Flat 46 is pressed and a thin, little voice
bristles through the lattice.
The door hums me in and
I stand waiting in the foyer,
rehearsing all the possible angles.
It makes me think of Room 143
at Stamford School: the French oral’s battle-ground.
The tunnel like halls. The waiting. The reciting.
To me the words little more than sounds,
delivered no differently than
the rolling off of the alphabet
years on from Primary School:
a becomes c, becomes l, m, n, o . . .
Now, the lift welcomes me with a moan
and I return to my lines. Before I can realise
I am up some floors, hashing it out,
agreeing to see myself in the way that she does.
“There are some conditions,” she says
and I concede more than I had intended to,
rallied by the feeling of being so close
to the end, regretting having held out
for so long at all.
But still, an apology, that she accepts —
It is hours later, as the commuters
start to shake off their rest,
when I decide to walk home.
As I walk I start to mouth the word
until I have it by heart, by breath,
until it is just a sound;
“Désolé, désolé, désolé . . .”
Daumenkino (Thumb Cinema)
I’m looking back and stumble upon an anthology of hers:
Several Variants on a Pose (Mostly Out of Focus).
My mind hungers across the space from eye to screen,
to the legions of her face, toying with symmetry,
in the iOS grid. I am noticeably absent
and with every rushed frame and finger-tapped
composition I imagine her sitting upright in my bed,
waiting for me to re-enter the room
so the joke can reach its payoff.
After scrolling down, I see myself come in, half-smiling,
to the corner of the frame. Then it’s blurred:
my hand, her hair, my face, her frown.
I notice (my thumb is beginning to ache)
if I skim through them fast enough
they take on something more —
I stay at it a while longer and make flip books
of myself, some places, some jaunts and her.
Finally, my eyes having cottoned-on to the trick,
I pare myself from the screen and remember
her saying — “You should keep them for posterity.”
Or do I just imagine she said that?
The continental buffet is laid out like a board game,
waiting for its players to pick pieces and roll dice.
Food rushed through before on your own stifled mornings
dampens, here, in shallow trays, on a grander scale.
The website teased in racy brackets
something complimentary in the morning (foreign delights?).
For the businessmen, travelling mourners
and father/son budget trips,
promises of no half measures.
8AM: the corridor leading to reception
carries only vaguely the air of possibility
and after your first trip up, plate in hand,
you find it trapped there in the cold, fleshy eggs and croissant flakes.
Close your eyes. Imagine a different place:
away from the hum of the A15, the conference calls and
the shared single room.
You lather yourself with luxury shampoo in a luxury shower,
water beating down — admire yourself in the mirror —
breakfast awaits . . .
Jamie Cameron is a Welsh writer, journalist and freelance anything living in the Midlands for a year as he prepares for post-graduate study. He focuses on writing about the commonplace, the contemporary and the casual discoveries of everyday life. He has only recently started submitting his own work but all his pre-existing poetry, fiction and reviews can be found at his website jamiepetercameron.com