Make messes of myself in front of extended relatives at mixed gatherings,
And re-enact rituals with razor blades in excruciating patterns more often than even addiction demands.
When my face finds itself it is always surprised, taking in defiance in place of shame,
Acknowledging its own regret, yet still demanding a smile, locking itself into a contracted attitude,
And sublimating its months-long performance in orgies observers assume are rehearsed to virtuosity.
The reality of the spectacle, all meaty sinew and dangling genitals made anonymous under one pretense,
Is that there is often more truth in the ballet than on the counselor's couch,
And more reward from those rubbernecked gawkers stunned to a lack of judgment against their very natures.
When the lights go down and eyes no longer play upon the inside of my skin I nearly faint,
So much of my vital essence is bled away, yet I am even more alive for the feeling of being drained,
And I have to stagger to the wall on my way out the door to avoid falling sideways onto my feet.
In the dark backstage, I tear away the woolly hood, sucking trout breaths like frozen pins,
Drinking in a dry throat to cut more from myself, reviewing my bits, already seeking improvements,
And utterly failing to find my cover before the curtain rises again, revealing my sweating messy smile of relief.