new zealand electronic poetry centre

Michael Harlow

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Still Life Photograph With Leather Goods, 1973

Carrier of gloves, he is snapping creases
in the air; bouncing points of light, his
jackboots smile. Moles of data in secret
pockets, tins of polish glaze his mind.

Uniformly sleek, battledress, he gleams
but does not sweat. He does not sweat.
He parks on street corners, cradling
what havoc electronic outposts may
whirr to alert, what creams of ooze
stain the sea, how the laurel burns.

He dreams: his hand becoming a hand;
thumbs flash, eye darts from its socket,
hacked to its knees, a cypress
rusts the headstone sun; he returns.

Adjusting himself, he is essential
snuggling to the nipples his queen;
goes on parade, ribbons shined,
estates of leather move double time.

(Soon the cameras will arrive)
Remembering he is about to announce the light,
he will cross the open space, from what halo
raise his hand, trap the shutter
in his palms tufts of dark uncurl.

From Events, Greece 1967–1974 (Anglo-Hellenic Publishing, 1975)

Michael Harlow

Last updated 20 March, 2005