spotlight

Tap, tap, tap.
I hesitatingly tap the stage mic with the faltering pads of my fingers
just as I would tap the shoulder of a stranger;
I tap the head of the mic, even though I know it works perfectly well, I tap it;
I’m stalling.
On a stage, under the spotlight, with a lump in my throat,
I stand before an expectant crowd;
I have avoided this situation more times than I count.
I recall the endless videos I have watched of confident poets
painting the air with their hands on the stage;
the rhythm in their rhymes, the twangs in their ‘I’s,
the mystery behind their pauses and the drawls in their sighs;
“You’re meant to be just a writer, you could never perform.”
I hear the words of my traitorous and trembling hands;
“People are staring, don’t you dare mess up.”
I hear the hiss of my conditioned mind;
I hear but I don’t listen.
“It’s okay, go ahead; you’re doing just fine.”
I listen to the soft whisper of my rapidly beating heart;
it’s thumping so loud, the mic finally catches some sound.
It’s so quiet, I can hear the walls whispering to each other;
I close my eyes and take a deep breath,
as I would before I dive into the endless ocean.
I feel the side of my lip twitch and I unclench my hands;
I open my eyes and they shift to the clock on the right;
it’s been twelve seconds since I stepped up onto the stage.
And then, I spoke on my first fourteenth second on stage alone:
“Let me tell you about the day I overcame my stage fright,
in this hall, before this crowd and under this very spotlight.”

 

conflict

his brows furrowed, with a ticking vein,
her face mirroring only anguish and pain;
he’s angry, she’s scared; they’re fighting yet again
what could they possibly have to gain?

their fight is over something so trivial, so petty,
but she knows exactly why her heart is so heavy;
it’s almost become customary,
how regularly they fight; it’s become utterly weary.

he knows that she’s done no wrong,
she knows that he’s just been working too long;
they’re tired, they’ve never been too strong,
a mere moment of silence feels like a song.

in between their hollow words they failed to see,
their little boy, hiding behind the tapestry;
it was each other at whom they were angry,
but it was the boy who cowered, stiff as a tree.

one of the few things that kept the boy awake at night,
was not the odd flickering of his bedroom light,
or even monsters under the bed that gave most a fright,
but the mere thought of his parents having a fight.

the seven year old boy had not one clue
about the meaning of 11:11 or how it worked too
yet everyday, he’d wish for both to forgive and let go
he’d wish and he’d wish, never for anything new.