New Poem: About Mutism

Bird in Cage - Papier mach by Pamwagg
Standish Bird in Cage – Papier mache by Pamwagg

PHILOMELA*

 

I haven’t spoken out loud in several days.

 

 

Six days to be precise, going into a week,

bullied into a frightened by myself, into myself silence.

 

 

Though to be precise, what does “speechless” mean

or even “mutism” in these days of text-to-speech software,

with its choice of Vikki or Samantha or Victoria voices,

 

especially when I’m possessed of a blogging platform

and writing fluency enough to speak my mind to my heart’s content?

 

Still, being mute is not a manner of speaking.

 

Yet I tell you I could speak, I can talk. Nothing physical impedes

my tongue, or locks my lips against making aural sound,

 

except my brain’s hallucinated snarls, like Jerry Mahoney

and Charlie McCarthy thrown into surrounding shadows

ordering up this stoppage, blockage, blockade.

 

Now, like that fire-fangled bird at the end of the mind

feathered unlucky, tarred, locked in golden cage

 

my voice remains only a memento

of everything that I wanted
to say, but couldn’t get out, I couldn’t get out, I couldn’t get it out…

 

 

*In the Greek myth, Philomela is raped and has her tongue cut out by Tereus, the husband of her sister Procne. Rendered mute, Philomela weaves a tapestry detailing the crime to inform her sister, who, enraged, takes revenge on Tereus. At the end of the story, both Procne and Philomela are transformed into birds.  Some versions have Philomela become a nightingale, the female of which does not sing. In other versions she becomes a swallow, which is a non-singing bird.

2 thoughts on “New Poem: About Mutism”

  1. Pam–I am so sorry you are having such a hard time. I was enjoying our dialogue on my blog, and then you disappeared…it makes sense now that I know what happened. You are not a bully. You are honest and direct. I love that, and hope you find your voice again soon. You have many important things to say. Sharon

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