Tuesday 16 June 2015

Playing Dead ~ Emma Rich

An empty stool

When Carolyn remarks - not sotto voce
at all,  “Jo-Joe should never have left,”
I think she can’t mean it – not like that.

We all know it’s half past ten
(and that her babysitter will want
time and a half if she’s late again).
We’re all waiting for this rehearsal
to end, for the credits to roll.
We all know the stand-in has taken
way too long learning his lines.

Ask me, I knew it wouldn’t work:
singing in the rain, wearing glasses,
with an anonymous face.  Too nice,
too boy-next door to fall down
on his knees on a damp pavement
with panache.  So not what‘s needed,
so not what Warrington needed.

They should have told him, “No,”
shouted “Next”.  They should have
fired, not hired him.  I mean how
hard is it to sit there on a bar stool,
without moving, gesturing, saying
nothing, at the very end of the Show,
like Jo-Jo did every goddam night .

Until he didn’t move. 
At all.  Just waiting

to be carried off.
Come the end.

I reply, “In harness, darling.
What he would have wanted.”

~ Emma Rich ~


  1. Very modern and off-beat and unexpected! That's some role to play!

  2. Thank you! I tend to be more of a lyric poet, but I sometimes write in an off-the-wall manner, too - as here. From time to time, I like playing, particularly when I'm using a 'voice'.

  3. The empty stool - just waiting for you to paint the story. I loved reading it.