last sitting at table 58

last sitting at table 58 – threadbare carpet hotel breakfast


‘té? café? sir? madam?’

‘is there marmalade?’

‘I fetch you mermelada’

‘and a spoon for my muesli’

‘I fetch you, cuchara, madam’

‘no, ‘spoon’, I said’


porridge is being ladled and admired


‘the Scots spell porridge ‘porage’’

‘I didn’t know that’

‘I have five prunes in mine each morning’

‘prunes eh? I think I’ll join you’

‘prunes are good for the stool’

‘I didn’t know that’


my designated commensal is absent

I can’t recall his name

he claims a dry sense of humour

‘but not many people get my jokes’

it occurs that he might have died overnight


I won’t miss him nor his conversation

his porridge-brain philosophies

his rattling teeth

he’s never heard of fixative?


he said he was political

proud at always voting Labour


was it Tory?


I won’t miss his toast crumbs splattering the table

and his slurping ‘aahs’ at tomato soup or breakfast tea


‘té? senor?’

‘a cup of tea? smashing’

the waiter pours a coffee

I sigh ‘thanks’ to a vanishing back


‘té? café? sir? madam?’

‘do you have lime marmalade?

‘lima mermelada? lo siento, senora’


mine is the window table

at my back a shuffle of plate-loaders

at the toaster bottleneck

erupts into angry muttering


a plate smashes

someone swears

someone cheers

someone tuts


‘no use moaning over spilled beans’


somewhere in the glooming

wondrous Scotland is waiting


a prowling matelot shirt sidles up

seeking a partner in misery, asks,

‘how did you sleep?’

(like a baby but she doesn’t want to hear that)

I lie, ‘terrible, I hardly slept at all’

‘could you hear that generator?’ 
I lie again, ‘yes it kept me up all night’

‘you as well? I’m changing my room, you should too’


‘té? café? sir? madam?’

‘is there marmalade?’

‘I fetch you mermelada’

‘and a spoon for my muesli’

‘I fetch you, cuchara, madam’ 


at every table couples grown fat, comfortable,

and grey together, sit together,

discussing omelettes


except table 58

the one with the view of nothing much

which I share with some guy from nowhere

with a dry sense of humour

who didn’t make it to breakfast –

I hope he died overnight

choking on his dentures


in the half-light

a ‘private ambulance’ noses the gravel

I tap on my window


‘room for one more?’









© coolhermit 2023
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Ch, This is a gloomy piece but threaded through with self effacing humour which adds up to a poem unhappy with its existentialism, but perversely thoroughly in the moment.

Enjoyed it much.



I remember this one, Rick. It certainly brought back some memories of some shitty hotels I stayed in on my travels. I remember once staying in a third class hotel and it was full with people on a coach trip. I was glad I wasn’t on it when I saw the driver tanking it in the bar that night. (I won’t say the company, but their buses were blue)

Good one!

Last edited 2 years ago by Guaj
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