The crowds

have only been my friends

when I am not myself,

when I am not under scrutiny.

When I slip into a costume,

a caricature,

I’m not me. Crowds laugh and applaud

and the blood rushes to my head

because if the thrill!

I’m making people happy! I

am astounding them!

Then I step

out of the light,

take off the skin

of someone else,

take off the mask

and step into myself.

I’m ignored.

It’s all improvisation from here

(something I’ve never been

very good at).

The fact remains that, in order

to please a crowd,

I can’t be

myself.

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