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Botanic Macaroni

Steven Shapin

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Tom Shippey

In the Lab

Rupert Beale

Will there be a Brexit deal?

Anand Menon

Short Cuts: Under New Management

Rory Scothorne

Out-Tissoted

Bridget Alsdorf

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Poem: ‘Country Music’

Ange Mlinko

On the Trail of Garibaldi

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You’ll like it when you get there

Tom Crewe

Early Kermode

Stefan Collini

‘The Vanishing Half’

Joanna Biggs

At the Movies: ‘The Truth’

Michael Wood

The Suitcase: Part Two

Frances Stonor Saunders

Poem: ‘Siri U’

Jorie Graham

Diary: Getting into Esports

John Lanchester

Close
Close

In the Hotel Egalitarian
the taps drip, here are containers
to catch the water, the bath tub
is big enough to hold a dog,
but the dog is blind
and bumps its nose against the taps
and the beds are too short.

In the Hotel Egalitarian
the grapes festoon the balconies
from which it is forbidden to make wine.
don’t make wine from the balconies
it says in large letters.
The liquor is lethal, but chew the balustrades
they will release the sweetness mixed with bitterness
any pleasant view reveals.

In the Hotel Egalitarian
everyone wears yachting camisoles without socks.
At night when the power fails,
they pass each other with surly shouts and imperatives
that have to do with the end of free electricity,
shouting Where’s the dog?
and other things
I really don’t want to repeat.

The blind dog is trotting down corridors
no one has ever seen. It stops to pee at the open doors
of forgotten rooms that once held statesmen.
Meanwhile the Hotel Egalitarian
organises moonlit trips upon the sea
for those who cannot read by starlight, and offers
hooks and line to anyone who wants them.
The squid are much too wise to bite.

On hot afternoons, round the hotel,
children play violent games
on bicycles with broken pedals.
The employees shoo them away.
If you are curious, someone will translate
the gibberish the children speak.
It is full of mysteries and prophecies
echoing the wild grunts that drift
from the windows of the Hotel Egalitarian.

Bring your partner. We deter the easy visitor,
but the blind dog on the hotel steps will know
you when you come, and it will bark
its soft, muffled bark, like this.

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