I was born to perform
An audience completes me, yet
All these years I felt ashamed of that need.
In order to know myself,
In order to recognize you,
I must express and observe your response.
Without your feedback I live in a vacuum,
A cave where I lose myself and lose sight of you.
I marveled at people who could unabashedly admit
They felt most authentic “on stage.”
I could not say that out loud.
I set it aside, put performing behind me,
Fifty years ago.
I moved to a small town
Where no one knows me and found
A small community theater.
What the hell?
Each night I show up for rehearsal where
I am becoming a clown.
One of the young children in the cast
Approached me and asked, “are you a clown?”
“Yes,” I replied, and she asked
“With gray hair?”
The oldest member of the cast by at least 30 years
I am showing up,
Remembering how to be a clown,
Bowing to the cliche “it is never too late,”
I memorize my few lines,
Finding myself, and hopefully, rediscovering you.