Behind the Curtain

by John Blackmore

Applause cascades down the corridors
Crackling like electricity, flooding the ears
Through dull walls:
Nothing scalds like someone else’s praise.

They’re running late tonight.
Grinning with hubris, stumbling through the lines
I’ve mouthed a thousand times
Behind the curtain – off the stage.

For every name in lights there’s a shape in the shadows
Whose life’s in the stalls (or the bar)
Craving the erratic ecstasy of art.
I think I hear the final throes.

The ceiling rumbles; they cry for more.
I draw on the cigarette of experience,
Blow smoke into the street through the open door.