In the latest issue:

The World Goes Bust

Adam Tooze

A nice girl like Simone

Joanna Biggs

The Arrestables

Jeremy Harding

Short Cuts: Built from Light

Daniel Soar


Edmund Gordon

The Ghent Altarpiece

Julian Bell

You can’t prove I meant X

Clare Bucknell

At the Royal Academy: Léon Spilliaert

John-Paul Stonard

Conrad Jumps Ship

Fredric Jameson

How to set up an ICU

Lana Spawls

Poem: ‘Mayfly’

Fiona Benson

Follow the Science

James Butler

Diary: #coronasomnia

Wang Xiuying

Symptoms of Self-RegardN.V. Rampant
Vol. 7 No. 21 · 5 December 1985

Symptoms of Self-Regard

N.V. Rampant

142 words

As she lies there naked on the only hot
Day in a ruined August reading Hugo Williams,
She looks up at the window-cleaner
Who has hesitantly appeared.

Wishing that he were Hugo Williams
She luxuriates provocatively,
Her fantasy protected by the glass
Or so she thinks.

Would that this abrasive oaf
Were Hugo Williams, she muses –
Imagining the poet in a black Armani
Bomber jacket from Miami Vice,
His lips pursed to kiss.

Suddenly, convulsively, she draws
The sheet up over herself
And quivers, having at last realised
That it really is Hugo Williams.

He sinks out of sight,
His poem already written.
He signs it ‘Hugo Williams’.
The blue overalls have come in handy.

He takes off his flat cap,
Letting his silken hair fall free.
Hugo Williams has gone back to being handsome.
The poet has come down to earth.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Read More

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences