In the latest issue:

In Quarantine

Erin Maglaque

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: Springtime for Donald

David Bromwich

Meetings with their Gods

Claire Hall

‘Generation Left’

William Davies

At the North Miami Museum: Alice Paalen Rahon

Mary Ann Caws

Buchan’s Banter

Christopher Tayler

‘American Dirt’

Christian Lorentzen

Fiction and the Age of Lies

Colin Burrow

In Lahore

Tariq Ali

GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS

James Lasdun

Rereading Bowen

Tessa Hadley

At the Corner House

Rosemary Hill

William Gibson

Thomas Jones

Poem: ‘Murph & Me’

August Kleinzahler

The Stud File

Kevin Brazil

John Boorman’s Quiet Ending

David Thomson

In Shanghai: The West Bund Museum

John-Paul Stonard

Diary: The Deborah Orr I Knew

Jenny Turner

Close
Close

The door slides shut with a hiss and it seems we’re moving out
    falteringly at first, the brick
    flats tilting then
    reluctantly shifting
aside. We’re starting a long journey with half the plot,

some of the story, nothing to worry about and hardly a clue.
    Now a canal’s rotating slowly,
    now a sodden paddock, starring
    a wrestling girl and boy.
All gone; we’ve had quite enough and we’re shooting through.

It’s hooroo to the broken mirrors and the scraps of sky
    glaring from the wet turf,
    the torn panties,
    grass stains; turn
your back and be rid of the lot of it, say goodbye.

Somewhere long ago you hunted among the chatter
    clutching a damp hand,
    frightened of appetites,
    bold, shaking, wondering
why she wanted you so much, and what was the matter.

And now she’s disappeared, or what’s worse, turned into just
    another bothered mum. Back
    there in the twilight
    then, she was a pink
breathless angel, all clumsy enthusiasm and lust.

They hope for more, they all want something mysterious,
    the heartbreak girls, the
    lost lads, it’s no
    thanks to the bread of life
but give them a piece of cake and they go delirious,

wanting the sun to dazzle and stand still forever,
    youth to ripen, passion
    to flicker and flash,
    every cheating
kiss a puzzle, true love a paradox and a fever.

And what are you doing here after all? Do you deserve it?
    Dodging the blades, weaving
    between the wheels and not
    getting the chop?
You’re hardly the handsome dandy after all, more the nervous

middle-aged college visitor bewildered at tea,
    ashamed of his tie:
    the wrong badge,
    prickly hedge, life
a locked book and an idiot rampant in a tree

wondering what the fuss was about at the front of the hall:
    the shriek, the slap,
    the shattered glass, the
    burst of clapping,
the stock market crash and the shock declaration of war.

And we seem to be rattling out of control along the track
    that clatters into the
    country, turns a bend,
    and vanishes into
the forest, into the waiting shadows, into the dark.

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