1.  the claim of perpetual secrecy

there’s an enemy that lurks
& plots & plans

stay open to opportunities:
outsource your personal life

when prompted
enter your 5-digit extension

2.  begin by writing randomly

for example, just say ‘John Doe’
guests with programmed keycards
disrupt plots before they can
even get started
Kit Carson’s men
burned the Navajo orchards
the Colt 45 made
all men equal

3.  a new take on pride

doesn’t back down
we will pursue them
gussying up country
with Gautier signatures
authentic Western heroes

4.  what consumers want most

fewer channels at lower prices
curved shower rods are only
part of it follow the prompts
talk out your alternatives
not drawn by the girly frills
black beads on chiffon
the cut & style of the line
I like that in a man
damn you smell good
what is that perfume
you’re wearing?


1.  don’t miss a thing

a pair of jeans &
everyone’s head turns
not much hesitation
2 see the marketing
potential remember
the billboards ‘nothing
gets between me’ &
the classic American brands
such is the nature
of social democracy
downright sexy in
customised flares
squeeze your knees together
before helping others
make sure 2 help yourself
chin down to chest
looks good feels great
check the coppery washes
unexposed to radiation
genetically modified
design details abreast
of the changes
in serious investments
play with the cut
red-line piping &
definitely faces meltdown

2.  well that’s all right

the classic black dress

remains untouchable

best western

           4 tony lopez

some books you have to read
right off   no reservations
various means of departure
with flashing blue lights
& high-visibility jackets
protection of civil society
slides into civil war
shopkeepers shut their doors
manhandled & handcuffed
200 suspect flights
planned in detail over time
no catering services provided

some books come in
get shelved
keywords & search-engines
appeal for unity & calm
don’t know about insomnia
pumping at near capacity
with missiles & rocket-launchers
the first to wear a wire
to restore public confidence
cut the television feed
bag it & throw it
no cost to the taxpayer.

roberthampson is Professor of Modern Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has been actively involved in poetry – as poet, editor, and critic – since the early seventies. His selected poems, Assembled Fugitives, was published by Stride in 2001. His most recent publication is pentimento, published by pushtika, 2006.
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