Say Something

I don’t know the words to this part.
Someone forgot to finish the script,
So when the spotlight shines on me
The audience is left waiting,
And silence fills the vast auditorium.
Sometimes there is a prompt from the winds,
Someone telling me what I should say,
(“Say something”)
But I don’t know how useful that advice is.
Something, something, something useful.
That would help.
That would change things.
I wouldn’t be left on the stage as it empties,
Because this is a solo part,
And the others don’t want any involvement in it.
You might be there in the darkness,
But I don’t know, too blinded by the light,
And I struggle to put words together.
What was my cue?
Silence, total silence. That was it.
My heart beats in my chest
And my face feels too warm,
And I don’t know if it’s the spotlight,
Or standing in the spotlight,
But damn it’s frustrating.
Something… oh, just say something. Right? Right?
Maybe talk in verse,
Because I seem to be fond of that when confused,
But what do I say? Something.
“I tried to say something…”
Gah, something you blight!
“I tried to make my words sound important.
I tried to make them mean something.
I was never sure you were listening, then,
And I said something harsh instead.
You heard that, and I don’t know…
It was something, but I don’t know if it meant…anything.
It was important though, or I wouldn’t be here.”
That’s something.
Oh the great confessional nature of Catholicism,
The guilty denomination.
But that’s not much of an apology, is it?
And the part goes on, solo.
No one else joins the stage.
It’s like no one else notices that I’ve said my lines.
Or, maybe, I’m not done.
Say…something.
Something important, this time,
Something meaningful, for sure.
Say something, so you can stop being alone.
Just…
“I’ve been alone for a while,
Afraid to talk and not sure who would listen.
I hoped I could tell you something, anything,
And maybe that would fix the universe.
There’s a great big hole in the stage
That I might fall through,
All the light on me and no where I might go.
Down, down, down,
And I don’t know what happens then.
It scares me, and that’s why I say things,
Just to say something,
Even though I don’t know what it means.
Am I sorry? You betcha.
I could say it a hundred times more,
But I don’t know if you’ve even there listening,
If you’re keeping a close watch on me.
The bulb will burn out in the spotlight first,
And then what happens?
I speak to the darkness,
I try to adjust,
And I just say something,
Just to fill the space between me and the audience.
Maybe that’s you.”
But no, no darkness. Not this time.
That would be too convenient;
Case and point: he’s in the dark about everything.
What a mockery.
And even after these words,
My great speech, the only one that matters,
I’m still along on-stage.
I’m not just boiling now.
My feet refuse to move,
My clothes are melted to my skin,
A black wash in the light,
An extended shadow in a dark theatre
But for one glaring spotlight,
All the attention on the one person who has anything to say
And no words to speak.
Dear ears and a mute tongue,
Our lethal tools of communication,
Until the show runs on too long
And someone shuts us down.
The light can go off all it likes,
I’m still stuck here on stage.
Maybe you’re there in the audience,
Maybe you’re the only one,
And I know if you knew what to say you’d speak.
But it’s me here, in the dark, alone;
“I know this show is over.
But I’m not ready for this to be done.
If you’re there, please, please…
Say something.”

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About Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is a writer, born, raised and still living in Dublin. By day he's a student and bookseller, by night he writes fiction and uses social media.
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