Dale Houstman is an extraordinary poet from America and I am his friend on the Internet. Today, I want to read a poem from his collection ‘A dangerous vacation’. There is a lot of extraordinary stuff but I stick to a not so long poem that has an enigmatic metaphor as a title:
A motel in the hotel of time
The highway reflects its sea
as the rain analyzes its bottle
(a white lamp
in the chaperoned lust of shapes
in a motel in the hotel of time
) There are many sentimental cakes
in the hands of childish warlords
pumping for a grander purpose (
You are noises
leaving noises behind
(A motel in the hotel of time.
A compact and powerful poem. The opening and closing brackets are real and denote hand gestures of the poet to accompany the poetic flow (at least in my interpretation). We are thrown on a David Lynch-like highway scene and don’t quite understand what is analyzed and reflected. Everything seems to be awake and aware, a panopticum of gaze. The lust of shapes is chaperoned, a triangle and an ellipse can’t make out on their own, mind you. They are carefully observed in the white light.
The whole purpose thing is childish and sentimental. What do you want to accomplish? In the end, you are only noises / leaving noises behind. The hotel of time: you can check out but you can never leave. It has full board, and its guests are bored, so bored they build a motel inside the hotel, a noisy motel where little children cry out for a grander purpose.
In a poem, not far away from this one, there is the line “Every name / garments in its day.” Is a motel in the hotel of time the same as the garment of a name, donned to evade the naked and anonymous flow of time?