The Bourne Variations (2)

By: James Parker
February 12, 2016



BIG DADDY: Dr. Albert Hirsch

At the end of the corridor of memory
I stand, an old man in a flapping suit.
This is where I finished you.
Facility hum, neon buzz,
whickering of a fan somewhere.
I am an immensity, heavy-fleshed
and impossibly factual.
You cannot get your mind around me.

Will you commit to this program?
To the tank — to your hooded head
in mad meshes of bubble?
Will you commit to this program?
To syringes and sleeplessness.
Will you commit to this program?
To rebirth out of freezing water,
off black unconscious pavement,
out of the crashed car that you
are always limping friendlessly away from,
devoid of self-pity?
(You cannot pity yourself, Jason Bourne.
That was the first thing I took from you.)

Croak of corruption in my voice,
cloud of fear in my eye.
The lower lip trembles.
The suit releases burps of booze-fume.
I am old, I am old.
But in my presence you are strengthless.
You’re lost in time-smears and
Why, Jason Bourne, rogue baby?
Why, my boomeranging sort-of-son?
Because once you asked me to, and I said:
Yes. Very well. I will make you who
      you aren’t.



nevins bourne

(for John Nevins, CIA, Naples)

We would advise against snapping your
      fingers in his face,
or parking your ass on the table-edge and
      leaning into his personal space.
This man in your tiny interview room
with his lack of response and his air of
      dialled-down doom,
is no drifter, dreamer, patsy, errant
He is a shortcut to total system failure.
Bourne’s in his Joy Division gear, his
      widower’s weeds.
Black coat, black clothes — his identity
or it explodes. Something clicks like a
      pair of spanners
and there you are, inside the annihilating
      geometry of his Treadstone manners.

And as you come round, freshly prone,
the call buzzes in on your cellphone.
It’s Langley again, the goddamn CIA,
whom you are obliged to inform that
      Jason Bourne just got away.
Too late, too late were you warned.
Rise stiffly, painfully, from the stupor of
      the just-Bourned.
In the pocket you proved
      insufficiently handy,
and now you’re going to get a bollocking
      from Pamela Landy.


During 2016, James Parker contributed a monthly series of poems, to HILOBROW, about Jason Bourne movie scenes.

“The Goddess of Memory Speaks to Jason Bourne” | THE BOURNE IDENTITY: “The Duellists”. THE BOURNE SUPREMACY: “Congratulations, You Have Just Met Jason Bourne” | “The Graduates” | “The Murder of Agent Daniel Zorn, in Berlin, by CIA Section Chief Ward Abbott”. THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM: “Big Daddy” | “The Assassination of the Journalist Simon Ross” | “Full Priority Situation”. THE BOURNE LEGACY: “Alaska, Alone” | “Aaron Cross to the Wolf” | “Fairy Story”. JASON BOURNE: “Watching the Jason Bourne Trailer” | “The Bourne Travesty”.

Series banner contributed by Rick Pinchera.


MORE PARKER at HILOBROW: COCKY THE FOX: a brilliant swearing-animal epic, serialized here at HILOBROW from 2010–2011, inc. a newsletter by Patrick Cates | THE KALEVALA — a Finnish epic, bastardized | THE BOURNE VARIATIONS: A series of poems about the Jason Bourne movies | ANGUSONICS: James and Tommy Valicenti parse Angus Young’s solos | MOULDIANA: James and Tommy Valicenti parse Bob Mould’s solos | BOLANOMICS: James traces Marc Bolan’s musical and philosophical development | WINDS OF MAGIC: A curated series reprinting James’s early- and mid-2000s writing for the Boston Globe and Boston Phoenix | CROM YOUR ENTHUSIASM: J.R.R. Tolkien’s THE HOBBIT | EVEN MORE PARKER, including doggerel; HiLo Hero items on Sid Vicious, Dez Cadena, Mervyn Peake, others; and more.

MORE FAN FICTION at HILOBROW: James Parker’s THE KALEVALA (Finnish epic fanfic) | James Parker’s THE BOURNE VARIATIONS (Jason Bourne fanfic) | Lyette Mercier’s SEX AND THE SINGLE SUPERHERO (Avengers fanfic) | Jason Matthews’s MYSTERY MACHINE (Scooby Doo fanfic) | Joe Coen’s WEREN’T YOUR EYES BLUE? (Cheers fanfic) | T.G. Gibbon’s THE FIREFLY (Marx Bros. fanfic) | Chad Parmenter’s GOTHAMIAD (Batman fanfic) | Josh Glenn’s BEASTLY NUISANCE (Argonautica fanfic) | Flourish Klink’s THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PATROCLUS SON OF MENOETIUS (Iliad fanfic) | Josh Glenn’s THE LAWLESS ONE (Xena fanfic) | Charles Pappas’s THE LAW (Superman fanfic) | John Holbo’s SUGARPLUM SQUEAMPUNK (Cthulhu/Clement Clarke Moore fanfic) | Josh Glenn’s MUCK-ENCRUSTED MOCKERY OF A MAN (Zarathustra/Swamp Thing fanfic).

MORE MOVIES at HILOBROW: KLUTE YOUR ENTHUSIASM: 25 neo-noirs of the Sixties (1964–1973) | James Parker’s BOURNE VARIATIONS series | Alix Lambert’s SÉRIE NOIRE series | Jacob Mikanowski’s SCREEN TIME series | Josh Glenn’s SHOCKING BLOCKING series | Joanne McNeil’s ALL MY STARS series | MORE: including dozens of HILO HERO items on movie directors and actors.