What does it mean to sink down deep

Into who you are and speak your truth

And be yourself, and have your own

Moment of HOWL, to sound your own

Barbaric Yawp over the rooftops of the world?

 

It may mean to say without thinking,

Recite without reading, or read

Without looking up once because

The words on the page and you are one,

The rhythm inherent in your tone and

Your caress of this word and then the next;

The shape of your voice, the curve

Of your neck, your hand outstretched

Behind you in a bit of a tense,

In a bit of a grip, in that moment

As the words spill out –

Because this is where you live.

 

This is your moment and here we are

To hear you laugh or cry or speak in whispers.

We are here to listen and nod along

And take in all that you will pour out to us.

This is where you leave it all on the stage –

Your anger, your frustration, the haunting play

Of melody in your timbre, your rhythmic dance,

The way your voice almost cracks as you’re

About to cry, and we all do an audible intake of breath

To be with you in that place of hurt or bliss,

Pain and freedom and rage and “Here it is,

My raw, my beauty, my private, but

Something I know we all share.”

 

This is what it is to touch a cord;

To speak something universal and real

And wicked close to heart.

 

This is what it is to sink down deep

To find the place where words

Reverberate against your ribcage

And holler out and grab others

To shake the bars and stomp the feet

In solidarity of YES!

This is what I speak tonight.

Do you hear me?

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