In the latest issue:

Loathed by Huysmans

Julian Barnes

Too early or too late?

David Runciman

Short Cuts: Five Victorian Marriages

Tom Crewe

Society as a Broadband Network

William Davies

Indefinite Lent

Thomas Jones

In 1348

James Meek

The Yorkists

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Whitehall Spookery

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Gordon v. O’Connor

Rupert Thomson

Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

Close
Close

Midwinter. Dead of. I own you says my mind. Own what, own

                    whom. I look up. Own the looking at us

say the cuttlefish branchings, lichen-black, moist. Also

                    the seeing, which wants to feel more than it sees.

Also, in the glance, the feeling of owning, accordioning out and up,

                    seafanning,

& there is cloud on blue ground up there, & wind which the eye loves so deeply it

                    would spill itself out and liquify

                    to pay for it –

& the push of owning is thrilling, is spring before it

                    is – is that swelling – is the imagined fragrance as one

bends, before the thing is close enough – wide-

                    eyed leaning – although none of this can make you

                    happy –

because, looking up, the sky makes you hear it, you know why we have come it

                    blues, you know the trouble at the heart, blue, blue, what

pandemonium, blur of spears roots cries leaves master & slave, the crop destroyed,

                    water everywhere not

                    drinkable, & radioactive waste in it, & human bodily

waste, & what,

                    says the eye-thinking heart, is the last colour seen, the last word

heard – someone left behind, then no behind –

                    is there a skin of the I own which can be scoured from inside

                    the glance – no,

                    cannot – & always

                    someone walking by whistling a

                    little tune, that’s

life he says, smiling, there, that was life – & the heart branches with its

                    wild arteries – I own my self, I own my

leaving – the falcon watching from the tree – I shall torch the crop that no one else

                    have it whispers the air –

& someone’s swinging from a rope, his rope – the eye

                    throbbing – day a noose looking for a neck –

the fire spidery but fast – & the idea of

                    friends, what was that, & the day, in winter, your lower back

                    started acting up again, & they pluck out the eyes at the end

                    for food, & don’t forget

                    the meeting at 6, your child’s teacher

                    wishes to speak to you

about his future, & if there is no food and the rain is everywhere switching-on as expected,

                    & you try to think of music and the blue of Giotto,

& if they have to eat the arms he will feel no pain at least, & there is a

                    sequence in which feeding takes

place – the body is owned by the hungry – one is waiting

                    one’s turn – one wants to own one’s

                    turn – and standing there,

don’t do it now but you might remember kisses – how you kissed his arm in the sun

                    and

                    tasted the sun, & this is your

address now, your home address – & the strings are cut no one

                    looks up any longer

                    – or out – no – &

one day a swan appeared out of nowhere on the drying river,

                    it

was sick, but it floated, and the eye felt the pain of rising to take it in – I own you

                    said the old feeling, I want

                    to begin counting

again, I will count what is mine, it is moving quickly now, I will begin this

                    message « I » – I feel the

smile, put my hand up to be sure, yes on my lips – the yes – I touch it again, I

                    begin counting, I say one to the swan, one,

do not be angry with me o my god, I have begun the action of beauty again, on

                    the burning river I have started the catalogue,

                    your world,

I your speck tremble remembering money, its dry touch, sweet strange

                    smell, it’s a long time, the smell of it like lily of the valley

sometimes, and pondwater, and how

                    one could bend down close to it

and drink.

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