Philip Hammial

(1937 - / Detroit, Michigan / United States)

Tony's Museum - Poem by Philip Hammial

Tony has opened a museum of madness. He’s persuaded the administrators to lease one of the rooms in the basement of the Museum of Natural History – a huge, high-ceilinged room in which the displays – in glass cases & cabinets – are arranged in the form of a maze. In these cases & cabinets are objects, strange, often sinister looking objects that Tony has brought back from his many forays into that place called madness. There are also maps, charts, drawings & journals, all with ‘scientific’ explanations neatly printed on white cards in a Gothic script. In one of the dead ends of the maze, behind a thick black velvet curtain, the museum visitor encounters a mob of tiny people, not dwarves, but tiny people about two feet high. They ask the visitor for an arm which, if given, will be viciously fought over, the visitor lucky to get it back again. And the admission price – only $1.50, which may explain why there are hundreds of people waiting to get in, a line that extends down a long corridor, up a flight of stairs to the entrance foyer, out into the weather – it’s pouring buckets – & down the footpath (a sea of umbrellas) to the end of the block.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 8, 2012

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