Welcome to the Hotel Caledonia

Jo Colley

There's a view that stretches to infinity
via parallel lines: the river beaded with light
the road back to the city
a darkening horizon shafted by highrise.

Architectural gems grace the towpath:
an armadillo crouches hoarding sound
a hatchery of offices glow in vacant confidence
spawn robot office staff within.

The Clyde quivers in the chill night breeze
looks troubled. Elderly.
Weary with its transformation
nipped and tucked beyond endurance
mutton dressed as sushi.

It's a Ridley Scott homage
shot with film noir
everything in black and white
except those lights, a north sea legacy
leaking sulphur
bleeding propane.

From the sixth floor of the Hotel Caledonia
you see the taxi make its slow approach.
The way the headlamps swing in your direction
seek you out like tracker dogs
lungs bursting with the scent of your discarded skin.

The taxi pulls up, leaves its engine running.
Three of them get out.
You can tell by the way
they shake their trouser legs
adjust their crombies
they're packing hardware.

It's a no win. A done deal.
With nowhere left to run
you sit on one of the twin beds
your back to the door.
Wait for the terse knock
the questions you can't answer.
Dread the moment when
they force your pillowcased head
under the water for the final time.



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Jo Colley

Jo Colley writes:

Welcome to the Hotel Caledonia is in the category poem noir, if such a category exists (seems to in my work). The idea for it came when I was staying in a hotel in Glasgow, in an area which used to be shipyards, now transformed into a place where no trace of shipyard remains. It's also about how I feel when I have to stay in those anonymous corporate places: lonely and vulnerable, and bizarrely guilty. The poem is from my most recent collection, Weeping for the Lovely Phantoms, which was published by Salt in 2007. I do have a tendency to nick song titles (maybe that's why they're after me).

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Welcome to the Hotel Caledonia © 2008 Jo Colley: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.


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This page last updated 19th September 2008