I have forgotten how to write. How to unfold and unravel the protective barriers once in a while and reveal what lives inside of my ribcage. I could say that I don't know when or where it happened, but I do. It was the day my name was spilled out in the middle of a stranger's hate-filled tirade, the moment I discovered I was on the receiving end of the symptoms that only a diseased heart can present. When I was little I would chase around these bugs in my grandmother's backyard that we always called roly-polies. I was always fascinated by them because when you poked them, even just a little bit, they'd curl up super tight into a ball, like a tiny pill. And looking back on the trajectory of my writing, it seems I have exhibited the exact same practice. The second it seemed I was about to be publicly shamed or made fun of, there'd I go, tucking and hiding, wishing so hard it was all just go away.
And that tucking and hiding? It's actually quite painful. It feels like suffocation and sadness. It feels the opposite of alive.
I don't have an answer. I don't have a happy ending (yet). But what I have is the knowledge that even though I still have my linguistic wings clipped, I can unfurl my spine and stretch-out my soul, and let the poetry go. I can open my hands, and close my eyes, and let my songs sing, through these images, the way that words once did.
They come from the same place, I now see. They are the same thing, manifested into different variations, but of the same vibration and bone. A photograph or a paragraph, identical in weight and meaning. Identical in how I feel once I've released them from my fists.
The Allegrettos reminded me. In a time when I felt cornered by silence, they cracked it all open and granted me permission to step, all be it wobbly, back into the sunlight. I will never forget this family or this day or this river revelation:
My voice is never really gone.
(side note, I just realized that these images uploaded backwards and bit out of order, and just as I was about to fix it, I realized I quite love it this way. And so, it stays...)