Saluting with misty eyes
One of my stock phrases is "Nothin' to it but to do it"... and I believe that applies here. The ONLY way you are going to feel half comfortable reading your poetry to an audience is to treat it like any other public speaking engagement. Take the time to ensure you have written what you mean, and then PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRATCICE as has been written here before, OUT LOUD. Once you have it cold, and you know exactly what it is you are going to say, and how you are going to say it.. practice some more. The day of the Open Mike... don't practice. Warm up a bit by rading something else aloud, just to get used to hearing the sound of your own voice... maybe reciting a well known and remembered prayer, poem, speech, whatever.
As part of my duties with the Marine Corps League, I am required to be on television and on radio from timie to time promoting our latest fundraiser. Before I go on, if I have the chance, or if I know I am going to be doing it, I practice the interview with questions that I made up, and then I read "Oh Say, Can You Say" by Dr. Suess, and then on the way to the event, or interview, or station, I recite the a miniature version of the rosary just to get myself centered. By the time I get to the actualy interview, I am relaxed (as much as I will ever be) and I have heard my own voice so much taht it doesn't suprise me any longer... and as Michelle-Loves-Mike and Kristie Sue can tell you, I dearly love to hear my own voice lol
Anyhow. I wish you all of the success in the world, and I look forward to hearing your report on how it went.
Cause in my dreams it's always there
The evil face that twists my mind
And brings me to despair.