Saturday, June 5, 2010

ONSTAGE (Writer's Island prompt)


Blistering hot spotlight captures you
setting boundaries you cannot cross, even with your eyes
Just beyond, people seated in rows shift impatiently
waiting to hear if you’re worth their time
and their ticket

Below, the stage surface reveals
every heel print of every actor whose feet touched it
(since its last cleaning)
Above, an aurora borealis of gelled hues
dancing on the black ceiling

You step up to the invisible line
It’s your moment to show them what you’re made of
Until you’ve been onstage
You can’t understand the peril, the rush, the beauty
the bliss
(c) 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


  1. You make it sound just as intimidating as I always imagined it to be.

  2. I especially loved this line, "an aurora borealis of gelled hues." Never felt that rush or bliss, but I knew it had to be there! Well done!

  3. Only in a group, have I performed on stage. Solo, no go, not for me. I choke up at poetry pulse quickens, I fear I'll wake up in a hospital bed after stroking out.

    You are a braver soul than I, Amy. I like this piece, and would like to hear you give it a go.

  4. Amy, I am sure it is an unforgettable feeling to be performing on stage. I love the words "the peril, the rush, the beauty, the bliss." I can imagine that is just what it feels like.

    You've captured something in this poem. It's a keeper.

  5. The fear and nervousness you feel is adrenalin. Adrenalin can work two ways: make you perform worse or better. Feel the butterflies in the stomach and know they are a good sign!

  6. Thanks for the lovely comments. I'm going to read this one aloud and submit to

    Diane, you hit it right on the sweet spot. The difference is in remembering to breathe deeply. If you don't have your breath, your diaphragm will contribute to your choking. But the deep breath expands that muscle; the extra oxygen you take in puts your brain into gear.

    My mama was a jazz singer as well and she used to say, "If you're not nervous before performing, don't get on the stage. You'll only bore people!"

  7. Amy, you do what I could never....that stinkin' stage!

    Love that you took me there at least for the length of your poem.

    Love this line:
    "waiting to hear if you’re worth their time
    and their ticket"

    - Dina

  8. Wow Amy, You nailed this! I have been onstage and felt like I was there again--totally gave me goosebumps.

    In appreciation for your poetry and all aroun wonderfulness as a person I have nominated you on my blog for the equivalent of a cyber-hug. Stop on in and see at

  9. Yes. Yes! You paint the scene so well here, Amy. I especially love the footprints beneath the feet - walking where others have been before... sometimes this is intimidating, sometimes kind of reassuring! You are a sister of the stage and spotlight, wise to all the gift and danger they offer. Beautiful.

  10. It feels as the expectation of the accepting. I like this emotional tone of the poem.