Moments before a performance

I am MCing an event on Tuesday 31 May at Wellington’s in/famous Fringe Bar. The line up introduces a number of new and emerging poets. I love supporting people on the beginning of their performance journey. The newbies will be supported by some regulars – I love the way the members of our little community embrace and support each other.

This poem was written as I waited in the audience for a show, and I was wondering what was happening behind the thick velvet curtain. It is also the name of one of my favourite Cold Chisel songs.


That one mad moment before the curtain rises 

the electricity is in me. 

I feel it build as the seconds count down to 


It has all led to this - 
all the knock-backs, break-throughs 

nights of angst, 

moments of wild oblivion when it all came together, 

self doubt, misinformed ego.

I am behind the curtain. 
You are on the other side.. 

The dynamic tension between 

my hopes and your expectation. 

It can never end the same way twice 

you will always be a different person, 

I am ever growing in this thing I call a craft.  

I have learnt to harness the energy of it,
at times abuse it. 

It keeps me sharp for those 60 minutes 
when I will feel actually alive. 

Your applause is not a drug, it is 

more than that:
it is the vital ingredient
I need for my heart to revive. 
To feel as if I should go on 

Keep packing, moving, arriving, delivering, leaving 

My other life on hold for as long 
as you still gasp, laugh, clap.  

It could all fall over    
if I miss my cue   
push you too far   
say too much, not enough. 

You are there. 
I am here.
Lights drop. 
The music changes.
Curtains stir to rise. 

And the last second slips away.
My moment:  

Photo by Monica Silvestre on

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