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

Men

We often elude the scimitars
of the zouaves among the furniture
by being geese.

Or deodars
so that striking at us you also hit
your sacred tree.

(Ha ha, say we.
You say, Just you wait.)

Vitale

Remember Vitale, the old aesthete
knifed to his death on Mulberry Street.
I hear he said, sinking to his knees,
on the first night of San Gennaro,

Enfin, quelque chose m’arrive!

That’s how I want to go, with an aperçu,
or koan like Basho or Lao-Tzu.
‘I am the nosegay and the nose,’
the strong gods assembled will hear me say.
‘The Japanese beetle and the rose.’

(But say as I’m dying, an old shaman croaks,
with fresher wisdom and better jokes:
the gods fly, deaf to my remarks,
‘I am the password and the pass.
I the asshole and the ass.’)

Knifed for nothing, Vitale, you lived for art
and ended slumming like some old fart,
but for Enfin, quelque chose m’arrive!

Which words recollected here by me
alone save you from obscurity.

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