I have enclosed all of my words in a jar
In a place where no one can hear them
Everyone can see them
Each word, independent
Devoid of syntax and structure
Disavowing rhythm and rhyme
Disregarding time
Meaning scattered by earthquakes and tremors
Elections and emotions
Unsure of themselves
No legal standing
Petrified, vilified, terrified
No longer knowing what they are allowed to say

I have electroplated them with gold and silver
Aluminum alloys
Sugar and marmalade
Given them meat to eat
Riots to beat
Made them heavy, unmoving, permanent
Precious, polished, exhausted
Weathered, worn out, burned down,
Defeated, defiled, deflated
Negated
Infiltrated, greatly hated, hotly debated, regulated
Translated, alienated, transformed, reformed, uninformed, uniformed, programmed, interpreted
Mummified and redefined
Blind, with invisible frangipani flowers shaking their heads
Fragments of butterflies’ wings and desert sands, sighing
Trying to escape the moans and the skeletal bones of the earth
To reach heaven before they are missed
Remembering they once were kissed

The crows are looking for shiny, blue things with which to decorate their nests
And, the song birds are listening, not to words
But, only to the music
The lizards are listening, not to words
But, only to colors and shapes
The beetles are listening, not to words
But, only to light and dark
And, the stars are listening only to
On and off

All of my words are enclosed in a jar
In a place where no one can hear them
Everyone can see them

January 2021