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Where Things Begin

In the place where things begin,

With their unspoken words
My parents taught me not to speak
Except in songs and stories and poems
Through the mouths of others.

With her constant stoic silence
And explosions
My mother taught me to bite back
My words, like tears
Until the holding in became unberable.

WIth his shouting, his tired rage
his shame
My father taught me not to sing.

I ate my anger and sadness
like ashes and flames
Tattooed it on my skin
and found relief
In secret allies wIth sharp teeth.

But that is only half the story.
Where we are now, instead of where to go from here.

They taught me best as they knew how,
They taught me as they had been taught.

I would teach my parents if i could
The necessity not luxury, of boundaries.
To seek not blame but responsibility
ANd the difference between assertiveness
And aggression.

That anger can be stated quietly and firmly
In times of calmness
Not loudly or passively
In hysteria and silence
and that greatest learning
comes from patience and not violence.

I would teach them
The Magic in the Mystery
And the freedom in the Truth

Most of all I'd like to teach them
To use their voices properly.

THat the singer who sounds good
Is the singer who is clear.
And to make of themselves and their lives a song
And sing it without fear.

NG 2003

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