A memory I never had: a poem about poems


I’m standing on a stage, and I feel a billion pairs of eyes staring intently and expectantly up at me.

I’m standing on a stage, and the whispers that float around in the downtime between acts fade into non-existence as I open my mouth.

I’m standing on a stage, and I’m not holding a guitar or sitting on a piano bench – it’s just me, in front of the microphone – no one knows what to expect.

I’m standing on a stage, and there’s no glare from a spotlight, which might be worse because then I can see the front row clearly, and they are looking curiously because I’m seldom on a stage alone.

I’m standing on a stage, and in the millisecond before the first word flows out of my mouth, I look up and to the right and remember the rhetoric that I’ve aspired to acquire ever since I heard Taylor Mali speak for the first time, or Sarah Kaye, or whatever.

I’m standing on a stage, and the poem is over, the words have stopped flowing, and there’s a split second of stunned silence before the crowd erupts into applause.

I’m standing on a stage, and now it’s very clearly just my voice and I.

My enthusiasm for slam poetry, or spoken word poetry, or performance poetry, has been waxing and waning over the past few months, and flares up every time I hear a new poem that I can strongly relate to. I swoon with every metaphor and cleverly worded anecdote, and ever since I heard my first, I’ve always wanted to write and subsequently perform.

My attempts have been futile – slam poetry is largely free-form, so I can never tell if a poem is the best that it could be, or an appropriate length, or even comprehendible. There are certain slams that take place in my area, but I’ve never had the time/guts to attend one. I’ve missed opportunities to perform at school because, as uncomfortable as it is to admit, I’m probably too scared of judgment but eh, I’m starting to care less and less about all of that.



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  8. librarylady

    You’re dream is my nightmare, only I’m standing on a stage and people are waiting for me to sing. I suddenly think, wait – I’m a terrible singer. why am I up here? Glad yours ended well.


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