Poetry without a safety net

This is a poem about performing poetry – the need to hold the audience , to make them think. It is also about the feelings of trepidation and ultimately the satisfaction of a successful performance.
Here I go again
stepping out on this tight-rope stage
thoughts and feelings exposed
vulnerable through my own words
and they watch
and they listen
Oh god, I hope they listen
and I look down
no safety net
you should never look down
The rope feels slack
swaying under panicky feet
and I watch their faces
do they smell fear
can they see it in my eyes
will I loose control
crash to the saw-dusted floor
of mediocrity
and I look down

Deep breath
the swinging rope is my trapeze
the fingers of my words
struggle to hold their minds
to keep me flying
soaring through their time
and I look down
no safety net
you should never look down

I’m loosing it
falling to earth
my carefully chosen words
drizzle, randomly
spinning from a rambling mind
but I think they hear me
they fall silent
they know how I feel
They’re with me
I breathe out
and I look down

Can I make them laugh?
or cry
or stop to think
Am I any good
Does it matter?
Here I am
This is me
Centre stage
In the spot
The ringmaster
In control
And I look down
No safety net required