• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 02
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This is what all the posters blaring read,
Dingy-up the tube lines, plastered.
As if it is supposed to make them heed
Us, the young, when we asked them

About blue skies and futures new.
As if Venice wasn’t acqua alta – alta,
Already, the grey sea up dewing
The Tintorettos in the galleries.

As if you loved him like Ruskin did,
The shadows the crowded drapery,
On gesso and hope and katydids,
Tintoretto, that you could lately

Live for him, and him alone.
But look, this is Kentish Town,
The rain has inward blown
The tiled stairwell and the round

Red caps tempt on bleach bottles,
Bike throttles, throat catches all is.
A downed pill in perspectival mottles
White in a dark pit; but Haydn, Tallis!

The dirtier epigrams of Martial!
Looking westward we hope you see
That we ask you to live for what is partial,
Hoarded, lode-stones like steps in Galilee



Taken on water; so don’t kill yourself,
Passenger, don’t drink the cleaner
For the drain, and from the meaner means
Of numbness now abstain:

You, We, the posters beg per se,
Plead futilely that you don’t knife a sentry,
A vital organ, because today and every day

The National Gallery has free and open entry.