Monday 17 November 2014

New poem: Prompter

I was on a bus when two people sitting behind me

started to talk to me. I said I lived nearby. They said

they did too. I said that I had lived here when I was

young. They said they hadn’t lived here long. They

had met while they were doing a play. I asked them

if they were actors. Oh no, they weren’t actors. They

were just in a play. Well, said one to the other, you

were in the play and I was the prompt.

‘Really?’ I said, ‘did you do prompting every night

when the play was on?’

‘Oh yes,’ she said.

Then the other one said, ‘And then we were in another

play and she had a part and it was me who did the


‘Did you ever have to actually prompt?’ I said.

‘Yes,’ she said, ‘she forgot a line to do with the

radioactivity of a toaster.’

‘And one night you forgot something too,’ she replied.

‘I don’t think so,’ she said back.

‘Yes, the thing with the man next door who used to

do weightlifting.’

‘No, when you prompted, you dived in before I said it.

I was trying to do a new pause.’

‘I don’t think you’d have got to the right words.’

‘I would have. I know I would have. I know what I was

thinking. You don’t.’

‘I think you think you know what you’re thinking - which

is a different matter.’

‘There are times when I would like to have a prompt,’

I said.

It was that moment in the day in winter when the lights

of the shops start to be brighter than the light outside.