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?