They’re always back there in my head––
the things I could have said instead.
Sometimes not voiced for a reply,
but just existing in my mind’s eye.
Words joined in ranks turn there about
wondering how they’ll get out.
Before they start to riot and rage,
I let them out of their bone cage.
The voices murmur and they chide.
Cause trouble if they’re locked inside.
What if the mad men of this world––
in asylums cruelly hurled––
are simply writers who don’t know it.
Wild voice inside. No place to stow it.
All those entities inside
taught that they must try to hide.
Perhaps if they could let them out
to prance and scamper, whine and shout
on paper––empty, white and thin––
it would be the simplest medicine.
To fill the paper the surest way
to bring tortured voices to light of day.
To join that strange fraternity
Of those who have to speak to see.
What drives us to this room, alone,
our lives austere as any bone?
Is it the voices there inside us,
barely able to abide us,
needing to be wider heard?
To keep them in would be absurd.
I let them out for exhibition.
Free them from their cramped perdition.
And as I drift off into sleep,
I am the company they keep.
I hear their whisperings faint but clear
as they march in ranks from ear to ear.
Words rolling out in countless reams
fill my empty chambers with dreams.
When I awaken, they break their order,
wild to escape this nightly hoarder.
They jostle, elbow, push and squeeze
to make their way onto these keys.
I can barely match their pace
as they stream out, caught in the race
to be the next to flee my head
in their mad stampede to be said.
I don’t control these words, you see.
I am their transport. They drive me.
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