Posted: May 2, 2014 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , ,




Bukowski would have loved this place
A real fleabag motel
No fridge
No ice,
Some cigarette-burned
Ancient RCA TV
Bolted to a low bureau,
Strips of pressed wood
Peeled off,
Sits next to a Gideon Bible;
Lamps tilt at weird angles,
Chairs of ripped fake leather,
In worse shape than Salvation
Army retreads;
Grey-white walls marred
With black boot heel marks
Near the door;
Dirty handprints
Smudge the wall near the bed;
A bullet hole marks the wall
Just above the TV;
The plastic covers of the electrical sockets
Are cracked, split;
Brown water stains the gray ceiling tiles.
Yeah, this is a Buk place,
A real roach motel.
A six pack, maybe something harder,
Would make it habitable.
Out back, on the other side of the parking lot,
The steady clickityclack and haunting whistle
Of a freight train as it passes a crossing
Makes this dump almost romantic.
Well, at least the sheets are clean.
And anyway,
All I need is a place to sleep
And shower
And shit.
It’s perfect
For all that.


10:40 p.m.
Just getting settled
For bed.
Phone rings
“Hello, I need you to come
To the front desk.”
Indian accent,
This place is run by Paul’s Pakis.
“You need to fill out
Some papers.”
“For the police.”
“You need to come here,
Something about your neighbor in 234.”
“I don’t know, you need to come down here
Right away.”
All right.

I hang up,
Put my shirt on,
Grab my wallet and keys –
Maybe that’s a bad move.
Some mugger might be waiting
Just outside the door.
But I might need an ID.
I take out my money, credit cards,
Slip them under the mattress.
(Strange, I’d never think of doing that in Okinawa.
But in this rundown Indiana fleabag motel
Bullet holes and boot heels marking the walls,
I worry.)

Maybe the call was a hoax.
A ploy to get me to open the door.
Wait, what if it’s really the cops
And they need my contacts in this burg?
Maybe I should take my address book.
Nah, if they need them I’ll just go back to the room.

I open my door,
Step out,
No one around except
The trash-fed stray
Cat that hangs around the stairs.
She meows loudly,
Scurries away.
I descend the cracked concrete stairs,
Glance at my rented car.
No stranger there;
Bright lights allow
No shadowed lairs.
I round the corner
To the front office
Door’s locked.
I spot a woman inside
Waving me to a security window
Like a self-serve gas station at night.
I rap on the window
And a Paki-Indian-Bangledeshi
Man walks up.
“Can I help you?”
Yeah, what do you want?
“What do YOU want?”
I dunno, someone called me
Told me to come down here
And fill out some papers.
“Sorry, no one called.”
Someone did.
“Not from here, my friend.”
But someone said there was a complaint
From room 234.
“I am sorry, my friend, but no one called.”
No call?
“Someone did the
Same thing yesterday.

I go back to the
$25 a night room
With mold in the shower
And crusting the
Air conditioner.

I am convinced the mugger
Had positioned himself
To strike when I return.
But I am greeted only
By stray cat
In the open garbage bin
Maybe he’s already in my room
Maybe he slipped in there
While I was gone and
He’s cleaned me out.
I walk around the corner
To the stairway,
Stare at the door to 234 —
No sign of life
I open my door,
No one here,
Nothing missing,
Just one big
Fucking pain in
The ass practical joke.

I’ve been robbed of nothing
Except my sleep.

By David Allen

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