It is five minutes until I take center stage. Heart pounding, hands sweating, mouth dry. I can’t seem to stand still. I’ve waited for this moment for so long. There is organized chaos behind me. A group of soloists crowd around each other giving  words of empty encouragement.

It’s my time. I stand on stage, microphone in hand. The lights are blinding, and all I see is a mysterious crowd of faceless people. I wait for the music to start. Breathe in, breathe out. It is a small confined room; the air is thick with cigarette smoke and mindless chatter.

  I snake the microphone cord around my finger, and finally lift my head. The music starts, and the words flow out of me. It feels so natural in this state. I am but a single person, alone in this room. My voice carries across the stage, so strong and steady, it  passes over the mysterious strangers.

How great this feeling is. To be so free, to share this outlet of passion with others. I am no longer nervous, I smile, and after my eyes adjust to the hot lights, I finally start to see the masked people. They are so captivated.  It is as if I have hypnotized them. With wine glasses down, and so alert. They are actually listening to me. Listening to MY poetry. Then…blackness.  My time is up. It is a natural high to be standing here. I walk off stage with a feeling of accomplishment, and confidence. I can’t get enough of this feeling. All I want is more