Oh! The Glamour!

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Awoke this morning with a mighty start,
Suspended in the inky void.
Tried to slow my racing heart,
My dreamless slumber now destroyed.

Reached for where I knew the lamp was,
Where I though it might have been,
Came up empty, hurt my hand ‘cause
There’s a wall where lamp had been.

Confusion, now, my brain has gripped,
I start to wonder where I am.
Veneer of smugness now has slipped,
Consult my mental diagram!

Roll across the bed and fall out,
Find myself upon the floor.
Why am I awake? A call-out?
Search around for bathroom door.

Find the bathroom. Find the light.
Of course! It’s slowly coming back!
Could it be time for my next flight?
‘Cause if it is, I’d better to pack!

Frantically, I quickly shower,
Dress and fill my useless bag;
Leave the room, descend the tower.
God! This life can be a drag!

Make my entrance to the lobby,
In uniform with cap in hand.
Hotel staff all look so snobby,
Crew has gone! Well, I’ll be damned!

‘Twas then I spied the lobby clock,
My heart then sank just like a stone.
It’s 2 am! Oh what a shock!
Of course, I really should have known!

Ten hours early, I am now –
A trial run, of course, I planned.
Vacate the lobby with a bow;
You frequent flyers understand!

Stephen Tomkins
13 July 2015
Shanghai.

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Author’s note: I make no comment as to whether the above incident actually took place.

Lanterns

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Paper lanterns,
Swaying gently in the breeze,
Light my way
As icy night replaces
Grey and friendless day.

Nebulous clouds above,
Inconsolable,
Quietly vent their sorrow
On the indifferent figure hurrying below
As, one day done, they contemplate
The morrow.

One frame from a life now snatched,
Clinical and detached,
I observe the scene:
Hastening and serene,
Rushing from, yet rushing to,
Is one day ever really through?

Stephen Tomkins
7 March 2015

Narita, Japan

Midnight Departure

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Pinpricks of white in an indigo sky,
Stars twinkling at us, they’re not at all shy.
A platinum moon shines ethereal light
On towering battlements, black, edged in white.
Cathedrals of Cumulus, silent, imposing,
At eight miles a minute, we’re rapidly closing.
From deep inside, there’s a bright flash of light,
Perhaps it’s the incense that chose to ignite?
Threading the needle between them we go
While back in the cabin, you hardly would know.
A few hours later, the sky pales ahead
And rapidly morphs into deepest blood red.
Below us the ground turns a purplish hue,
And gradually features start coming to view.
Orange, then pink and finally gold,
The sun then ascends, it’s a sight to behold.

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Stephen Tomkins
9 February 2015

Frequent Flyer

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My suitcase and I appear joined at the hip;
He loyally follows me on every trip.
When I turn around, I find he’s always there;
A most faithful companion since I pay his fare.
He carefully stows and transports all my things
On four little wheels as if carried by wings.

He never complains about being too tired
And by his consistency, I’ve been inspired.
I started recounting the deeds of the day
Even though, clearly, he’d little to say.
But when I began to invite him to lunch
My sweet darling wife promptly gave me a punch!

All had been fine until this latest trip;
I started to feel I was losing my grip.
I was telling him red was much better than black,
It was then that I realised that I’d finally cracked!
He answered me back in a deep muffled voice
And fondly advised that I’d made a good choice!

My life was unravelling quickly from there –
At home, he would sit in my wife’s favourite chair.
Despite her entreaties, I thought her unfair –
My luggage obsession soon brought her despair.
I’m writing this now from my warm padded cell;
The doctors assure me that all will be well!

Stephen Tomkins
27 August 2014