In the latest issue:

The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

‘The Man in the Red Coat’

Luc Sante

Is it OK to have a child?

Meehan Crist

Short Cuts: Ubu Unchained

August Kleinzahler

Bury that bastard

Nicole Flattery

Surplus Sons

Clare Bucknell

Oliver Lee Jackson

Adam Shatz

The Servant Problem

Alison Light

Poem: ‘1 x 30’

Anne Carson

The Old Bailey

Francis FitzGibbon

Jiggers, Rods and Barleycorns

James Vincent

More Marple than Poirot

J. Robert Lennon

On Rachael Allen

Matthew Bevis

Like a Ball of Fire

Andrew Cockburn

The Staffordshire Hoard

Tom Shippey

Blessed Isles

Mary Wellesley

At the Movies: ‘Jojo Rabbit’ and ‘A Hidden Life’

Michael Wood

Redeeming Winnie

Heribert Adam

Diary: A Friendly Fighting Force

Nick McDonell

I am natureTom Paulin
Close
Close
Vol. 8 No. 13 · 24 July 1986
Poem

I am nature

Tom Paulin

173 words

Homage to Jackson Pollock, 1912-1956

I might be the real
                Leroy McCoy
                landsurveyor
                way out west
                of Gila River
you know I pushed my
                soft bap
                out her funky vulva
                her black thighs
                and my first cry
                was Scotch-Irish
                a scrake
                a scratch
                a screighulaidh
I passed nights
                sidewinding
                on the desert floor
                fertil arid zone
                smoke trees
                creosote bush
                ironwood
                Joshua trees
till I lit
                on dreamtime
                wrote my nose
                in sand
                the infants’
                burying-ground
I did learn for sure there
                smoketaste
                piñon
                chicken flesh
                mesquite
and turned wise
                as sagebrush
smart as the tabs
                on a 6-pack
                as cat’s claw
                chickenwire
                thorn
I flicked fast through the switches
                licking her oils
                blood gunge
                paint juice
                gumbo
                Stella McClure
                off of my skin
rubbed all of them back but
                hear me sister!
                brother believe me!
just banging on
                like a bee in a tin
                like the burning bush
cracking dipping and dancing
                like I’m the last
                real Hurrican Higgin
                critter and Cruthin
                scouther and skitter
                witness witness
                WITNESS TREE!

Send Letters To:

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

letters@lrb.co.uk

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