Reciting Poetry


When I recite poetry, I take my glasses off
Not because the glare of the lights 
Or the nerves climbing my spine like children on a playground
No, as I walk onto the stage, each step a mountain, 
The lights are never bright enough to conceal your faces, all now fixed on me
My hands tremble like paper in the wind 
But do not hold the words I swore I had memorized just moments ago
I adjust the mic
I step back, head down, eyes closed as though in prayer
I remove my glasses
Find the words again, my safety rail, 
Step forward and speak
My words fill the air 
And you are all but blurred shapes
Smeared paint against the backdrop of my voice 
Poets whisper sweet secrets in my ears and they come from my mouth
But is it plagiarism if those words are sewn into the fabric of my heart?
This is no longer the real world
Time, physics, reality are all suspended
We are everywhere and nowhere, gone and present
In this moment, it is easy to imagine that amoung your fuzzy images, my mother sits
Her eyes are softly closed and a smile tugs at the corners of her lips
In this moment, she isn't so far away
In this space, she can hear my words
Because she never would have missed a chance to hear me recite poetry
This is the closest I've ever come to a divine experience
And as long as your here, Mom, I might as well let you know
I wrote this one for you
After I've finished speaking, there's a pause
This otherworldly space is slipping
The dying breath of this golden, preternatural moment
Then comes the applause
I put my glasses back on


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