You're Happy

You're happy and you don't know it.
They clap their hands.

And suddenly, the spotlight gives back its warmth,
the music winds itself back into your throat,
and you remember who you are and what you are doing here.
And your job is not a job, it's a sacred calling.
And the song is not a childish rhyme, but a benediction.
And the spotlight is not crude naked bulbs and dangerous wires
but a staircase to heaven itself,
and you swear that you would die to make it last
this time.

Then what will it take?
A dozen dozens of yellow roses,
blooming kisses of captured spotlight
wrapped in ribbons
and tied with kind words.
They will wilt in vases in your
lonely house, hungering for the ovation of the sun.
And then what?

They will leave you alone in your silent room,
dark with the threat of discouragement.
You can't build a fire.
The newspapers admonish you with their words,
their manifold headlines of potential disaster.
A million critics hide in their pages,
lying in waiting to dance with the flames
with the audacity of a true master.
You can't turn on the lamp.
Its single bulb seems so anemic,
so unconvincing.
It depresses you.
But it's just enough to illuminate
the murderer in the mirror
who disfigures your face with shadow
and bastardizes your painted smile with lipstick.

You're happy and you don't know it.
And there's no one there to show it.

So you tangle yourself in a noose of neon Christmas lights,
convinced you feel the hands of your savior around your neck.
You let them spill their holy artificial cheer into the corners of the room,
as the recording on the stereo comes to an end and canned applause
pulses in your throat.
And you stand there in the cheaply bought radiance,
with your arms flung out and head thrown back.
Your feet don't touch the floor.
Your eyes are closed, so you do not see
every yellow rose petal flickering like
dying gas lights in the glorious second
before they hit the ground.

You're happy and you don't know it,
so you clap their hands.

And rewind.