Leporello at the Travelodge by Neil Fulwood

It’s one thing playing wing-man
while the Don’s making his moves –
lurking in the shrubbery, watching
for groundsmen or the returning father
of Giovanni’s latest fancy –

quite another to be relegated
to his actual job title
while the going’s good and Mr Cocksure
is occupying a suite at The Grand
or The Hilton or wherever’s flash enough

to coax laughter from reticence
and gowns from shoulders.
The Don, living beyond his means,
hiding from eternity
behind a stockade of graceful women

and Leporello, redundant for now,
sequestered on the other side of town,
awaiting orders. This room
is utilitarian. The corridor affords
a vending machine, the window

a view of the car park and the bins.
There’s a bar ten minutes’ walk
and a dozen second thoughts from here –
pool table, juke, a neon sign
for an American beer it doesn’t serve.

Leporello pockets his keycard.
He knows how it’ll be. No soft waltzes,
no pizzicati of champagne corks,
no amorous whispers or promises;
just the morning after, two bills to settle

and the only difference the price of the room.

neil fulwood

Neil Fulwood is the author of The Films of Sam Peckinpah and co-editor, with David Sillitoe, of More Raw Material: work inspired by Alan Sillitoe (Lucifer Press). His poetry has appeared in Butcher’s Dog, The Morning Star, The Interpreter’s House and The Lampeter Review.

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