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

Three PoemsFrederick Seidel
Close
Close

A Problem with the Landing Gear

Cars travelling the other way
On the other side of the double yellow dividing line
Carry people you don’t know and never will.
The woman on the other side of the bed reading a book
Is likewise going somewhere else.

You are and you aren’t yours.
It’s like you’re on the other side of the road
From yourself in your car.
You’re on the other side of the bed
From her book.

At a Party

It’s her nose. It’s ravishing. It’s hooked. It’s huge.
The room storms with the woman’s blinding beauty, a deluge.
The face with the nose smiles, then quietly kisses you raw,
Her impossibly lovely profile looking suddenly like a lobster claw.
Kisses you suddenly, completely out of the blue.
It’s hard to understand what the face wants you to do.
Kisses you softly, deeply, over and over, and not a word is said.
That’s you over there in the middle of your old age asleep in bed
At the top of the World Trade Center Twin Towers, the party’s roar
Silenced when lightning opens the floor
And walks into the room and thunder stands there –
With Gauguin’s nose – kissing you in the scorched, terrified air.

A Man about to Come

Dinosaurs just prior to their extinction
Voted Tea Party Republican on the lovely outskirts
Of the orgasm about to flatten the planet.
The radical Tea Party, seeking
Less government and more probity,
Dresses up in the Second Amendment in Iowa
And in Colonial costumes in Kansas, and dumps
Taxable tea in Boston Harbor in Wyoming.
Long live the humane guillotine
That gave France her headless democrats
Casting vote after vote with that awful stare
They got from Robespierre – their Pol Pot –
A Solomon so fair, a man so virtuous, so rare!
A dinosaur with feathers is turning into a bird
Over millions of years, between my legs.
A car alarm in the street beneath
The heaving woman on my bed
Can’t stop honking:
Honk. Honk. Honk. Honk.
There is every reason to go on
For the pleasure of the city song,
Every reason to live on and on,
Although a man can prolong –
And a political movement can prolong –
Sheer morning gladness at the brim
For only so long.
A man about to come says so long.

Goodbye. So long.

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