The Bond Poem

by S. k. Kelen

Stepping into the James Bond Infinities
Like a Sphinx’s riddle
I was born every year for thirty-five years
And youth sprung eternal for a long, long while.

O there were scholarships — first Eton, then I got sent
Down at Oxford for sleeping with the Housemaster’s wife
So I found my niche at Sandhurst, officer trained for the marines
But ended up in a submarine for five years.

Then recruited by the Secret Service I stepped into a happy zone.
Licensed to kill, I had the power of love with the Sex/Death nexus
Artful, seducer and seduced, the women I knew read like
An electoral roll in a country where only femme fatales vote.

They’ve all blurred now into a composite girl spy
Who speaks in many accents in my dreams.
But some remain real as when I knew them and will stay.
Pussy Galore, o God, I could have, should have married her

Would have but I was young and greedy,
And on a killing spree. Marriage was for later
And maybe Pussy would wait, but honey slips away.
Then there was Miko, Miko (when we showed no pain)

Of the sweetest sweet — just her kiss — she was an agent,
But more a gift, of Japanese Intelligence, to fall in love.
I whispered truthfully, she was the most beautiful woman
I’d ever known or dreamed of knowing.

She was the first to die in my arms, a drop of poison
Falling to those sweetest lips, a final tigress growl
From her throat. But the Japanese authorities
Provided another girl and in those days

I was hardly sentimental.
Besides, there were a thousand bikinied girls
Called Domino to massage the memory,
But today, Miko’s sabishi eyes still haunt me.

Was it Hemingway who said, ‘Retirement
Is the ugliest word in the English language?'
So, ‘retired from action’, deskbound, without
The taste of blood life became anaemic,
A twilit zone where one spirals — down —
And as for romance, there were only a few spies,
Married or busy spying and living, licensed to kill.
Yes, there was Moneypenny, good old

Ms. Moneypenny English, proper, disciplined,
Reliable and she had her warm moments, courting,
And responded to my dry wit and allusiveness
To other movies with clever ripostes

Ironic and cool as gooseberries, yes, she
Got her James Bond laid low by the office
Nausea but choosing the honeymoon
To give up martinis did not augur well

For anything, really, but Moneypenny
Put her foot down (where it stayed), though
The idea of exceptional good health
Was attractive. I should have known,

Should have known gooseberries
Can turn into hand grenades, her gentle
Ironies predicted bitter sarcasm.
A few years after the terrible word

Another night of bickering
Leads to the local sleaze bar and a dreadful
Impersonator lip-syncs Shirley Bassey
Singing ‘Goldfinger’. Discipline 007, discipline!

But there’s still a bit left of what it takes
So I buy a drink for the beautiful Russian
Woman at the bar. “You don’t look like the kind
Of girl who should be ditched. Ice skating?

A lovely sport...” but the words come reflex
From another life, a hack scriptwriter wrote
For a lark and the money: hard-bitten, predictable
Lines, peppered with smutty double entendres

And a daydream takes me skindiving to a casino
Under the sea. The Russian doll shakes her head
Leaves me alone with another martini, stirred
And shaken. A few more drinks stagger the night

The sky is obsidian flecked with ancient stars, ones
Everyone used to know and I see the stellar glow,
The Earth sleeps, but there’s only one place to go:
Home to watch a sly Ealing comedy with Moneypenny.

S. K. Kelen's picture

S. K. Kelen is a widely published Australian poet. His most recent books are Goddess of Mercy (Brandl & Schlesinger, 2002), and Earthly Delights (Pandanus Press, 2006)

Last updated July 18, 2011