Rating the Hotel California on TripAdvisor
No vacancies at the Heartbreak Hotel
and Lonely Street a dead end:
a coat of paintwork in it
backing the RV up to the intersection.
Two limeys failing at the American dream.
It didn’t appeal, another night
kipping among the redwoods, no water
or sani-dump or electricity hook-up.
Another morning stripped to the waist
over a sink the size of a cereal bowl,
upper torso, pits, the quick scrape
of a half-arsed shave. We were after
a hotel, a motel, a cheap room
above a liquor store, anywhere
with a functioning shower and a toilet
that operated on some other principle
than chemical deconstruction.
It was a desert highway, dark, something
rising up from the road or the earth
in a warm haze. A slow lazy guitar line
unspooled from the radio. In the distance
a sound like a carillon, but nothing
for miles around to suggest a church,
a monastery, anything with a belltower.
The parking lot shimmered
like a swimming pool. The concierge
had the smile of a pimp being interviewed
by the Grim Reaper.
The lobby ululated. The bellboy
didn’t look like he even knew what
a Lambretta was. The carpets
were patterned like Kubrick.
The room was 70s Euro-cheese horror,
Edwige Fenech promising heaven
before a mask with a straight-razor
straight-up ends you. The revelries
in the courtyard are best not mentioned.
The night porter’s vaguely Germanic lisp
bothered us. We only figured on staying
the one night. That was a while ago.
Checking out is like something from Kafka.
My brief third person bio: Neil Fulwood was born in 1972, the son of a truck driver, the grandson of a miner. For some weird reason, he started writing poetry. Even more weirdly, some of it's been published.