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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

Egypt AngelFrederick Seidel
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I’m not on your side, whichever side you’re on.
My enthusiasm for Nasser is long gone.
Hail, Hosni Mubarak, and farewell!
There’s the old dictator dolt
On TV, a contraption of dyed hair and hair gel.
Angels in revolt
Fill Tahrir Square. The angel Gabriel blows his horn
To announce to the reborn, You’ve been born!
And Koranically commands, Recite!
Here are the things that are right!
Day after day of secular celebration turns into night.
Not too many people are killed.
People are thrilled.

I’m your fat King Farouk,
Quacking poetry till I puke.
I’m president and premier and sultan and emir –
Prime minister and Sadat –
And oh my God he’s been shot!
I do nothing but think about you, dear.
I think about you a lot.
I revere
The crypto-philo-Semite, Anwar Sadat,
And what he did, and in consequence the death he got.
The third president of Egypt agreed to put up with Israel.
He slithered through the Arabs like an eel.
It did not go down well.

The West oinked for oil and said please.
The Western nations hung out backstage like groupies.
They barked to be fed, like a seal.
They stole anything they could steal.
Anwar Sadat screwed the light bulb of love into the socket
Out loud in the dark in the middle of the night.
Floaters swim by in my eye in the light.
Darling, don’t doubt me, don’t knock it.
I fold a linen handkerchief to make three points
To fountain whitely towards you from my breast pocket.
Point 1. My cornea detaches.
Point 2. I have galloping myopia.
Point 3. My cataracts won’t let me look at you.

It’s lenticular astigmatism.
It’s macular degeneration.
A rainbow coalition of coition ejaculates
A colourblind wine jelly of jism
And every radical ism.
White Europeans conceived these wretched Arab states,
Now fictively becoming democrats.
The breeze blows the blue of the sea
Inland from Tripoli.
Meet me in Tahrir Square.
Righty-o, I’ll meet you there.
Your Nile-green eyes gaze up at me from the pillow.
Baby, you’re my crocodile Nile. You’re my Cairo.

Tahrir Square is twirling like a dervish, spinning like a top.
In Tahrir Square tear gas canisters pop.
My crocodile angel joins the demonstrators outside her shop.
The tornado funnels into focus from a censored blur.
The military clears a path for her.
Democracy is in the vicinity
Of Nefertiti.
We’ll meet in Tahrir Square.
Every angel has gathered there,
Including my own angel, wings of Isis flapping.
Bandages are unwrapping
The royal mummy, who’s been napping, but opens her charms.
My Egypt angel wraps me in her arms.

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