Self-Portrait as Season 1 of American Idol by Micaela Walley

When Kelly Clarkson won American Idol, she squealed
into a microphone and America felt that shit hard.

I am American, but more TV than reality.
I am more idle than Kelly. A cat hurls
his body over my own as I type and I squeal,
but it’s not the same. If I’m being honest,

there is no space at the judging table
when I’m around. I kick everybody out,
go on with the heavy business of singing
into an empty room.

A montage of every time I’ve loved someone appeared
as Daniel Powter sang you had a bad day, the camera
don’t lie and America changed the channel before I could
give myself any credit.

I am American, but I do not believe
in auditions. If you pause before you say my name,
I know you’re going to say it. I know
I’m never going home. I know home
is a stage with no exit left.

When Kelly Clarkson won American Idol, she sang
into a microphone some people wait a lifetime for a moment
like this and I didn’t believe her. Not for one minute.

 

Micaela Walley is an MFA candidate at the University of Baltimore. Her work can be found in HuffPost, ENTROPY, Gravel, and Oracle Fine Arts Review. She currently lives in Hanover, Maryland with her best friend–Chunky, the cat.

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