I look for faces in the Artex swirls on the dusty ceiling,
I look for faces in the Anaglypta wallpaper, peeling
With damp and the clumsy attentions of curious little paws.
I look for faces in the resin Victoriana handles
On the incongruous chest of dressing-table drawers
Squeezed impractically tight into a cluttered, untidy corner
Where lurks – for Business Clientèle – a Corby trouser press,
Next to a diminutive, unbranded kettle with a six inch flex
That won’t bloody fit into the tiny sink to fill, and
So has to be replenished from one of the mis-matched
Pair of floral cups. I’m very careful not to spill.
A hard and lumpy bed to sleep, and a dining chair to sit,
Across the murky 40-watt illuminated landing,
On a timer switch, there’s poorly fitted, temperamental shower
With confusing controls, and a claustrophobic place to shit.
An old glass sugar bowl covered with re-applied cling film,
Individually sealed Bourbons and instant sachets of various drinks,
Plus on the pillows – a welcoming pair of Aldi after dinner mints;
These all kindly supplied (gratis) to boost the sugar levels and to greet.
A nice getaway-from-it-all break in a B & B for a long weekend
Is just what you need to put you back on your knackered feet,
And will soon have those weeping mental blisters on the mend!
But in my aching insomniac’s discomforting dreams
I see faces unbidden, sinister, rapacious and vaguely occluded
Whose spiteful eyes and lascivious brows have intruded
Into my lonely, dark-distorted, horizontal thoughts.
Yes, I’ve come away but look who else I’ve brought…
Travel a thousand miles and you still can’t chuffing win.
And yet… the Balmoral in Morecambe. The Torquay in King’s Lynn.
The Windermere in Yeovil… perhaps The Great British Boarding House –
At once both a bastion of propriety and sin –
Understands us better than we understand ourselves,
Because our one true wish, it seems, is always to be somewhere else.