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What it means to speak: A prose poem

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TIOMAX80 | CREATIVE COMMONS

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SEPTEMBER 17, 2022

I’m thinking of what it means to speak—when I spill a stream of words and it winds its way to you, and when you let a flood flow from a spout that’s designed to let out a drizzle. I’m thinking of when you sat on a white blanket with grass peeking through the threads, and you wore a white dress for our special occasion: a conversation.

I’m thinking of what it means to speak, and by that, I mean I’m thinking of how you speak. How you tell me about your conversations with friends — how you ask them questions about life and then sift through their words to pluck out the secrets and habits in their speech. You consider the unconscious threading. You analyze the jumps in between words, how much thought goes into each conversation and you resent them if they don’t pour as much of their thoughts into the air as you do. When I think about what it means to speak, I think about you.

I’m trying to sit with silence, because we spoke about silence as much as we spoke about noise. I think about the films with the banter and the quips — the wit and the sterile perfection. Life is quiet in comparison to the screen. I think about the films with the messy words — when I feel warm because of a stutter, a mistake, because of an exchange that twines and twirls like your white dress upon the white blanket. I think about conversations that are the substance, not a conduit. I think about a space in which our words are Osmium, and the air is Hydrogen.

I speak to someone else, and I speak of my thoughts. “Try not to think about it that much,” he responds. Weightless, aimless, the words float. “Walk away from a conversation thinking ‘that was good’ or ‘that could’ve gone better’ but nothing more than that,” he says. Drifting, flying.

I’m thinking of silence, and I’m trying to fill that silence. I’m trying to match the rhythm of your voice — the waves that carry your words as they fill the room like a royal blue flood. I’m trying to speak to give you something. I’m trying to give you consciousness — to breathe you to life like you said words could do.

Why are they all so quiet?

I’m trying to speak — to let you live, momentarily, in the vibration of the air, your image carried in the noise. I’m trying to speak across city lines, to speak in an alleyway to hear your echo. I’m trying to speak to understand the nature of speaking. But it’s in your silence that I hear the most.

A breath. A thought floating in the river, approaching the waterfall.

I’m thinking of what it means to speak, so I don’t.

Contact Logan Roscoe at [email protected].
LAST UPDATED

SEPTEMBER 17, 2022


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