Archives for category: ME, IN A HAT

by Lindsey Martin-Bowen

I didn’t expect this frilly thing
to take me in.
Maroon ostrich feathers
cascade into pink
and wine-dark roses.
Black lace hides a broad brim.
Perhaps the ghost of Edith Head
or Barbara Crist possesses me.
Propped on my head,
it sends me to wander Dublin streets
with James Joyce.
We nod at Molly Bloom
when we pass the hat shop
in those days of bustles
and Victorian lace.

So I buy it.
Lifting my chin, I stretch my neck
and arch my back
to wear this heady thing,
this hat,
and am, in fact, reborn.

PHOTO: The author in her hat.

SOURCE: “Hat” appeared in the author’s collection Inside Virgil’s Garage (Chatter House Press 2013), and was first published in I-70 Review (2011).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Between five and six years ago, I bought a hat with the ostrich plumes and gaudy designs of the late nineteenth/early twentieth Century. A month later, reflecting upon the frivolous purchase inspired me to write the poem “Hat.” Later, “Hat” became a character in “When Hat Dated a Beret.” She also had an affair with a Stetson, but I cannot find the hard copy that poem, lost when a vicious Windows 8.1 update caused my computer to crash.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lindsey Martin-Bowen’s third collection, CROSSING KANSAS with Jim Morrison (in chapbook form) was a semi-finalist in the QuillsEdge Press 2015-2016 Chapbook Contest. In late 2016, Writer’s Digest gave her poem “Vegetable Linguistics” an Honorable Mention in its Eighty-Fifth Annual Contest (Non-rhyming Poetry Category). “Bonsai Tree Gone Awry” in her second poetry collection, Inside Virgil’s Garage (Chatter House Press 2013) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The book was also a runner-up in the 2015 Nelson Poetry Book Award. McClatchy Newspapers named her first collection, Standing on the Edge of the World (Woodley Press) one of the Ten Top Poetry Books of 2008. Her poems have run in New Letters, I-70 Review, Thorny Locust, Amethyst Arsenic, Bare Root Review, Coal City Review, Flint Hills Review, Rockhurst Review, 11 anthologies, and other literary magazines. She taught at University of Missouri-Kansas City for 18 years and teaches at MCC-Longview.

World’s Giantest
by Scott Redmond

I like to wear the tiny sombrero that comes with a bottle of tequila,
And pretend to be the world’s giantest Mexican.

“Look at me,”I bellow
As giants cannot speak normally, they can only bellow,
“I am the world’s giantest Mexican.
You can tell that because this sombrero looks so small on me, and
Sombreros, we all know, are the world’s giantest hats.
As such, to make such a large hat look so tiny, I must be a giant.
Why, just think how tiny a bowler hat would become, were I to wear
     such a thing
And become the world’s giantest Englishman.”

I know what you may be thinking,
“That man looks to be normal-sized, but wearing a noticeably
     small sombrero.”
However, that is merely because you are all standing a very long way
     away from me
And I am so tall that even stood on the horizon I still seem to be an
     averagely sized man.
That is how perspective works, my tiny friends, or are our eyes too small
     to have developed depth perception?

“As the world’s giantest Mexican, I have my enemies, do not think that
     I do not.
One such fiend once tried to build a wall to keep me out
But I merely stepped over it,
That’s how tall I am.”

Soon, however, the doorbell rings
And I must remove my hat, tiny though it may be,
And return to the world of the average.
How is the weather down here?

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As I do not drink myself, a friend of mine, while drinking a bottle of tequila straight, thought I needed something to “keep me occupied” so gave me the tiny sombrero lid to the bottle. I proceeded to act essentially as the poem describes.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Scott “The Redman” Redmond is a comedian, poet, and writer who has performed up and down the Scottish scenes and is renowned for the things for which he is renowned. His greatest achievement, in his own eyes, is his ability to write needlessly vague bios.

Bewitching in My Hat
by Alarie Tennille

Key up the theme song to Jaws.

     Coworkers spot a black triangle
     bobbing past the high cubicle walls.
     Don’t tell me you’ve never worn
     a witch’s hat to work!

Business as usual.

     On any given day at Hallmark,
     you can round a corner and find
     Santa, Maxine, Winnie-the-Pooh,
     or Star Wars characters juxtaposed
     against the museum art on the walls.

A pointy hat beats flat hair.

     Darn! I have a lunch date at a stylish
     French bistro. The hostess seats us
     in the front window.

Tap, tap, tap!

     Shoppers rap on the glass, mouth,
     “Great hat!”

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: I’m standing in front of our house on the day of my adventure (about 2010). In late October, I swap my Facebook profile photo for this pose. I like to think I’d make an excellent Language Arts instructor at Hogwarts.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Hallmark employees are creative with or without a holiday as an excuse, so I wanted to join the Halloween fun. I don’t sew, so my witch’s costume was thrown together at the last minute from things I had at home. I usually wear bright colors, so dressing in all black was enough of a challenge. Because my husband also worked there, he just happened to have the witch’s hat. He bought it for a classroom presentation on how to create spooky lettering


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Alarie Tennille was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She misses the ocean, but loves the writing community she’s found in Kansas City, Missouri. Alarie serves on the Emeritus Board of The Writers Place. Alarie’s poetry collection, Running Counterclockwise, was First Runner Up for the 2015 Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence.  She’s also written a chapbook, Spiraling into Control, and her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Margie, Poetry East, I-70 Review, Midwest Quarterly Review, and Southern Women’s Review. Visit her at


Love to Hate to Wear Hats
by Catherine M. Lamkin

Throughout my life I’ve had a Love to Hate relationship with hats.  My age, geography, the weather, and/or my current hairdo determined whether or not I wore one and just what type of hat I wore. Growing up in New York and going to college in single-digit Boston required hat-wearing.

I can only image my mother trying to get me as a toddler to keep my hat on. Each summer we journeyed to James Island, Charleston, South Carolina, the heart of the Bible Belt, staying at my maternal grandmother’s house.  As a young girl,  I  remember being in awe of the mile-high hat boxes piled on her chifferobe.

I soon  learned  the importance of head coverings in the African American Church. Come Sunday morn, my grandmother, Mattie Smalls, would strut into church like a  peacock with one of the most glamorous hats to match her Sunday dress. This wide-eyed city girl’s immediate family did not attend an African American Church.

On Mother’s Day 2015, my mother Winifred Sanders and i sat together in our church garden. There I am wearing my one and only  “Church Woman Hat.” This hat is special because it was designed by my mother, a professional seamstress; she and I sewed this hat together, cutting and stitching.

The hat was made for a fashion show with the theme Cancer: The Many Colors of You — What Color have you been touched by? Maroon is the color we’ve been touched by. This hat is in honor of my father who died from Multiple myleoma two days before my parents’ 51st wedding anniversary. The color for Multiple myleoma is maroon. So there I was strutting like a peacock in my maroon hat just like my grandmother.

PHOTO: The author and her mother in 2015. Photo by the author’s  brother Michael Davoud Sanders

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Catherine M. Lamkin is an artquilter and fiber artist living in Charleston, South Carolina.

by Paul Brookes

“You’re not wearing that!” our lass says.
“It keeps me bonce warm,” I reply.

“It leaves a line round your head.
Try a beanie. Look a bit modern at least.”

I try a beanie and am reminded
of my Nanna’s tea cosy. At least

I’ll warm the pot. I let the leaves
tumble in my head colouring up

to make my thoughts strong
tasty and refreshing. “It’s a bit

tight,” I say. She replies, “Because your head’s
too big and stuffed with nonsense.”

Here try this snapback. “A baseball cap.”
“No. You wear it with peak at back.”

“How do I keep sun out my eyes?”
She sighs and says, “Wear it how you want.”

PHOTO: The author in his cap.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Strange how marriage becomes a battle around small objects. The whole of the marital agreement and sometimes the passion that in early years you expended in lovemaking is involved in this battle for identity. An.identity that is often a third person, often not physical that is a combination of you both.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Brookes has been writing since he was eleven. He was poetry performer with “Rats for Love” and his work included in Rats for Love: The Book (Bristol Broadsides, 1990). His first chapbook was The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). He has read his work on BBC Radio Bristol and had a creative writing workshop for sixth formers broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live.

Generation Hat
by Mark Rawlins

“You’re not going out wearing that!”
said my son in disgust at my black trilby hat.
“But it’s cool,” I protest, “and stylish and neat,
and heads will turn as I walk down the street.
It makes me look cool, it makes me look flash,
and I wore one like this when I first saw The Clash.”
“The 80s are over,” he said with a glare,
“you’re past it and old, and you’ve lost all your hair.
Someone might see you, one of the crew,
and then they’ll all know I’ve got a sad dad like you.”
So my hat gathers dust on the top shelf,
and it only gets worn when I’m by myself
in front of the mirror, when I realise the truth …
It takes more than a hat to go back to your youth.

PHOTO: The author ranting in a hat, Write Out Loud Sale 2013.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written during a workshop at Macclesfield Writers’ Group, where the stimulus was “an item of clothing.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Rawlins is a grumpy old git who is currently undergoing his third mid-life crisis. He writes and performs poetry in order to vent his anger and frustrations. He has performed his rhyming rants at poetry slams, open mic events, and anywhere else where they’ll let him, across the North West of England and beyond.


by Amanda Forbes Silva

For a long time I believed my Dad was Harry Nilsson. As I grew up, so did the frequency of Dad’s travels. But, I always kept Dad close courtesy of what remained when he was gone. Harry Nilsson. “Lullaby in Ragtime” was our go-to song for sleep-inducing dances, my legs defeated, toes covered by the caps of my footie pajamas.

Dad often donned a tweed newsboy cap similar to Nilsson’s on the cover of A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night. When I saw or heard that album, the lullaby song in particular, I saw and heard my dad, no matter where he was.

But, Nilsson was just the start of my education.

Corporate relocation number three brought us to Michigan, our temporary home — the Holiday Inn. Sharing the same too-starched sheets, my sister and I giggled as Dad crooned “Mack the Knife” along with the crescent-shaped moon on the McDonald’s commercial.

Once in our newly built house, Dad took me horseback riding, giving me another constant in my life. On the drive, I gazed at the seemingly endless rows of Braeburn apple trees as The Band belted out “The Weight.” 

“Is he saying ‘take the load off, Fatty?’” six-year-old me asked.

“Fanny,” Dad responded, smirking.

Relocation five. Dad stood backlit by the green glow of our English landscape, framed by French doors. “Listen to this, you’ll like this guy.” Elton John resonated in my nine-year-old ears, as my finger traced the album’s yellow brick road.

The tracks kept spinning — CCR, Queen, Rod Stewart, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan. None replaced Nilsson. A few days before my college graduation, a package unexpectedly landed at my doorstep. Inside I found a tweed newsboy cap, but no card. Dad let the music speak for him — listen and learn.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo of me and my father was taken right after my graduation from the University of South Carolina in 2004. I’m wearing the hat that my father sent me a few days prior — an exact replica of the one he often wore and that I always associated with with both him and Harry Nilsson. He, as you can tell, borrowed my mortarboard in exchange.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: To borrow a tired but true expression, timing is everything. For me, I often have something in mind that I want to write, and spend countless minutes and hours turning it over in my head, without actually committing a single word to paper. In struggling to determine why I want to write something or what I truly want to say, I write and say nothing.¶ But I know if I keep my eyes open, the avenue will present itself and suddenly that lingering thought, image, or idea becomes more accessible — the lock slides open and I’m granted entry. In this case, I’ve always wanted to write about my father. Perhaps because he is a larger-than-life character, the task has felt daunting. It was the challenge of containing him into a condensed word count in a meaningful way that helped me push the door open a little bit wider and capture a few fleeting moments, which culminated in a lasting lesson for me.


Amanda Forbes Silva
received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2012. Her work has been published in bioStories, later anthologized in bioStories’ Mothers and Other Creatures, Empty Sink, Emrys Journal, The Riding Light Review, and Vine Leaves Literary Journal, later anthologized in The Best of Vine Leaves Literary Journal 2012. She is delighted to have been featured in Silver Birch Press’s “Learning to Drive” Series in April 2016.Interested readers are invited to visit her website:

Only One Hat Fits
by Brenda Davis Harsham

I try on hats,
in stores by the dozen,
but only one fits
my too-big head.
I wear it hiking
by millponds, up hillsides,
along ridge trails
and into the cloud bank.
The tight weave
keeps my face
from burning red
and the brim hugs without
I walk cracked sidewalks
pushing a stroller
stocked with every wipe
and diaper cream.
My daughter’s curls bounce,
her feet kick and she sings
to herself. And me.
My hat brim gets dark,
then darker.
My daughter grows out
of her stroller,
and we sell it on craigslist.
I feel a pang for its loss.
I explore disc golfing
in a hat, slam into low
branches. Stuffs into
a backpack, so light.
My hat brim stains darken.
I try on hats again.
No other hat fits
my too-big head.
I can’t give up my
favorite hat, despite
its yellowing appearance.
I throw out holey socks and
stained dishtowels. I sell my
daughter’s bike trailer and
her stroller. But nothing
can make me give up
my hat. Nope. Nothing.

PHOTO: The author in her hat atop Mount Killington, Vermont.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I fit into men’s hats, but unfortunately they don’t make ladies’ hats in men’s sizes. I’ll keep trying on hats, until I find one like it. Or I’ll wear my hat until it frays into oblivion.


Brenda Davis Harsham
lives and works in New England. Her poetry and prose have been published in on-line literary websites or journals including Silver Birch Press, The Writing Garden, and The Paperbook Collective. One of her poems won First Place in NY Literary Magazine’s Awake Best Poetry Contest and is forthcoming in NY Literary Magazine’s Awake anthology. Another poem is forthcoming in the Best of Today’s Little Ditty Anthology.

by Kelley White

and my parents dressed up as hippies
for a party at Penny Pitou’s

I painted my mother’s legs with
Daisies—they were always better than mine

and my father wore a Prince Valiant wig–
in all the pictures he’s grinning with a gap in his teeth
I don’t remember him having

they did the mashed potato
he never moved his feet

and three days later all us kids rode our bikes
down to the grange hall

to see a whole van of r e a l hippies
buying bread and gas at the village store

I went out and bought a floppy felt hat just like
the girls wore and stuck six chicken feathers
in the band and started carrying a guitar

I couldn’t play

SOURCE: First appeared in 2005 in an issue of Pegasus Review focused on parents.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: That hat, Hanover, New Hampshire (1973).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Yes, I’m an aging hippy. I finally gave the hat away when I was turning 60, though I did let my hair grow long again.

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Pediatrician Kelley White worked in inner city Philadelphia and now works in rural
 New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in journals, including Exquisite Corpse, Rattle, and JAMA. Her most recent books are Toxic Environment (Boston Poet Press) and Two Birds in Flame (Beech River Books). She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.


“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
 CHARLES DICKENS, A Christmas Carol

Read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens for free at

Image found at London Walking Tours.

Happy holidays!