En Route by Kerry Filippone

Narrative Poem:                                                             

In a state far from my own, I am in a standard room in a popular

Hotel with its requisite mass -produced décor and average furnishings
The room is smelly, like bad body odor, which housekeeping

Assures me is from the new carpeting just recently installed.

I wonder how bad it had to be, before they decided to replace it?

Smelling like sweat, I don’t consider it much of an upgrade.

I think of a bad horror movie where blood seeps, pools and stains.

The hotel calls itself budget friendly, although I do not know to whose

Budget they are referring, certainly not mine. It does not make friends

With my wallet, maybe more amenable to someone of more means,

But calling it budget friendly is much better than the alternative-cheap.

However, it does seem a little pricey for the accommodations especially

Considering the stench. Hopefully, the free breakfast makes up for a lot.

Through my window I can look across to the other side of the hotel,
Which is problematic because you must always keep the blinds drawn.

Unless you want to see your neighbors, or have them see you, I’m not sure

What is worse-naked probably. The only plus is the view of the indoor

Pool. At night it is illuminated, and I can see the swimmers, like watching a

Movie, last evening filled with a men’s wresting team, in town for a match.

I saw them eating earlier in the restaurant. There is a beefiness to some of


Them which I’m certain benefited from the generous buffet. I hope they

Skip breakfast or we all might starve. There is also a ladies basketball

Team that arrived on a bus, I think, from New Jersey. They play bad music

Loudly in the hall outside my room to psych themselves up for the big game.

I’m hoping they are not planning celebratory or consolation music later.

There is a group here for a wedding, flitting in and out between events.

Dressed in their finest in the middle of the day. Waiting in the lobby for the

Rented van, they stand out with heavy makeup and questionable fashions. I

Thought there were more rules about what one should wear to a daytime affair-

Something about not upstaging the bride. The little boys wear matching three

Piece suits and shiny black shoes, which make them look like ridiculously

miniature adults-mini men.

There are also people staying here for their work concerns in the area. They dress

In business casual and sport soft, nylon, over the shoulder bags that carry their Computers. I was always more a fan of maybe a dress, or proper suit and tie, and a

Good leather briefcase, if you are going to conduct affairs. They may be in need

Of mini men’s clothes. You can tell that they’re not at the hotel for fun, rather somber

And serious, but all that changes, when their workday ends and the lobby bar opens.

There is also a scattering of families traveling. They have come for the local

Recreation but have stayed just far enough away from any area attractions so as

To get a good deal. For them, putting five in a room, while cramped, does make it

Favorable for their finances. There are a few tourists as well, some from overseas.

They have read the up to the minute online reviews but somehow, are still

Disappointed with the quality or service, or maybe, just bothered by stinky carpeting.

The walls are very thin and I can here life all around me all night long. The
Wedding goers returning, talking in their loud liquor voices to their friends down

The hall. Exhausted families with cranky kids returning from day trips, foreign

Languages, and a distant, too loud TV. I can see the wrestling and basketball

Teams chicken fighting in the pool, away from their tired chaperones’ watchful

Eyes. I wonder if any of the business people got lucky- in life today, or later, in love.

Even now at 3am, though it has finally hushed, there is still movement. I like being in places that buzz around the clock, that never cease. Where people are awake at all hours and activity is continually transpiring. The hotel its own living organism made up of many cells. I grew up in a small town that shut down by 11pm, where you could pretty much be assured that everyone else was also asleep in the middle of the night. I find comfort in the 24/7. Although I complain, the close proximity of others in transit stopped temporarily, for one reason or another, is vastly reassuring. Even if it means I might

have some extra laundry, or risk smelling like a wrestler’s armpit when I finally return home.