Outside, endlessly, weather waits for us, hangs out, high, breathing, turns like a sleeper tugging stubborn sheets, rolls its urgent bulk impatiently. Under arching branches grass-blades yearn for the weight of us as do silences for our footsteps and sunlit walls, nervously, for our shadows. Indoors, a dull passion perfumes the stairwell, contact lingers on the landing, aching rooms shimmer with anticipation. Enduring absence is a torment which folds inward like beaching waves asking, always asking whether we will ever come.
Spanish Sunbed Ennui
Gulls glide smoothly
Silent as cursors, they slide
across their wide blue screen.
Dozens of diligent bees
ceaselessly inspect and collect
from outstretched feeding fingers
of lavender, luscious, lilac and inviting.
Beside us, and beside itself with hearsay
the spa pool circulates its rushed rash
of rash rumours, burbling a constant
conspiratorial bursting babble of bubbles.
A sparrow lands on the lawn
with a frantic butterfly in its beak.
Here it repeatedly drops it, picks it up again
playing, as a cat might with a dying mouse.
The lifeguard shifts listlessly.
He’s bored because no one is drowning.
A dead wasp floats at the edge of the pool.
Surely he should’ve saved it. Like us, he’d nothing else to do.
Waiters collect filled ashtrays and a scattered litter
of coffee cups, wrappers, paper plates, plastic glasses.
But no one comes to collect us. The sun climbs down the sky.
Disappointed, we gather our detritus of possessions, and go.
Silent as a page, the emptied pool flattens.
Flapping pigeons, grey as aircraft, fly in.
Landing poolside, they glance around, drink and leave.
Staff straighten seats and sunbeds. Then all stills, like a selfie.
Nick Toczek is a full-time writer and performer from Bradford, Yorkshire. He has published more than forty books, mostly of poetry. As a writer-in-schools he’s worked throughout the UK and worldwide visiting more than three dozen countries. For more information on his work, check out his website: http://www.nicktoczek.com.