Harry’s Bar


A woman called Sally comes on
wearing heliotrope hair to match her blouse
and she’s talking to a shortish man
about this film he’s seen professionally.

Between clips the film reviewer gives Sally a little kiss
and then they’re wondering about inter-racial sex
and what the public will put up with
whether Belafonte counted.

While they’re talking
ten little white boy in ruffs and surplices sing behind choir books
as their West Indian choirmaster looks on
maybe thinking about the Ten Little Niggers
and how things do get to change, but only ever slowly.

There’s stained glass all around
an old SS eagle miserable as sin, doubling as a lectern
and seven golden lampstands projecting light.
This is nighttime television
and anything can happen.
A choir boy slips, falls
and then there are nine.




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