Following the Last Act


When the curtains fall -that’s it.
Well, everything ends eventually.
So, there isn’t any real meaning to it.
No extended metaphor. The only conceit
is mine. The story just ends, its characters,
presumably, not having learnt any better,
and people may or may not like the ending.
That is OK.

Personally, I’d rather the end be some coherent,
overarching image, one that I can wrap myself with
like a blanket. Something clear-cut and/or
emotional, like calls from telemarketers, so
I know adequately how to react. “Hello is this-
NO, THANK YOU!” Or if these things came with
a bowtie and at least asked for your name first. I guess
I just wanted someone to give me stage instructions,
like: “look shocked!” Or look “absolutely miserable.”
A script to memorise and execute to the letter.

But still some signs swim beneath the skin
and spur me. There is a goldfish in my wrist.
I feel fireflies running down my back like a cape
and the curtain is drawn ad nauseum.
In my chest is a round of applause.
In my eardrum there is a telemarketer,
dialling the same number over and over again.
There are tadpoles in my fingers, toads in my toes and

I feel like I want to dance now.
I feel like I want to dance
even when all the lights are off.
I want to dance like nobody is watching.
But I know you are. You always are.
The fairy sitting on the mantle, here
but not here. You have taken stage front
and centre forever. Every character
has the face of you. You are every
seat in the audience, every line spoken,
every rose thrown, every bow taken –
yet you are no encore.
You are not your own sequel.
The only conceit is mine.

So, thank you.
But I’m going to burn you, this poem –
so make sure you read it.
Read it, for me.

Written for Epilogue Slam 2017

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