I want to read to you
from the words I write
to you and her and him and them
The surprise lies in my look and sound
with my shaven head and working class
accent, my immigrant stance
and aging punk dress
I never read the same way twice
each time a different emphasis or moral
I insert words and take them away
a mirror of my state at the time
I’ve no booming bass, no James Earl Jones
or Paul Robeson
no cultured dulcet tones
no Burton reading Coleridge
My voice is raw and exposed
a knife to the liver more than
a caress in the dark
My voice is salt in the wounds you never knew you had
I’ll mug you with it in this alleyway
but I’ll take nothing, cause no physical harm
though I leave you battered and bleeding
in vomit and piss and pain
I’ll curse in ways you’ve never heard
railing violent against an ineffable foe
coarse and absolute and impotent
this hot-headed riot
a false citadel, parapet
and moat within which monsters bathe

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