Writing by Peter Hilton

Bordello

A poem by C. Robert Hilton.

At anchor waiting to enter harbour. Twenty-eight
days at sea and all of us randy as cats. The wind
carrying from shore the remembered smell of a
tropical port; humanity, rancid cooking and the
intimate juices of women.

A whole day with the lure of land so near,
You’d think we’d all jump overboard and swim.
With adverse winds and weather icy, grim,
A month at sea is easier to bear.

Ashore we find a rough and ready bar,
A broken chair leg on a table top,
Rough walls where lizards dart about and stop.
Some greasy fellow plays on a guitar.

And girls of every shape and size and price,
Each one a beauty, we so long at sea,
Knowing at once we’re seamen on a spree,
Smile promises of instant paradise.

Joe with the cowboy boots is first away.
He’s got himself the flashest girl of all.
Small bedroom doors are all along one wall,
One shuts on them, he’s not afraid to pay.

Charlie complains that he can’t understand
A word of what these Spanish lasses say.
Sign language is the order of the day,
A touching message from a roving hand.

A girl leans forward, cleavage like a chasm,
Across the table towards Dave and Bill.
They seem to reckon it an extra thrill
To bargain, half in fun, for an orgasm.

Brian says he likes the slender willowy kind,
But always seems to land some big fat cow,
And look, by God, one’s fairly got him now.
A door slams shut. He didn’t seem to mind.

Joe’s back (so soon!) a look of utter loathing
Distorts the face of this self styled big spender.
Cosmetics no more guarantee the gender
Than the blonde wig and girliest of clothing.

I like to think myself detached and wise
Watching the lads relaxing from the sea.
A quiet girl approaches, she could be
The sort that still looks good to morning eyes.

Days later and our ship still lying here.
Most of our hard won wages spent and gone.
But girls we spent with still linger on
And treat us to a glass or two of beer.

You wouldn’t find such kindness and fair play
In Liverpool, New York or London Town.
These lovely Latin girls don’t do us down.
They know they’ll get our money any way.

©2008 C. R. Hilton