Wednesday 12 September 2012

Prose poem for BBC Bush House

There were times when I was on my own
in the studio late at night. Through the
glass the producer and the studio manager
talking to each other with no sound reaching
me. They told me I was recording for the
world. Reading words from inside a silent
room that could be heard anywhere. Someone
once told me that there used to be a swimming
pool in here and behind a curtain there was
a grand piano. Upstairs and outside, the buses
curved round the Aldwych or streamed up
Kingsway; theatres gobbled up queues. I was
talking about books. The two women behind
the glass moved like surgeons from console to
tape to deck. Great writers fell out of my
mouth. I coughed. Go back. Redo that para.
Centuries pass. Tom Paine. Amy Tan, that
sort of thing. And then nothing. I go into the
operating theatre. The surgeons look up and
nod. I back out. Don't want to breathe on the
tape. Coming out. I hope Security don't notice.
Oh no, they have. 'One moment, sir. Why have
you been in there?' 'I don't know.' Outside,
the buses are racing. The drivers know where
they're going. The 4 from Waterloo to Finsbury

[from 'Selected Poems' Michael Rosen (Penguin 2007)