Me and My Son MC
by Stephanie Barbé Hammer

This started as a joke I told in a class
Of 150 people to see if anyone was
Listening — I said MC Hammer was
My son by my first marriage and
I taught him everything he knew about
140 people laughed
but 10 looked at me, whispering
Ever since I’ve wished him
A happy birthday on twitter
And he always says

PHOTO: Singer M.C. Hammer, circa early 1990s.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I loved MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” video when it first came out, and I used to try to dance to it at home, even though I couldn’t do any of the moves. I loved his style and the parachute pants and the women in their sports bras, and the whole vibe of his videos and his look. When a student asked me before class if it was Hammertime yet, I started thinking how cool it would be if MC and I were related. Later I started telling students in large classes that I was his mother, just to see what would happen. Most people laughed but there were always a couple that sort of squinted at me. I felt very joyous at the thought of being related to such a cool person. And one time on Twitter I did wish him a happy birthday from his fake Jewish mother, and he did indeed reply. As a writer I am always looking — especially because of my advancing age — for the exuberance that artists like MC put out there, and by expressing it, share.


Stephanie Barbé Hammer
is a four- (or is it five-?) time Pushcart Prize nominee in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry categories. She has published a chapbook (Sex with Buildings), a full-length poetry collection (How Formal?), and a magical realist novel (The Puppet Turners of Narrow Interior), in addition to a bunch of scholarly articles and books. She is working on a collaborative poetry collection with John Brantingham and Charlotte San Juan and she is writing a new novel very slowly because writing a novel is really hard. She divides her time between Coupeville, Washington, and Los Angeles, and likes working and dancing in a bathrobe and sweatpants.

PHOTO: Stephanie Barbé Hammer recreating dance move she pretend-taught MC Hammer. Shot in Coupeville, December 23, 2015.