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Boris Johnson’s First Year

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: In the Bunker

Thomas Jones

Theban Power

James Romm

What can the WHO do?

James Meek

At the Type Archive

Alice Spawls

Where the Poor Lived

Alison Light

At the Movies: ‘Da 5 Bloods’

Michael Wood

Cultural Pillaging

Neal Ascherson

Jenny Offill

Adam Mars-Jones

Shakespeare v. the English

Michael Dobson

Poem: ‘Now Is the Cool of the Day’

Maureen N. McLane

Tativille

David Trotter

Consider the Hare

Katherine Rundell

How Should I Refer to You?

Amia Srinivasan

Poem: ‘Field Crickets (Gryllus campestris)’

Fiona Benson

Diary: In Mali

Rahmane Idrissa

DemolitionNeil Rollinson
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We can drop this building into a biscuit tin,
all forty storeys, everything’s planned,
down to the last inch; the pre-repairs,
the pattern of charges:
nitroglycerine, dynamite, RDX.

We study it for days,
from high ground or the tops of other buildings,
sorting our delay paths,
checking sequences from other jobs.
It’s an intuition. A sixth sense.
We take the whole thing down in our heads.

Then we begin:
control the velocity of failure,
let each part of the structure disintegrate
at a different speed – we can make it
walk down the road, like a zombie.
We can turn it around, drop it ten floors
then stop it, dead; waltz it out of a corner
then lay it down in the road,
like a golem tired of standing.

After it’s done, we check the debris,
the fragmentation pattern, see how
neat we’ve been. This is downtown Baltimore
and you can’t move for skyscrapers,
cars, pedestrians. There isn’t a scar,
a stone out of place, hardly a stir of dust
and the birds are singing. It’s like nothing
was there; like nothing had happened.

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