Tuesday evening, around 5:45 pm:
I’m screwing up.
No, really; you don’t understand how bad this is.
My brain is about to implode, collapse in on itself like
One of those fancy chocolates from a box someone gave you on a holiday--
That one chocolate that you expect to have a hard center
But instead smashes under slight pressure,
Saccharine filling oozing out in pain and defeat,
The fragile shell surrounding my volatile psyche breaking apart
Into splinters of cocoa butter and shriveled efforts curling up into the fetal position.
I’m waiting for this to be over.
My voice teacher told me the other day,
“Keep the energy spinning, let it vibrate.”
Well, my energy right now is spinning
Like the engine of my mother’s car,
Eating itself to death because of a cap left carelessly unscrewed--
My energy is dying, along with most of my desire to do anything but what is required from me
But I can’t even do That much,
So all my self-sabotaging thoughts converge on me,
Circling me like we’re about to start some cheesy tango
In an overdramatic, nationally televised dance competition
And they intend to dance me till these fingers hurt,
Till the pressure building up in my temples explodes and my
Thoughts and fears drip down all over long black stage curtains and fellow musicians,
The ones who know what they’re doing,
The ones who have no reason to feel scrutinized or embarrassed or ashamed.
I want to reach higher levels of musical ability, but how can I do that when
Exhaustion and frustration butter the rungs of the ladder going up to the little control panel where I turn on the “mental processing” switch?
My fingers and my brain have ceased communications,
Old friends who suddenly stop talking over some trivial disagreement
And cannot seem to resolve their tiff until years later when it’s too late to matter anymore.
I can no longer sing through my fingers;
They cannot speak intelligently, with all their information locked away
In a coat closet corner of my brain.
They do not traverse the black hills and ivory valleys like the frequent fliers they are;
These travellers somehow develop vertigo,
And I have little to no control over where they decide to wander off to in their
Drunken, unthinking stupor.
The mental haze settles in the back of my eyes,
Rendering them next to useless in trying to read or fake the next tricky chord changes.
What is wrong with me? Why didn’t I do this
Yesterday, last weekend, ages ago?
I’m a disappointment to myself,
To the people around me who thought we would sound better but
Aren’t sure why we don’t.
My prior arrogance embarrasses me, makes me regretful.
I just need to get through this moment, and the next two hours of moments like this one.
Maybe just once,
I’ll play something decently enough
So I don’t stay completely grim for the whole rehearsal.
But then I just have to rely on muscle memory and luck.
I just need to pull myself through the swamp reeds
To the promised land of water and shelter on the other side of the river.