Essential to any beach trip this summer
is Mouna Lellouche’s Obsidian Nights,
an exploration of the self and modernity,
and best consumed in its original Berber,
of course. She’s been gone a year now.
There’s no book that shouts ‘READ ME!’
louder than the waves which crash
upon the rocks than John Phillipston’s
fine new exploration of equine prostitution
in early modern theatre, ‘Tis Pity
She’s a Horse’. I woke one morning
and she’d just cleared out. And, finally,
any time spent relaxing underneath that –
no note, nothing – Mediterranean sun
would be incomplete without the latest –
she’d only taken the little suitcase –
Oriana Malmoud, whose new book,
The Insubstantiality of Things, is a sustained critique
of consumer culture – pizza again tonight –
which, she argues, can only be combated
by a new set of moral imperatives.
O do not ask
if I am beach body ready.
Observe how the folds
of my stomach ripple
like the wind-pulled waves.
Feel these pale buttocks,
smoothed by the sand-grains
Note these milk-white limbs,
useless and stranded,
washed up whalebones.
Consider the tufts of hair
which sprout on my shoulders
And listen to the lapping
of my socks
at the shores of my sandals.
And you ask me
if I am beach body ready?
through the air
above our heads
over the sand
into the water
onto the waves
out to sea.
You cried a lot that day.
Frisbee was a lovely dog.
on a beach in Bournemouth in ’79,
holidaying with some parents of mine,
i attempted to dig a tunnel
down to Australia
the project was a failure
but the memory of that day stayed;
i should have used a bigger spade