Inner Monologue at a Conference

A Perspex monolith at the edge of town
Opens its doors to a wave of odious intellect;
Glossy signs and fat pamphlets tell me:
These are these finest minds in humanity.
A balding gentleman is bent over himself,
Struggling to tie his shoelace.   

The fraying carpets of a previous administration
Hint at fleeting glories that have since passed;
Important looking notices tell me:
Flyers in our welcome pack advertise
River cruises and nights at the opera.

Free wine and coffee combine to create
An atmosphere of compulsory enjoyment;
Conference assistants and helpers tell me:
This is the friendliest conference in humanity.
I see a former colleague and bow my head,
We pass like kidney stones in the night.

Early career researchers skirt the
Gravitational fields of the professoriate;
Coloured ribbons and rainbow badges implore us:
This is the most diverse conference in humanity.
At the plenary panel four white dinosaurs
Warn of their extinction.

I walk across the cavernous lecture theatre,
Palms sweating with nervous excitement;
The introductory slide sets out my argument:
This is the most important topic in humanity.
My words trickle through the audience,
Lost amongst the emails and polite applause.


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