, and friendliness achieved one person at a time. The track is featured on Stookey's latest album/CD/streaming services (Just Causes), a compilation of fifteen songs. Each song, based on its theme, is linked to a different nonprofit charity associated with Stookey's political and social activism over the years.

The elder Hammett's interests include classic literature, astronomy, music, the guitar, lucid dreaming, theology, Ken Burns documentaries, swimming, philanthropy, film, politics, vinyl albums, and the many cultural influences of New Orleans, Louisiana. His goal is to live to 105.

Hammett lives near the waters of Lake Pontchartrain with his cat Munkastrap.

Message in a Bottle: The Memory of You, 1976

It is from an earlier chapter written decades ago, a page penned before Jimmy Carter and Nixon’s ghost would briefly take the stage. It wa...