What It Means to Be Loud
She told me she writes her deepest secrets, then burns
them in an open pit where the fire can breathe.
She's been sifting through a decade of journals
trying to prove there is one poem worth reading
She has a 'what if' tree outside and hooks by the door.
She spends all day out there, making
ornaments out of everything that never happened.
'One day,' she says, 'I'll cut the tree down
and burn that too.'
I say, 'If you show me yours, I'll show you mine,'
and raise the side of my shorts up my thigh,
all my what if's are scars that healed
over time, I place her hand over 12 cuts
and tell her the story of my father's hands.
We are scared to speak when the truth
is too revealing, spending most of our lives
concealing anything that will 'out' us
to each other, secret spies living undercover,
covert operational-relationships compromised
from the beginning, doomed to end in bloodshed
She's tired of living like that, so I say:
tell me your story, I am listening,
what happens if you decide
to soften under the command of a pen?
Widdle your heart into an army meant to protect
the Great Wall- shape their expressions
to remind everyone you are serious
about boundaries and believe no
is as important to live by as yes,
make them hold pencils in place
of semi-automatic weapons
so there is no chance of accidental
death, no cheap shots - refuse to be quiet
about where you have been
we are all from a sense of raw
open heart ache,
tell me how you survived
because I'm almost certain
we all know what it feels like
to exchange our voices
for submission and spend our lives
feeling like we need something to drown out
the inner silence,
but it still vibrates, doesn't it?
I can feel it just sitting next to you
all the words that grapple for truth
your tongue is drowning in them
your mouth is ready
your heart is open
but honesty is heavy
and comes with the possibility
of learning to value every experience
because here we are, broken,
bursting with story
waiting with open ears.