From PLASTIC MILLENNIUM, an e-chapbook

Art and Poetry by Fin Harvor


The Policy and the Pendulum 

The Ivy Leaguers
Are in their Poe-gothic chambers –
Ravens gone stealth,
Drapes slowly billowing,
While a malignancy of terror
Flutters through hallways and minds.

Beyond les fenetres
The gloom-concealed fields –
the bogs and the heaths,
The forests and the streets –
Are vast.
Its hard to imagine all,
and harder still to manage it.

But duty remains
And the red-rimmed eye
Of sophistication, of brains,
Completes each assignment
Like a cram session
At a mad university.

Those at top levels
Want only As.
It’s nothing personal that, in the chambers
of the mansion,
Those who flunked out
Are flayed,
Are burned,
And gouged.
For, after all, even in the library
The man in the velvet smoking jacket
Sadly ruminatively
Spinning the national globe,
Suffers too,
And wishes that you, dear prisoners,
Understand his pampering pain.



The weapons folk
Are in cafeterias
Where the menu is swell.

For lunch they have quail, and snail,
And foie gras on crisps,
While in the middle of the table –
Supplied by Raytheon –
Sits a calf
Half-cooked with beams
Its meat delicious and bleeding.


Whispers in the Warehouse of Bombs

“We are the dead”,
they snicker,
lined in their racks.
They know:
soon coming:
fresh orders:


The soldiers tromp
Brick, shards
Matter shattered
And then dried like leaves —
The shaking down of temples,

The marble of Romans
Is a diaspora bomb.
In the sylvan distance
GBUs thump like wine-skins
And the Syrian dancing girls
Are all wetted now
By weird rains.

The region
Stays filled with legions
While the emperor resumes drink.
And on the flag-stones
Of the thoroughfares
Sandals are whitened
By dust.

The Secrecy Cycle

1 – IRAN, 1953

Mohammad Mossadeq
Almost gave the British a heart atteck
When he decided he wanted his own oil.
So MI6 and the agency, too,
Decided to be his foil.

2 – WASHINGTON, 1953

Democracy’s gone
From the state of Iran
And this is cabled to Dwight.
He sits by himself
In the clear sunlight
And finishes toast and coffee.

3 – IRAQ, 1962

The Cold War
Isn’t a bore
When you’re one of its
Furthermore, young Saddam
Thinks it’s just grand
That he can lend a hand
To what he calls

4 – IRAQ, 1963

Saddam, Saddam
Your gun goes blam
You are really, really tough.
You run around
Then hide underground
While the station chief
Slips you cash.

5 – IRAQ, 1968 – ONWARDS

Well done, you’ve won!
You are now on top!
Isn’t it just a thrill?
You can smoke cigars
And put generals behind bars,
And study lists
Of whom
To kill.

6 – IRAN, 1979

And then in a flash
The Shah is gone –
The situation’s a mess!
The diplomats knew
Trouble did brew
But they didn’t see
The rest.


Jimmy Carter tries to be firm
But Ronnie Reagan secretly confirms
That the plan just ain’t gonna work.
So Jimmy is gone
And Ronnie is prez
And decides the Soviet U,
Under an Afghan sky,
Really, truly should die.

8 – THE WEST, BAGHDAD, 1980s

It’s the 1980s
Boom markets and ladies
The decade is really great.
So hip Donnie Rummy
Get a feeling that’s funny
And trips all the way to Baghdad.

And then late at night
Out waits Saddam
As the plane taxies in
Over the black tarmac.

9 – IRAN/IRAQ – 1980-1988

Bang bang
It’s war,
On the desert floor
The Iranians march
Their poor..
But the Iraqi guns
Are just too fast
And there’s lots and lots
Of gore.

10 – AFGHANISTAN, 1979-1989

Bang bang
More war,
And this one’s really scary
The Soviets and CIA
Want to prove
That neither is a fairy.

11 – SAUDI ARABIA, 1980s

Meanwhile, back at the harem-ranch,
A gangly kid
With a b-ball build
Decides to apprentice
Just outside

12 – AFGHANISTAN, 1986

Well-p, there goes another Russkie chopper
Hit true by a brand new

The tough Taliban
Don’t admire American men
But they like
What their weapons
Can do.

13 – AFGHANISTAN, 1987

Meanwhile, back at the training camp,
The gangly kid
Is learning the ropes
While his agency handler
Shows him some notes
Which the kid, quietly, absorbs.

14. IRAQ 1990

Saddam, Saddam
Develops a new plan,
And it involves
Scads of oil.
So he readies his tanks
And pre-emptive prayer thanks
And counts his chickens
At beddie.

15 IRAQ/ KUWAIT 1990

April Glaspie
Wasn’t nasty
In fact, she was downright nice.
Tariq Aziz
Said, can we invade it, please?
And April said,
You can.


George Herbert Walker Bush
Is truly enraged
That an ally – a friend –
Would do such a thing.
So he goes on a journey
To London, Paris, Brussels
Ottawa, Berlin and Rome
And says: “Hitler was bad
And made all of us sad,
But this one will overcharge oil!”
And the leaders nod
And agree to stand strong
And George, glad,
Jets back home.

17 – IRAQ/KUWAIT, 1991

Bang bang
It’s war
And this one’s totally awesome!
It’s not just some spooks
And their shaggy proxies
It’s got real soldiers, real fighters, real tanks —
This is a battle with moxie.
The guidance systems
Get a lock tone
And zero tight on targets,
And then their ordnance
Hellfires in
And a bunker totally shatters.

All around the world
Everyone’s excited,
And all folk are in bliss.
This includes
TV crews
And loadsa
Arms manufacturers.

18 – SAUDI ARABIA, 1991

Meanwhile, back at the mansion,
The gangly kid
Notices an uncouth Marine
In the hall, talking loud,
And, on mommy’s fine Persian
Desert mud.

19 – IRAQ NO FLY ZONE, 1990s

Peace, peace!
Ahh, not quite …
The war from the air,
For a decade,


Meanwhile, back at the training camp,
The gangly kid’s moody
And pissed.

21 – NORTH AFRICA, 1998 – 2000

Bang in Kenya!
Bang in Tanzania!
Bang on the hull of a ship!…
Something’s gone wrong
And there are nasty bombs
That are killing
Sailors and dips.

22 – AFGHANISTAN, 1998

Clinton tries a cruise
To do the gangly kid in,
But Hard Willy doesn’t know
How to fight
And the kid’s
Not even bruised.

23 – THE WORLD, 2000

Wow, wow
The millennium’s here
And it’s really quite the party!
Pretty young folk
Are on the street,
Kissing all their partners.


George Two
Knows what to do:
He organizes the vote
Then relaxes
In a fishing boat –
Who knows?


In the crystal sky
On a sunny dawn
There is an aeroplane.
It looks so nice
As the blue is sliced
But its pilots
Are Insane.



One thought on “From PLASTIC MILLENNIUM, an e-chapbook

  1. Pingback: FORMER PEOPLE chapbook: PLASTIC MILLENNIUM drawings, poetry | BridgeText

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