Bruisers and Dreamers

James Fenton

The leading lights of Bulacan –
The bruisers and the dreamers –
Are politicians to a man.
Their names go on the streamers.

But if their chief’s an also-ran
The dreamers and the bruisers
Mingle beneath the ceiling-fan
With schemers and Yakuzas.

To work and live as best they can
The bruisers and the dreamers
Take forged assignments in Japan
By cruisers and by steamers.

But when they meet the mamasan
The toughest of the bruisers
Backs out and hides upon the can.
The dreamers make the excusers.

It’s hard to live in Bulacan
For bruiser as for dreamer
But it’s harder when the mamasan
Is – Yukio Mishima!

The leading lights of Bulacan –
Each dreamer and each bruiser
Has bitten off more than a man
Can reasonably chew, sir.

God help them all in Bulacan.
God help them all in Lima.
God help us all – whate’ er our tan –
Each bruiser and each dreamer.