Post-Performance Anxiety

The guy on before me
took all the applause with him
when he left the stage.
That must be it.
He left nothing for me
which explains the complete lack of reaction
that I really should have earned.
Something has to explain that.
I do not do this badly
Something must have gone
horribly wrong
for me to have received those sad
blank faces.

He did so well,
was so emotional…
there must have been nothing left
for the audience to give.
They looked so exhausted when I came on.
I’m not sure
but I thought I saw the souls leave
a couple of the people watching.

Maybe they’d all had rough days
or have some unspoken antipathy
towards middle-aged white males.
Maybe they weren’t educated enough
to catch my references.

Maybe I’m really bad.

No, it’s got to be
something that happened
to every single person
in the room
in front of me
who didn’t get
what I was getting at
when I read from my tome
Phone Book Recitations.

Good luck, next act.
If I couldn’t get them…

About Jonathan Berger

I used to write quite a bit more.
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