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 House of York

John Guy

At the Movies: Pasolini’s ‘Teorema’

Michael Wood

Secrets are like sex

Neal Ascherson

Poem: ‘The Bannisters’

Paul Muldoon

Clarice Lispector

Rivka Galchen

Marius Petipa

Simon Morrison

At the Foundling Museum: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’

Joanne O’Leary

Caroline Gordon v. Flannery O’Connor

Rupert Thomson

Revism

Joe Dunthorne

Poem: ‘The Reach of the Sea’

Maureen N. McLane

Diary: Where water used to be

Rosa Lyster

How to set up an ICU

Lana Spawls

Two PoemsAlissa Quart
Close
Close

Protocol

In Rome, they forget
their time, though such
forgetting is an error
of sense. Forget an age
of shoe bomber, of underwear
detonator, of airplane
null. Forget American
Gosselin serialism: eight
children they do not
love; a dozen screens,
playing losing games.

These are all signs; bright
as a street corner,
audible as punks-with-beasts.

New York’s dowdy water
towers are sentinels
of a time unremarked, a decade, unremarkable.
Save for
the rise of protocol.

Driftwood

One day you are ordering extra
olives and the next day: one
of The Damned.

I had worked this carapace,
that I lived in: modular, notched,
pieces of oak. I built myself
of driftwood, cables.
My face forced yet nonchalant.
Sometimes I was an artist’s wife
my dress long, hair a sheaf
Sometimes I was an extra on
the show Cop Rock.
A singing policewoman
waiting for crimes.
I was pleated,
a follower, collateral
damage on the sands.
Sometimes I prevailed: a memo,
lithographic, afternoon-like, sharp-edged.

The stamp of unbelonging
had always belonged to me.
Soon I returned to anywhere
but the beginning.
Homes of cockroaches.
Sunken rooms of bruisers.
Islands of police Sirens.
Each year I lived was broken
back into pieces

of driftwood, as if born
to lose. An explosive device
in every fucking pot.

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