Standing On The Stage

I’m not a huge fan of performing my poetry aloud, but I give it a go.

I wrote this piece at a performance workshop, led by poet Jean Breeze, a few weeks ago. Since then I’ve performed once and it went well and so I thought it was a good opportunity to share how it makes me feel.

Standing On The Stage

Your face,
before me,
eyes wide,
expectant
as you shuffle in the
black metal legged chair.
Your coarse worn denim
rubs on the rough blue polyester seat cover,
whistling at me to get on.

You see me stand and you stop.

I take the stage and
the silence as I
wait for the gentle titter,
that I know will come when I speak,
cripples me.
The weight of my will to succeed
and shut you up
dehumanises me
like I’m a trussed up animal
and you’re excitable at seeing me so you
tap
tap
tap on the perspex
taunting me.
But it’s there to protect you,
at least something is there to protect you.
I’m bare
my throat preparing to croak
my words of retort.

My palm,
damp with hot perspiration,
brushes against my beard
as I reassure myself
that you can’t hurt me.
I take a swig of my beer,
the stale stench of which
stings my nostrils.

The last slithers of salted peanuts,
picked from my teeth
with my raw pink tongue,
are washed down as I turn towards the microphone,
with my own ale stained spittle.

This poem is turning translucent beneath my fingers.
Sharp paper, turning soft,
and I manipulate its creases
to distract me from the look in your eyes,
and your titter.

Vicious tormentors.
Grinning.
Tapping.
Waiting.
Shuffling.

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