The air shakes with rejection as
my speech tries to make way
into their prized ears.
Sentences made up
of silences too long,
syllables too stretched;
of words that must clear hurdle upon hurdle
or die even before they are born;
of words that will be tested, tried and retried
and uttered or thrown away for better ones;
of many sounds lending a helping hand
for just one.
They sometimes giggle or laugh,
often look away, grimace.
I cannot but sometimes wish
to grab and shake their heads,
to make my words land in their brains.
They say, "You speak too fast"
or "You should take a deep breath"
or yet "You should speak with pebbles in your mouth!".
They don't believe I have tried it all;
tried to calm, control and expunge
the demon that plays havoc with my speech
catching my words as they pass by
snapping and twisting their wings
before letting them emerge from my mouth.
They and I have thought and pondered;
have read, debated and intellectualized;
have erected theory upon theory;
the theories about as firm as water
bearing a rock in the ocean.
The illusive waters in their firmness,
have deceived me long enough.
I want to befriend the demon, the rock.

added with permission March 16, 2000