Sticks and Stones

Emmanuel-Adolphe_Midy_-_Little_Breton_Peasant_Girl_-_Walters_371592 (1)

Use your words, they said

When I wanted to hit the girl who stole my teddy bear

And so I learned the language of ice and hail

I learned to calligraph with the blood of my victims

For words can never hurt.

Explain yourself, they said

So I translated the mango-flavored music in my heart into words they could comprehend

It was like chopping the heads off teddy bears

The room ended up strewn with cotton and loose threads.

Shut up, they said

So my operculum I locked against the pounding waves of adolescence

Every tide sounded the same

I forgot how to decode the subtleties of language.

Be gentle, you said

With your eyes, for I was deafened by the rock and roll of war

I didn’t think that I could make your blood run

Hot with only the words I’d been taught.

And since I couldn’t hear the acid in my voice

You silently became a glacial peak

A wordless creature bathed in nameless wind

And now I have no one to talk to

And I almost wish I had used my eyes, my ears, my hands, my heart

Anything but my words.


Image credits in order of appearance:

By Emmanuel-Adolphe Midy (French, 1797-1874) (Walters Art Museum:  Home page  Info about artwork) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“La Discrétion 1820s” by Claude-Marie Dubufe – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –


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