DAY BEFORE THE SKY:
This is for the honeymooners, fresh in from Dublin who found me
sheltering in the rain. This is for David who called on a train
from Essex back to Brighton when I was sitting in Union Square.
This is for the Waiters, Waitresses & furious fingered cooks working
diner kitchens, feeding nations. The smiles & the “How are you’s?”,
the quiet booths in corners to focus scattered thoughts. This is for
internet radio connecting me to home, the DJ’s familiar voices, the
playlists & producers, transmitters & technicians, wires & cables,
and this hotel for giving me access to molecules of a signature sound.
This is for the faces of family that facetime before I sleep,
peering at me in the middle of the night when they forget I’m in bed.
The laughs we have laughed & the tears cried together – never alone
again. This is for the sun in the desert that dried my washing,
allowing me to reach home smelling clean. This is for the Oatmeal
that stood in for Porridge & the tea bags that delivered real tea!
This is for sleep that came too infrequent & dreams I’d rather not
remember. This is for the hands in the air, the lasers, lights &
cameras, the sound systems & crews of theatres & stages. This is for
the unsung, unseen, un-named who eased the longing for home by
welcoming us into their manor, never giving us grief or attitude &
always delivering. This is for the doormen, the security, the
follow spot operators, truck drivers, runners & the angels of
catering. This is for all the hotel windows that opened so I didn’t
have to mash my throat with aircon or suffocate with it off. This is
for the desert sun in the morning, the long drive with my brother
through the mountains, the time together saying little but enough.
This is for radio preachers & classic American Rock. This is for
the construction crew outside the hotel who took time to explain
the process of decorative concrete. This is for Fat Dawg & Subway
guitars & the nineteen year old who built the best telecaster I’ve
ever played. This is for the faces who crowded into an Essex church
when I was asleep to celebrate the life of a great man, the poems &
the eulogies. This is for the spontaneous applause they burst into
as his coffin left the building (bigger than Elvis), an act so ‘right’
I couldn’t hold back the tears.