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New poems by Bruce Harris


A Yacht in the Bay


To watch, through your special binoculars, the hoy palloy walk the Croisette;

to be absolutely accepted as a member of Cannes’ social set;

to sit in mahogany board rooms and have an abundant say

and to wear your own little captain’s hat on a big white yacht in the bay.


A trophy wife, who can smile and flirt without letting it get out of hand;

an efficient P.A. who will seek to ensure that your office is suitably grand;

a party manager with a gift for creating the do of resplendent gaiety

which is carefully structured but never quite loses a soupcon of wild spontaneity.


A new car that does five gallons a mile and resembles a huge private part;

a fluttering woman to wave you goodbye who doesn’t look like a tart;

memberships of the finest clubs where messieurs drink cognac with messieurs

to build self-esteem to an apex point where moi-meme promotes to mon dieu.


In the modern west, these are ideals that define punters’ aspirations;

to consume without undue concern for the shares due to poorer nations;

to float round on boats, drinking like fish and generally having a ball;

to persuade yourself that your money makes you the idle idol for all.



a line, (a blue one)


August Playground


The adults watch on a bench together

in companioned abandonment; the children roam

the outer fringes of their awesome games

still unentrapped, in worlds never emptying.

There are slides and structures, like earthly tributes

laid at the feet of friendly aliens

to be picked up dead and resurrected

with the sprinkled dust of coloured fantasies.


These will be futures of soft-focussed memories

returning again to lost sounds and old scents

from more mundane, pedestrianised futures

when the burden of days demands an escape.

These will become a caress of echoes

reverberating all the way to old age,

a glorious kaleidoscope tapering downwards,

a journey away from destinations.



a line, (a blue one)


Blue Suit Normal


Into the foyer, blue suit normal man,

neutrally dressed, to allay anxiety;

security doesn’t so much as flicker

a moment’s gaze away from his Sun.


The most evil of professional intentions,

the blackest heart in the coldest mind,

just needs tie, white shirt, assurance,

and everyone’s cool like peace itself.


Registration, a la phrase books,

done to tee at reception central;

drony phone voice, Oscars smile,

getting by until the break comes.


Lock door, drop blinds, undo suitcase,

pistol and silencer under the socks,

reminder photo, Sir Whoever,

high-wage hombre wants blown away.


Balcony position, car park vantage,

scene on mind like date stamp picture.

Two quick slugs, consecutive malts

steadying even experienced fingers.


Bang on time, Whoever emerges,

surrounding hoods look round and round;

two quiet pops like opening cans;

target falling, clutching heart.


Leader suit calls for ambulance;

deputy hoods, dull dupe yes men,

lean on bonnet, thanking fortune,

coronary is a no-blame game.


Blue suit normal, out of the foyer,

gulped right back into city hubbub;

no prints, no traces, no real names.

Reception lifts a puzzled eyebrow.



a line, (a blue one)


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