You know that thing that happens
Between a professor posing a question and that
First student raising a reluctant hand
To answer it
That awkward pause.
Why is it there?
Why are we silent?
And when the same hand rises to answer question
Why do we punish them?
With social judgements and negative connotations
And the label of 'That Kid'?
Since when was silence good
Since when did we start believeing that silence really is golden?
Humans are born with the voice
A process describing the transfer of air from our lungs
To a voice box that vibrates
Releasing puffs of air into our throat
Into soundwaves that propagate
Across the room.
Complemented by a receiving, hearing
That acts as a drum
Passing sound wave oscillations
Along to the auditory cortex,
Which, in sum
Allows the brain to hear, form a message.
Now, if believed that for some,
Strange, biological mutation,
We had lost the sensation
Of Voice and Hearing,
That our voiceboxes had shrunk,
Or our eardrums collapsed.
I would willingly
Raise a bright white flag in surrender
(That we could at least see)
And quietly slip into anonymity.
But we haven't.
So why do we act like there's some constricting force
That's suffocating our trachea
And squeezing the air out of our lungs,
Why are we silent?
Is it because we've been told we don't have a voice?
That the words we say don't have meaning or power
Is it because we've been told we can't affect what happens
on the South Side of our own city let alone the Horn of Africa?
Is it that we've had it drilled into our heads that
The best we can do is watch events unfold
As America's government shut down
Never mind do anything to stem the bloodshed in Syria?
We've been convinced into believing that these
psychological gags and earplugs
We've been conditioned to believe that
Our pharynxes and larynxes are are merely appendages
Of no real use.
Maybe that's why we're silent.
But who says it has to be that way?
Who is to say that these vocal chords
Can't be amplified
To break free and beyond the the imaginary constraints put upon them?
See, this is how I think of voice.
A single though triggers a release of air
Into a thousand different soundwaves
In a thousand different directions
A thousand different people
Each word you speak,
Requires the efforts, the movements
Of your lips, your tongue, your teeth
And the breath from beneath
So why not make them count?
Be 'That Kid', embrace it!
Wear that title proudly.
Stand up straight
Enunciate, vary your pitch, project!
Because once they hear you speak,
I dare them to object.