Reading at the Beat Hotel

You can flog day trips
to any old universe
and rip-off some time-traveller
but not everyone
would be gullible enough to meet
Abraham Lincoln in North Hykeham
over a pint and a ploughman’s lunch.
Seven days in France
on the face of it
for not much more
than the price of a pot of tea
sounded like a good idea
but not in the middle
of the Hundred Years War.
A fortnight on the set
of Doctor Who
hanging out with Daleks
and zipping off
in that telephone box
to see Pink Floyd
at the Roundhouse
on Chalk Farm Road
seemed like a better bet.
Meeting Andre Breton
was on the list as was reading
with Allen Ginsberg at the Beat Hotel.
Taking drawing lessons with Bosch or Escher
smoking three skinners in the Summer of Love
or getting Merlin to show you
how to wave a magic wand
and conduct the London Symphony Orchestra
sounded like a good night out in the past.
The second-hand Science-Fiction bookseller
had been thinking about time-travel
for the best part of twenty minutes
but the trouble with time-travel
is where do you go and what do you pack
and what’s the weather going to be like
when you get to Atlantis
will it be sunny or foggy
or will there be rain
will sunglasses and cardigans
make you look inconspicuous
or anachronistic
after you leave the poppies
and the postcards
and the long dark nights behind
when the clocks go back in October.



Kenny Knight





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