To all survivors

Whatever you might say to the dead
to the suicided,
Say it now. Say everything you desire to mean
with the hope that it may be right and true, for today, just say it.
These words are more than the breath they ride upon.
These words are created to live inside of.
These words suffice to be worlds.
These words will have to do.
For today, we have them
if nothing else.
Make home for the ill with the silken side of your tongue.
Please, the smoothest delivery now.
Practice your best notes to the trembling.
Sing the song of birds and morning.
Dream upon the dying.
Dream. Stretch out your whole life, a canvas, and paint for one who wants to leave us too soon.
Wrap your lungs as cloths for holding them.
Your breath is life.
Your stories are enough.
Your words might do.
If not words of love, then hope, if not of hope then beauty, if not of beauty, then let your hand be kind.
Let your silence be sound.
Marry your hopes into the knobs of their palms that want to hang the knot of ropes to slither the agony.
Hold the sliding fingertips of them that wish to pick the memory of a bullet from its shell.
Dance in front of those who would be pulverized by falling, by lying flat for a train, by jumping, by slipping an awful remedy into their throats, by slipping into the mouth of some body of water, endless.
And if you can, do tell everything.
Tell them your failures. Tell them of your love.
Tell them of your miscarriages and abortions and debt and rape and death and grief and anger and affairs and theft and imprisonment and murder and abandonment of mother and failing fatherhood and stoic boss and unrequited love and utter embarrassments and non- compassion and forgetfulness and traffic tickets and lost-ness and shame.
Remind them none of us are alone.
Remind them none of us are done.
Tell them how you get through.
Tell them your truth.
Point to the coffee the book the poem the letter the stone the tree the person that rocks you.
Point to the god you pray to.
Point to the stars.
Take the wounded out at night and hurl them upon the sweet darkness of the sky.
Watch them watch.
Let them not be alone this night, of all nights.
Offer them room and board in exchange for their life.
A day later may be all we need.

Manon Voice, is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana and is a poet, spoken word artist, hip-hop emcee, educator, practicing contemplative, community builder and social justice advocate. She has performed on many diverse stages across the country in the power of word and song and has widely facilitated art, poetry and spoken word workshops. In 2017, Manon Voice was awarded the Power of Peace Award from the Peace Learning Center of Central Indiana for her work in arts and activism. In 2018, Manon Voice received a nomination for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry. Manon Voice is also a recipient of the 2020 Robert D. Beckmann Jr., Emerging Artist Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis. Manon Voice seeks to use her art and activism to create a communal space where dialogue, transformation, discovery, and inspiration can occur.

Next Page (Damaris H. Zehner)

Previous Page (Elysia Lucinda Smith)