In the latest issue:

The American Virus

Eliot Weinberger

The Home Life of Inspector Maigret

John Lanchester

Story: ‘Have a Seat in the Big Black Chair’

Diane Williams

The Last Whale

Colin Burrow

In Beijing

Long Ling

Princess Margaret and Lady Anne

Rosemary Hill

At the Movies: ‘Arkansas’

Michael Wood

Ruin it your own way

Susan Pedersen

At Home

Jane Miller

The Ottoman Conundrum

Helen Pfeifer

Poem: ‘Muntjac’

Blake Morrison

Piketty’s Revolution

Geoff Mann

Short Cuts: In Tripoli

Jérôme Tubiana

Coetzee Makes a Leap

Christopher Tayler

At Auckland Castle: Francisco de Zurbarán

Nicola Jennings

Drain the Swamps

Steven Shapin

Diary: In the Isolation Room

Nicholas Spice

Camera ObscuraRobert Crawford
Close
Close

Nae knickers, all fur coat
Slurped Valvona and Crolla,
Tweed-lapelled, elbow-patched, tartan-skirted,
Kilted, Higgs-bosoned, tramless, trammelled and trammed,
Awash with drowned witches prematurely damned,
Prim as skimmed milk, cheesily floodlit, breezily,
Galefully, Baltically cold with royal
Lashings of tat and Hey-Jimmy wigs, high on swigs
Of spinsterish, unmarried malt;
City of singletons, salt
Of the tilled earth, castled, unqueened, unkinged
Capital of no one knows what yet, bankers’
Losses mounting your besieged
Acropolises, the Waverley snow
Spattering on Sir Walter’s deerhound, agley
This way and that, on the black cat
Crossing the kirkyard, the cartoon lassie
With the silver tassie, the boy
With a toy gun gunning for Covenanters,
The carlin ranting by the Water of Leith, the filed, billable teeth
Of lawyers, not proven under a barefaced cheek
Of chloroform, high-tea sunsets, Jennerdoms of discreetest passion,
Lace curtains drawn over mooning cannonballs, randy as the barrel of Mons Meg,
All brass bells unpolished, Magdalenism, Darwinian butchery,
Knox-talk, broderie, Brodies, bestial vennels,
Drug deals done under far too many bridges,
Midges, lost Provosts, the whole Botanic jing-bang,
Rhododendrons and ducks, fresh pasta and spliced Paolozzis,
Ramparts, rampant kirks, laddies’ and ladies’ hat-works,
David Humery, domes with hearty, clarty splashings,
The crowned spire, the dungeons, the crags, the old lags, the seagulls
Raucous on carless early mornings, the Firth of Forth perjink past crowsteps
Of informatics, draughty parallelograms, pandas and heritage pubs,
Cannons pointing rudely down the Canongate, the New Town’s trig
Windowboxes geraniumed for suffragettes’ parades,
The Bioquarter, the Quartermile, the hanged, drawn, and quartered,
Halls, gardens, harpsichords, waterfalls, jiggings and jeggings,
Festivals, Days Estival with lawyers’ clerks, and couthy, uncouth doctors,
Surgeons’ Hall surgeons, the burked dead, the Fringe, the redheads,
Hoaxed hexes, Samhain dreamers, schemies,
Anaemic academics, to-die-for grass, strollers, statuesque stalkers
Capering on parade with fire-eaters, unicyclists, caber-tossers, pipes and drums
Youtubed ad infinitum, the heady, reikie breath, and the rush of breathless newbies
Just off the train and already never leaving.

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