The kilted porter shook my hand in welcome,
by Roddy Lumsden
drained it of blood and gave me back my luggage.
I signed the register in my own name
for the first time in my life of low celebrity.
In the lounge bar, there were pictures by Margarita
but no sign of margaritas by the pitcher.
All night, the couple in the next-door room
failed noisily to make love even once.
The signature tune of the air conditioning
was a surface B-side for any one-hit-wonder.
Weary, I ordered up the late night menu
from room service, but sleep wasn't on it
so, after an hour of mentally undressing myself,
I donned the pyjamas with the killer bee motif
and there on the bed I wrote a dozen
identical postcards to friends I'd forgotten.
No doubt to keep the cold tap company,
the hot tap had opted to be a cold tap too.
Funnel-web spiders wove their lazy way
toward each other across the scarlet ceiling
and when I solved the riddle of the shower,
no blood came gushing, but no water either.
By the bed, a Gideon Bible in Esperanto
and a phone-book listing Lumsdens of the world;
in the mini-bar, flat Vimto and a half-pint
of someone else's mother's milk, turned to fur.
The TV had one channel, showing highlights
from my worst performances in every sphere.
At three, in the courtyard, a chambermaid choir
sang a barbershop version of ‘I Will Survive'.
The only time I dared to close my eyes,
dervishes under the bed began to talk dirty.
When I left at nine and settled my check,
they told me clearly Don't come back.