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Prisoners

An audience of old folks in the neat-tiered theatre,
The play about prisoners:
Well-constructed set, competent acting.

At the interval I walk outside in the cold air,
Alone between the high walls of buildings in this cul-de-sac,
Pause, turn, stroll.
The bright lights of the Crucible beckon, but I haven’t time or money.

In the green room backstage Kay mends a cup that has to be perpetually broken,
Feeds me toast that has to be nightly replenished
As the black-clad caretaker waits heavily, mentally urging us on –
Over a pint we talk about the production and what’s missing,
Then I listen to complaints about work, manipulation, power-games.

Tired, we return home,
A routine of food, coffee, newspaper and sleep.

As I drift off the typewriter taps,
Shitty bosses demanding blood and soul for a grudging wage.

Easy to see yourself in a play, but I won’t –
Not prisoners.

8/2/89

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