Circus Syndrome 

By Harper McIntyre, TIWP Student

I feel exposed.

I’m in a ring with a thousand people surrounding me
but not too closely, there’s distance 
within it: 
my clothes


but no eyes, 
all of those are on me. 

as is the spotlight
an eerie iridescence that switches on when im least ready

that’s the magic of circus syndrome.
not so much magic, 
more so a curse.

some of us, the unlucky ones
internally bleed circus syndrome.

a dark arena with two thousand eyes,
on me

and I’m standing in the center,
attempting an improvised performance to Chopin’s:
“Preludes op 28 no. 4”
though I’ve forgotten how the song goes,
and quite frankly, 
I’ve forgotten how to dance.

believe it or not, 
this syndrome exists even in the most naturally talented performers
because it isn’t about the performance
nor is it about the attention

It’s about the essence

the space. 

circus syndrome is an energy field that exists beyond emotion
or motion. 

within this space,

my thoughts,
my scars,
my insecurities
I am completely stripped
speaking a language i don’t understand 

but over this language,
and over Chopin,
all I can hear is silence
the loudest thing in the arena 
even louder than the light

second loudest to the silence is the thoughts of what fills it when the song is over

will it be laughter?

will it be the sound of a thousand people and two thousand eyes which once creeped up my spine finally bidding their adieus? 
(at least the ones that have not already)
or will it be the subtle sounds of weeping?
I like to think that it will be applause 
whichever kind, quiet or loud
but worst and loudest of all
i pray that it’s not silence.

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