Night Porter Blues

A poem first published in my collection Treacled Veins

Night Porter Blues

walking the evening passage,
passages of empty,
routine of this, occasionally that
ticking past the night
of the porter of night,
uniform dark, as
the night is dark,
pallor of grey, as
the night is grey
four o’clock walk
checking a lock
one or two,
all quiet
but for the keys,
they do what they like
the soft shoe pad
along the halls,
the elevator beep
stirs slumbering cogs
of the lifting dragon
from six, past seven
and on to eight,
the snuffled snore from 802,
the hacking cough
in the fuggy hue
by the Penthouse Suite,
a Champagne bucket
– a birthday treat
the distant thunder
– shattered remains
of the long planned Prom
recycled evidence – gone,
except the single Jimmy Choo
on the pavement out front
all forgotten, feeling blue
a bother of gulls assess its worth
but find the kebab salad more appealing
– bundles of words arrive
inspired, still cold, unloved
then unwrapped – fate penned
802 – snuffled snore – New York Times
there’s a surprise
five o’clock walk
check a lock
one or two
all quiet
but for the keys
they do what they like
the soft shoe pad
along the halls
a whisper of toast, hot and buttered
hugged by coffee, fresh and teasing,
tugging at the porter’s flagging soul
– a symphony of pots
and screaming pans
drags the day closer
– curtains blink, dusters dust
the evening passage
passes by
to pass again
time to go
breakfast chef’s in
night porter’s out
pallor of grey,
as the night was grey
into the light, obscenely bright
a funereal smudge, rounds the corner
then he’s gone

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