Jackie Choe

the silence has reason
to speak out is a like call of treason
why speak when we only seem to hurt ourselves in the process?

hands stay clamped over stumbling mouths
in attempt to keep all the thoughts inside
and god forbid they slip out past the cage crafted by fingertips

i wonder-
how long can someone hold their breath
until they sink into the waves of a crowd
or how long until they drown
and their lungs have been washed clean of the screams left inside

how can we live like this?
without a word of our own
without a thought for us to have alone

but i know
a mind will not be confined to the walls that have been built around it
a voice does not whisper
it yells over rooftops, across cities
until every word left unspoken
has a path to follow; a pedestal to stand on

because why have language
when we can't speak for ourselves?
why do we think
when our thoughts are not meant to be shared?
why have a metal safe to protect and shelter our hopes and dreams
when our mind and heart remain homeless?

so please-
be singular; a sole individual
with the desire to grow so big that
not even the never-ending galaxies can contain you
breathe with words always balancing on your tongue
not crumbled inside at the pit of your stomach

may you go wherever the streetlights take you
without worrying who could be watching

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