lingua franca of silence

language should be unnecessary, toxic even,

bile dripping off our tongues.

what is the purpose of an artifice like language,

a combination of sounds strung syntactically into

what we call sentences and falsely believe

hold meaning that no one will ever misinterpret.

I was born without a voice.

to not speak as a child is to be labeled as shy,

pinned like a butterfly to the sidewalk pavement

while others draw your outline in chalk.

you try to call out, but there is a silence that follows,

as if there is a cloud clogging your throat.

if mis-communication is all words can offer,

then why even attempt to make sense with them?

why not saddle elephants like spoons brimming with leather coffee?

there are professors who will stand before you

lifting lofty words to the heavens

building temples out of blocks of dictionaries

pontificating their conjectures sans plebeian verbiage

but in the end, saying nothing.

each attempt to elucidate a notion implodes,

the listener waiting eagerly for the speaker to finish

so he too can show what words he knows.

saying absolutely nothing, meaning nothing, signifying nothing.

there is a confusion less telling than silence

and that is the noise of trying to say something

because there is pain in attempting to describe humans

(even the taste of pineapple)

in words

that seem to fail, always fail.

in fact, there is only one language

which each person understands and that

is silence.


About Derek Berry

Derek Berry is a novelist and spoken word poet. Derek is the author of Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County (PRA Publishing, 2016). He co-founded and organizes The Unspoken Word, a literary non-profit based out of Charleston, SC, which provides an intendent home for the poetic arts through regular readings, workshops, and community fundraisers. He is on the Executive Board of the Charleston Poetry Festival, the inaugural production of which will be Fall 2017. His work has appeared in The Southern Tablet, Cattywampus, Charleston Currents, Illuminations, RiverSedge, and other journals.He has performed in venues across the United States and Germany. He has worked as a photographer’s assistant, busboy, and bookseller. He currently works at a curation facility for Cold War History.

Posted on May 31, 2012, in books, Language, musings, Poems, Poetry, writer, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: