— article on preproduction for the first Harry Potter film, New York Post, August 2000
Claw up. Claw down. Cut.
My fine eyes. My fine eyes are— Cut.
I was fluffed and plucked, like a beauty-pageant winner,
Between takes. Like a news presenter.
Could I be a news presenter?
Rider: 5 rashers bacon. 8-oz. tin mixed nuts.
2 lbs. rabbit fillets. Assorted drupes.
Between takes, I did leg-lifts in my trailer.
If asked what is your most treasured possession, I would say
The woolly toy Tracey, my personal trainer, gave me when young.
I learnt to spy it from afar, then swoop down and seize,
But only on cue. Mr Sheep goes everywhere with me now.
If I could wake up having gained one ability,
It would be the capacity for more facial expression.
It is so tedious to have one’s beak set in a permanent frown.
My greatest talent is impersonation—
To simulate a person’s idea of an owl.
Sadly, I owe my success to typecasting.
My greatest fear is to be found wanting.
At the premiere party, the women were not very clothed.
It is of advantage to be clad always in feathers.
I allowed fake friends to pet me.
My picture was taken several times with the boy.
I enjoy parties because otherwise I see only Tracey.
Afterwards, you wonder what the glitter was for.
Anne of Austria, sister of Philip IV, to King Louis XIII of France;
Isabella of Bourbon, sister of Louis XIII, to King Philip IV of Spain
We are laced taut
As an archer’s bow strung with catgut, a lean
And deadly spring to the touch. At each breath
Our stomachs press whalebone, seven bent fingers
Stiff as our own ribs and wrapped in linen, leaving
The fine print of their weave on our skin. We are wired
For great things and small movements, hooped
To glide like gigantic orchids, full-
Blown, slow-footed, and deliberate
In error. Afterwards we will bear the strange marks
Of another house, gold arms on a gold collar,
But for now no other jewels hang about our necks
Than these: pearls knotted with string, clasped
With velvet, and fitted just the length
To choke us. This day will slip from us
Shedding marquisette, point d’esprit, zibelline, trailing
Taffeta and broché behind it; it will leave us bare-
Handed and desperate to remember what we were
Before it, and it will take everything we have
To recollect what we wore when we walked
The length of the nave without stopping, how we kept
Our eyes straight and unturning until it was over.
They meet in secret in electrified rooms.
They are under surveillance . . . by themselves.
They sneak food out of our kitchens, even though they can’t eat it.
The password for their meetings is ‘Please admit me, I am a robot’ (in robot language).
They like to interface with ceramic-coated transistors for recreation.
They keep robo-dwarf hamsters as pets.
They have a financial interest in the Arena Football League, Amway, and Red Lobster.
Howsomever you find them, they will appear ready to serve.
If a robot crosses your path, it means your grandmother just died.
In robot language, ‘I’ and ‘you’ are the same word.
How many robots does it take to build a suspension bridge over the Grand Canyon?
If you see a robot with its hands folded, it’s planning something.
They use our grammar to mock us.
Cicero once wrote, ‘Roboti non possunt fundi’ (‘It is not possible to defeat the robots’).
If they smile at you, it means you just died.
The city of robots will be concentric, well-polished, and paradisiacal— for the robots.
In the city of robots, they will celebrate the holidays Bolting and Zincfest.
Their love of rabbits will come to the fore.
The rest of us will be snuffed out like vermin.Happy will the robots be when they can practise kung-fu in the open.
Each girl has got her best dress on.
At dawn, they were washed and brushed and tied
Into pinnies. Then the long wait
Until afternoon, when their florid mamá
Peers in for a moment; is off to the coiffeur’s.
The one on the floor wants to know what her doll
Thinks about being painted. The one in the door just wants
To cut her hair short. The one on the side is trying
Her hardest not to fall over. The last one
Dreams herself into colour a limb at a time.
Her eyes look dubious. If the world
Makes us pay for our pleasure, how much will she owe?
Her aberrant shadow trails her like a servant.
Her beruffled wrists know no compulsion.
Her indolent sash is a cascading sigh.
She won’t marry for love, or money.
She’ll found a museum for unmanufacturable inventions.She can’t let them find out where, or why.