The Second-Next Olivier

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: May 01, 2018

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Submitted: May 01, 2018



After a few beers, too many shots and one or two cocktails,

Every actor here is the next Lawrence Olivier,

Every musician is the next David Bowie,

And I enter the bar stage right,

As their stumbling stage manager.


Someone always stands on the table to misquote Henry the Fifth,

While we sit and shout corrections,

Waving our arms dramatically,

Because we think we know what we’re talking about,

And a flailing limb will knock a glass over,

So we cheer loudly with the whites of our eyes glinting in the light,

As someone wipes it off their old-new shoes.


Then, without fail, someone will leave the bar with someone they shouldn’t,

Leaving someone else to cry salty tears into their glass of loneliness, gin and tonic,

And I lean over to one of the next Oliviers,

To whisper in his ear that she should have seen it coming,

And a crooked smile is his only response,

As he pulls me into his body,

His cracked lips leaving sticky vodka kisses on my neck.


And someone will walk in, all dressed up,

And we laugh like we’re above them because we can.

And our entitlement seeps out our ripped jeans,

And onto the floor through our toes like we’re already somebodies.


Then someone remembers I’m from London

And screams Cockney rhyming slang into the abyss,

And someone somewhere starts singing,

And it’s always a show-tune three out of five people know,

So I’m left quietly wondering what happened to their theatrical poise.


Then, as the long night frays at the ends,

The last few remain blurrily blinking

As we stand in the flickering light of the chip shop,

Squinting our eyes against the too-white glare of the cheap strip lights,

And we’ll lazily dust red salt off our fingertips,

Watching someone trip out into the black,

And we laugh loudly,

Like dramatic hyenas, cackling manically,

With our cigarette stained teeth bared against the world.


But I smile and put my coat on inside-out

As I sleep on the bus home,

Where someone always forgets to wake me up,

But after a while, the fifth-next Bowie shakes me awake,

And the second-next Olivier trips into the darkness,

Holding my hand,

Gallantly guiding me into bed,

And clutching me close

As the world around us spins slowly into oblivion

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