Poetry: Live On Stage

Live On Stage

When every act is performance
And you must summon the nobility of the jester,
For acceptance is important,
And you clutch the paraphernalia,
Paranoid of failure
Of being caught out as fraudulent,
Even when you’ve bought it all,
As nothing comes as given
In the guest rooms that you live in
And you live within decision
Because you must fabricate,
Or abdicate acceptance.

So you flounce, silently,
With sad, ironic sincerity,
Like Jay Gatsby,
Noticing, enticing, exciting and rhyming,
An antonym
With alien etymology,
Meaning something different
but seeming something similar
And feeling not divided,
Not incarcerated,
Live on stage, today
And every day you stay takes you further away…

Further away from the audience
Who can afford to pay and stray from their homes
To watch your play,
Your dumbshow,
Your well-rehearsed performance of automatic codes
That you manually negotiate
And strain to appropriate,
Until you are more like them.

Or more than them,
Or maybe more than the best of them;
A better actor, certainly,
With no real home, beyond backstage.

And when you peer nervously into the dark,
All their faces look the same,
And when they gaze curiously at the light of your stage
(What strange thing is it that they see?)
Then you might know what it is to be me.

-Flirtations, U

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