Home > Journaling the Apocalypse > At the Last Hotel

At the Last Hotel

December 4, 2008

In here, where they stop along the way,
the night porter’s taking care of business —
arrivals and departures, room service,

security and welfare. He holds the keys,
manages the risks, a visible deterrent.
He checks the entryways, dark corners of reception,

the unattended spaces. He’s the one
who picks up what the travellers leave behind,
collects abandoned suitcases and bags.

He observes, arranges meetings, monitors
trespasses and transgressions, writes reports.
Left alone, he’ll clear the till

and count the day’s receipts, and then
one elbow on the desk, a little quiet music,
he reads The Guardian or the Evening Argus.

Midnight amplifies the tick of the revolving door,
footsteps in the lobby,
sudden buzz of the night-bell.

by Ray Templeton

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  1. December 5, 2008 at 5:42 am

    This is excellent. It reads well with a distinct yet unobtrusive rhythm and is well observed – or imagined. The picture of the gentlrman in question emerges with great clarity.

  2. Christina Pacosz
    December 5, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Having been a night clerk at a hotel, I really can appreciate the almost-other worldly job description in this poem of what turns out to be pretty mundane duties in reality but becomes so much more in this fine poem.

  3. December 5, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    But there’s also an odd sense of menace about it…

  4. December 7, 2008 at 8:47 am

    What they said. Wonderfully atmospheric and beautifully read, in just the right tone to evoke the person. The poem reminds me of some of Hopper’s paintings of lonely hotel rooms.

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