© By Ciaran Carson
Jerking his head spasmodically as he is penetrated by invisible gunfire,
The private wakes to a frieze of pull-outs from ‘Contact’ and ‘Men Only’.
Sellotape and Blu-Tack. The antiquated plumbing is stuttering that he
Is not in Balkan Street or Hooker Street, but in a bunk bed
In the Grand Central Hotel: a room that is a room knocked into other rooms.
But the whole Victorial creamy façade has been tossed off
To show the inner-city tubing: cables, sewers, a snarl of Portakabins,
Soft-porn shops and carry-outs. A Telstar Taxis depot that is a hole
In a breeze-block wall, a wire grille and a voice-box uttering gobbledegook.
© Ciaran Carson, Night Patrol, 1987, complete text, The Irish for No, 1987, The Gallery Press.
Ciaran Carson shows us the inner life of the soldier, expressed in the metaphor of the stripped hotel used as a billet.