new zealand electronic poetry centre

Michael Harlow


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The Albums of Young Lady Tourists


     A man who was also a composer of musical scores for the albums of young lady tourists one day refused to say Yes.

     No!   he said with a thunderous clap of his hands. And he shook himself with uncharitable violence. Violently, he felt himself in a very existential place. He jumped up and down in the middle of a hymn. In the middle of the morning he shouted, I cannot, I will not, I regret to inform you . . . and he tore into shreds his final gavotte for alpine mountaineers . . .

     And he fled. he hid inside a broom in the corner of his study. From inside the broom from inside the darkness that is beginning to open like a fan from the 19 th century, the man who was also a composer of musical scores looks out . . .

     He looks into the blue distance of the window. And he is there. He draws closer to himself. He is watching himself in his black coat with the two licorice tails – yes, he is there pasted in the very middle of the window . . .

     And behind the window . . . not quite in the distance, he is watching the white bodies of young lady tourists. And now like musical notes they float up to the window. They swarm over the glass. They begin to multiply. They reach out and they touch the body of the man, and they catch him by the elbows, by the waist, and they lift him up they lift him high into the air right out of the glass of the window, out of the darkness . . . and with firm hard fingers they press him between the pages of their albums for young lady tourists . . . and they clap their hands and they whisper . . . yes . . .


From Nothing but Switzerland and Lemonade (Hawk Press, 1980)

Michael Harlow
 


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Last updated 20 March, 2005