Provenance Hotel
Poem by Sochi Azuh

1.
Walking down the hallway,
White noises, talk shows and the Khardashians
Slip through the gap under forbidding room doors
Like a clandestine notes of proposition…
Something here like a bird call from over the hills or those tweets
And caws from some yellow-breasted avian dodging behind a wide-palm leaf –
they take you back every time.
There is a railway station some ways from the hotel
And from my bed side I can hear the tooting of a traversing train, her
Steam and smoke only billowing in my mind’s eyes;
It is either coming or going.
We are all either coming or going.
Walking into the room, I made for my knee-high economy bed,
A swift and thoughtless procession,
And the bed dressing relinquished these radial creases and folds
As my buttocks sank into the mattress. Softness is not always comfort
And the only history I share with this room is a receipt for one night’s boarding
(it was signed by a Mr. XYZ who used to be a furniture designer but now runs this hotel).
No ghosts here gnawed the tables
Or crayon graffiti on the walls’ knees
No scents or accents in the air – they only exist in your stories
Of home – they follow you everywhere.

2.
In the morning, no cock crow wakes the sun
But a wake-up call from the Hotel Manager
This should be my first complaint to be lodged
But I think, “I’m only passing through,” and dismiss the thought
Like waving a fly off a frothing gourd of palm
Wine
Goes well with breakfast. If I turn up at the counter
In suit and tie, I might not forgive myself. I do, regardless.
And look good in it too, or so, Mr. XYZ says…
Without a history or recommendation on his taste for fashion,
I accept his complement. The wake-up call incident is forever buried.
Before I check out, I want to leave the cleaner a note
Of thanks and farewell. The first words were not the first to come to me
So I wrote the last words first, “I must be leaving now. Thank you and good bye.”
That was when I remembered the words I hadn’t realised I’d forgotten:
“There is a tip under my pillow. I finally figured out the alarm clock is broken
And that is why Mr. XYZ makes his wanton wake-up call. The room was
Clean when I arrived and I hope I didn’t make too much of a mess
For a one-nighter. Kudos but I must be leaving now…
Thank you and Good Bye.

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