This image was taken from Sandy Ackers's blog at this site:

Stage Fright

The empty chair upon the stage,
Prepped for sweat and tears.
Mine, to be precise.

Curtain is in ten.

This is part of my routine,
Part of my practice:
Look out, look at lights, breathe, exhale, repeat.

The stagehands shake their heads with wonder (or perhaps distaste).

I'm world renowned, after all--
Been doing this for six years,
Been on tour more than twice.

I have the the drugs, the liquor, the babes,

But this--
It never goes away.
It's like this every time.

I've been on the stage countless times,
I've gyrated under the lights,
I've tripped going up the stairs.

I've milked that mic as if it were only mine,
And it was my last day alive.

I've sang from my gut, my heart, my soul,
Embarrased myself more than once,

But when I see my name in lights,
The adoring fans (or groupies),
Hear the screams:

That little performner inside me whimpers--
Just a little--before he can engage.

My ritual must stay.
Fresh fruit,  two shots of Beam, ten paces, then twenty,
One trip to take a leak,
And then I'll take the stage.

Kill that limelight,
Amaze the crowd,
The crew, the producers, the fans,
Even me.
This photo comes from Strangling My Muse's Photo Prompt blog found at this link: It is Photo Prompt #54, and was found by the website's creator (Sandy Ackers), not me.

Unadulterated, Tainted

Like pinwheels we turned
Across the wall,
Forgetting what lie
On either side.

Innocence etched in sandstone and skin:
We were far from reality. 
Marie giggled, smiled:
I’d not seen her this happy in months. 
Cartwheels along an aging wall,
Built by use-to-be friends. 

Independence laced in mortar and breath:
We were free for a moment. 
I called for her:
“C’mon, Marie, let’s go! 
The lake’s just a bit further!
Keep up, move, move!”

Naivety branded in block and beating hearts:
We were, for an instant, kids. 
Marie’s laughter lit up the sky,
Songbirds chirped happily, flitting about the horizon
Like long-locked captives
Finally granted parole. 

Escape marked by trowel and sighs:
We were, for a moment, unchained. 
The lake on the horizon, 
A race I completed at a double-pace,
Pure, clean, untainted pond,
Touched only by nature. 

Relief found in water and strokes:
We would finally be clean.  

I called “Marie!, C’mon!” 
But she had fallen behind. 
In the middle of a warzone,
How could I lose my sister? 
Panic sketched in sirens and blood:
We were under fire. 

What would I tell Mother?