Poetic Performance Anxiety

I don't have that knack

The knack for freedom of expression. Something holds me back. 

The possibility of failure and rejection. 

I'll do readings all day long: there I can safely hide behind the mic and the paper. 

But no, not performances because someone may see that this calm and poise is nothing more than vapor.

I'm all smoke and mirrors--an artfully contrived veneer. 

Behind the mask I'm trembling and overwhelmed by fear. 

So part of me is still hiding. Yes. That must be it. 

The artfully concealed self-deprecation and doubt, I can't allow anyone to see it. 

What if I mess up? Or forget my words and freeze?

 What if a knowing eye catches mine, strips me bare with a glance and brings me to my knees?

So I'll take along my armor and pray that enough of me still rises from this damp and sweaty, tightly-clenched page,

Deep breaths, girl, and slow.your.pulse.--there's no escaping now--the MC just called your name and it's time to take the stage.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

I wrote this in about 30 minutes on 3/21/2017. I have so much respect for artists that can perform their work. I don't have that knack for freedom of expression. Something holds me back. Fear of failure and rejection I suppose. I'll do readings but not performances. Part of me is still hiding. That must be it. Cuz what if I mess up? Or freeze? Or forget? Or catch someone's eye that sees through me. #PoetryPerformanceAnxiety