Bond, James Bond

"Shaken, not stirred." The waiter understands.
Bond's back - a man of some discrimination
In cocktails, women, firearms. If his hands
Are sometimes bloody, that's his occupation.
He's here to meet an agent at the station,
En route to Paris, just back from Chernobyl
With fallout from a covert operation:
Punch cards from antique mainframes running COBOL,
Their contents sensitive, their implications global.

He moves to the casino. Fear and greed
Pay homage at the wheel. The fever grips
An Alfred Hitchcock lookalike in tweed.
"Let's go for broke. The lot on three," he quips.
Yes! Trois, impair et rouge. His stacks of chips
Rise like Manhattan. Sipping at her Pernod,
A vision in a strapless number slips
Her hand in his. "A man who dares to dare. No
Man can be sexier. You'd like to see me bare, no?"

Her whispered invitation makes the crusty
Old buzzard sweat. He's molten to the core.
Up in his hotel bedroom, tall and busty
She kisses him. But tweedy man wants more.
Her dress comes off. His chubby fingers paw
The goods but still their union's not to be.
She's laced his drink. He crumples to the floor.
She exits having found his cipher key,
A two-way mirror seeing all there is to see.

This is the world where Bond moves like a leopard.
It makes no sense because it is our own:
Canvas of glib sophistication, peppered
With bullet-holes; dark tarn where like a stone
The weak go down; fear's cradle; battle zone
Where wealth protects the rich like armour-plating;
The most outrageous party ever thrown;
Fearsome excess in loving and in hating,
And newsfeeds down the wire: unnerving, devastating.
The Mafia strangle an informer's son.
Eleven year old Rafael, his body
Dissolved in acid to conceal what's done.
An arms deal bribe is offered in a wadi.
A naked man is tortured by a squaddie
In some imperial outpost rich in oil.
Murder, payola, trafficking - this shoddy
Merchandise keeps big money on the boil,
Keeps yachts in Monte Carlo, keeps politicians loyal.

Keeps women in Versace on their high
Manolo Blahnik heels. And Bond in Aston
Martins and dry Martini. The British spy
Now has new orders. Someone high-up grassed on
A caper being planned, the details passed on
To MI5, confirmed by a defector.
But now a freelance thief has pulled a fast one
And what she's stolen means Bond must protect her
From rival thieves or, worse, the goons from SMERSH and SPECTRE.

The Strapless Gown is cornered on the stairs
By some sharp-suited heavy full of bluster
But Bond is there to catch him unawares.
Using his Rolex as a knuckle-duster
He takes him out, delivering a cluster
Bomb of quick blows. I'm Melody,the tanned
Beauty begins, but Bond can only muster
A grunt. He strains to bring his catch to land:
Professionally garrotting Mr Hired Hand.

Then silence. Though a double-o may well crow
About his kills, that's not the etiquette.
A dead man's mouth is tighter sealed than Velcro,
His eyes fixed on the far side of regret.
They waste no quips on him. And as they set
About disposing of the stiff, the starry
Night shines on Melody. Her eyes have met
With Bond's. They kiss. Then cool as Mata Hari
She drives off waving with the corpse in her Ferrari.

From Pax Romana all the way to Pax
Americana cheats define the game.
Think of Le Chiffre, Blofeld, Hugo Drax.
Melody Lingers may be just the same.
But Bond, though burned, will always love the flame,
His valour uncorrupted as the stage
Is set for murder - as though his life, his name
Itself - It's Bond, James Bond - might be the gauge
Of our corruption and a critique of the age.


If you have any comments on this poem, K. M. Payne would be pleased to hear them.