Freedom of Speech

Americans talk loud and often
of their right to speak:
a pillar of democracy
that gives voice to the weak
as well as strong, in equal shares,
so each may truly taste
of freedom’s sweet, delicious fruit
and none will go to waste.

And yet, a legal right to speak
is often not enough;
reality suggests in action
such talk can be tough.
The truth is, outside one’s own home,
and often even there,
we never say just what we want –
we could, but do not dare

to say the speech that we would speak,
if we felt confident
that we could trust those listening
to grasp at what we meant
with honest ears and open hearts
that tried to understand
despite their wish to disagree
or cut us where we stand.

Alas, we all too often hide
behind our words, instead;
encouraging “just bite your tongue
and never lose your head,
take heed of what your friends will think;
the walls have ears, beware!
They’ll use your words against you
if you loose them in the air.”

But truth is not in comfort zones;
it lies somewhere outside
the social structure we impose
to justify our pride
that we are somehow civilized
and will not cause a scene,
regardless of the pain it costs
to forget what it means

when you are truly free to speak,
your voice heard loud and clear,
to cut through the hypocrisy
without regret or fear,
and truly share as equals
in a strength that won’t decay
until we open up our mouths
and find nothing to say.

15 APR 2013

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