by Stephanie Barbé Hammer

“Absolutely it’s frustrating
“In his own house no hope:
“He’s a con man she’s the con man
“You buy it manipulative
“I’m 40 she’s 22
“What’s that going to
“mean when
“She almost got him scripted
“and by the end he thanks her?
“She’s a lot of fun?
“She conveys that ”’Not what I want–
“’I’m not interested in that
“Any more/Any longer’ leverage then
“We sat for 10 minutes
“In a different room
“What would we say
“What would we do?
“Go for the toxic father”
He explained further.

SOURCE: “Christian Bale Spills on His Chemistry with Jennifer Lawrence” by Shanee Edwards,

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Christian Bale can be both arresting and repulsive, and the film American Hustle reminded me of my summers working part-time in the Plaza Hotel in the mid-70s, where women did indeed wear clothes like that, and I had a friend with a particularly heinous comb-over like Bale’s character. I like how the emptiness of the interview can get turned on its head with the right amount of exquisite corpse word-shuffling, and I like how desperate the words become – linking the poem with the subject matter and tone of the film.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie Barbé Hammer is a four-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize in fiction and nonfiction. Her poetry collection How Formal? was published in 2014 with Spout Hill Press. Her novel The Puppet Turners of Narrow Interior is forthcoming with Urban Farmhouse Press, and she is always working on stories, poems, and the ever-elusive perfect tweet. She divides her time between Los Angeles and Coupeville, Washington, and lives with her husband Larry Behrendt. Visit her at