Automatic Writing: September 19, 2014

It’s like pulling teeth
to get words out of me sometimes,
especially if it’s been too long
since the last thunderstorm or
my last cup of coffee. When prompted,
my voice is staggered, halting,
rusty, with sharp edges,
structurally unsound. Antidepressants
and acting classes have gone
a long way towards unlocking
my vocal vault, but some words
I still stumble over – not words
like haloperidol or
phenylalanine, but words
like phalanx, miscegenation,
Elysian fields, hard rocks
that screech and spark beneath my crampons.
Limited though my teeth and
tongue may be, I still practice
reciting my poetry early in the morning.
I count off syllables between
the oak trees, driven by the memory
of reading to an audience in a smoky
bar, particularly one girl
with red hair and a mouth that glinted
pink and white, even in
the building darkness.


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