In the latest issue:

An Ordinary Woman

Alan Bennett

Anglo-America Loses its Grip

Pankaj Mishra

Short Cuts: John Bolton’s Unwitting Usefulness

Mattathias Schwartz

Smells of Hell

Keith Thomas

Mrs Oliphant

Tom Crewe

Tippett’s Knack

Philip Clark

At Tate Modern: Steve McQueen

Colin Grant

Catherine Lacey

Nicole Flattery

Churchill’s Cook

Rosemary Hill

The ‘Batrachomyomachia’

Ange Mlinko

On Dorothea Lange

Joanna Biggs

Paid to Race

Jon Day

Poem: ‘Traveller’s Tales: Chapter 90’

August Kleinzahler

The Soho Alphabet

Andrew O’Hagan

Old Tunes

Stephen Sedley

Victor Serge’s Defective Bolshevism

Tariq Ali

The Murdrous Machiavel

Erin Maglaque

Diary: Insane after coronavirus?

Patricia Lockwood

Close
Close

A ten-minute Jesuit nap with shoes on
releases the hypnagogic sentences
mimicking the rhythms of sports commentary,
morphing darkly into a story like this:
In the sunless world where we’d arranged to meet
everything’s lit from within and space has nerves
that pass through your throat (if you slide along them
like a curtain ring it will hurt the next day)
but it turned out to be much harder to leave
my body behind than my slugabed mind,
so we plumped for the Donkey on Fire instead
with its comforting smell of public carpet,
billiard balls clacking and vinyl silences.

Having lit my way through the gloom with a pint,
I slumped on a couch to watch elastic blobs
collide and coalesce in a lava lamp.
How is it possible to return from there
with the briefly glowing certitude that all
is forgiven and a hypnopompic snap
of softly obliterated prints left by
a barefoot Carmelite errand in the snow?

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