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In the final scene a man waits

in the reception area of a hotel,

a spectator in a moving montage

seated alone,

in a cosy juxtaposition of service and flow.

No one notices him and his watching:

      the discreet frontage of the lifts

      and their smoothly quiet ascents and descents

      to reveal the occupants

      stepping from their padded confines

      some brisk, some dawdling, children

      like shot from a cartridge, scattering

      and tripping.


He is aware of this precisely.

      The enquiry desk with its computer

      which with infinite wisdom holds

      countless details of how and where to sleep people.


      To one side of the area a palm leafed restaurant,

      lectern ready for ushering and pre - booking ease


He watches

      as sliding doors let in the air and the spirits

      of an external throng, senses the vacuum

      withdrawal of funds that supports this other world.

      Like cogs and springs in a clock measured yet random

      the unseen toilers above maintaining rooms

      unsure speakers of the language in their lonely pods of necessity.

      Subterranean cars parked and cleaned,  a brisk service

      stories of discontent from unnoticed workers below.


In this position he is inviolable, needing nothing, wanting no one

and he continues watching from his leather tub chair typical of lounges.


      A woman and pekinese in perfect rhythm   

      drawing no comment, as haughty as stars

      on a swirl of carpet seque to a taxi rank.


He watches

      as a new manager positions himself so as to be conspicuous

      addressing a boy carrying luggage to the lifts,

      turns on his heel and tugs at an errant sleeve.


Time is passing

      the Earth and all it contains whispers

      with a moment's unrecognition

      as the man passes equally silently into oblivion

      his eyes now closed and stopped of heart.

life and death




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Thu 3rd Dec 2015 17:07

cheers Stu. Maybe more prose than poetry -but I just felt it .


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Stu Buck

Thu 3rd Dec 2015 11:40

love this ray. cant add anything that hasnt been said. wonderfully cinematic and descriptive prose.

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Wed 2nd Dec 2015 15:36

Well thanks Cynthia - your observations make a very shrewd point and you have described my own intentions exactly. They are certainly not surplus to the poem, in fact the clarity was supposed to be a shock when compared with the death. I found myself thinking of the scene in Brian de Palma's depiction of Grand Central Station in The Untouchables.


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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Wed 2nd Dec 2015 12:42

This is an extraordinary exercise in physical descriptive writing from a single set spot. The typical collage of activity and personalities in a lobby anywhere. And it gains another dimension of 'mind awareness' in the verse 'He watches -' that extends the obviously visible to the mentally unseen, both spacial and rational. The 'watcher' is still a person with great mental faculties. Perhaps I'm introducing a complexity that's not even there.

But I think the poem is really good.

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Wed 2nd Dec 2015 10:10

Thanks Colin. Quite a bit of freedom for description in this format. The twist of fate !

regards Ray

<Deleted User> (13762)

Wed 2nd Dec 2015 07:26

terrific piece of writing Ray - the detail of the moment and the inevitable moving on. Time is indeed sadly passing us all into oblivion.

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Martin Elder

Tue 1st Dec 2015 21:36

This really is like the final act in a play. captivating stuff

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