COVID 19 Artist Feature Four: Finch Aurum

The Language of Tenacity

I have lost my voice. 

I built this one, right now? 

From the ground up, one prototype of many.

Over the years I have become many.

I stood just before my mirror in tears practicing prosody, 

changing my melody.

I feel the tune slip across my tongue, I feel my face change, 

they take shifts with my mood by the minute of the day.

I tic, my tongues in a twist, 

my mind rushes from my mouth before I can think of how to say-

and it comes out in a jumble. 

I hear myself as an ocean in my ears and my jaw shakes. 

My fingers fumble.

Laughter laps at my shores.

I am wide awake. 

Every thing I say is a mistake and it sounds wrong. 

I did not say it right. 

I did not say it all.

I missed a word. 

I switched two and my inflection was entirely off.

I build a new one.

Laugh normally. 

Quietly. 

Shortly. 

Less.

Learn there is no normal way to laugh with your hands.

Look at them, 

directly in the eye, 

even when it is the only thing you can do. 

Even when you cannot.

I build a new one.

I say I am in agony and no one believes me. 

I still do not know what gives me away. 

I say I am in the depths of despair and they do not care,

instead decide that I do not experience pain and I relinquish. 

My words are an escape behavior that must be extinguished.

I bite my tongue. 

I build a new one.

I speak less and with more precision, 

speak only when I am sure and I am never.

My voice is a pedestal on which I hold all that I need to be whole: 

to speak in that secret code I have pondered deeply, 

it is always just to the left of me.

I have been measuring the timings and tones. 

Everything that I am must be carefully constructed,

lest I seep out in ways that out me as not like them again. 

The difference is sin.

They still do not believe it. 

Use every last ounce of my energy to get it right. 

Everyone knows and yet,

knows nothing of me.

It is a concrete mask of which I grow weary, 

and does not aid my appearance any.

They still see through me, they still never hear me. 

It has been laid by hands that are not my own, 

and has been here so long I am not sure if anything remains beneath.

Or if I am even strong enough to lift it.

I hear them laughing and I have no reliable memory, 

I must have done something d-mb and I fear my mistake is beyond repair.

Linguistically gifted mute,

tongue ensnared,

they do not want me there. 

They never have. They never will. It is not fair.

I have always loved language but it has been made a forbidden affair, 

cannot go there until I have finished my work and I will not be finished

until nothing of ME remains.

I have destroyed and created myself anew again,

and again. 

I have become an expert at best laid plans. 

I build a new one.

I speak only when I am sure and I am always. 

Ask questions without shame when I am not.

Build a vocabulary of 

Community and 

Interdependence and 

Empowerment and 

Dignity and

delight in my fingertips dancing over keys 

as they spell out  Neurodivergence.

A native language long lost it begins the process of rebuilding, 

enables me to look through a lens of self-understanding,

which has never before been made accessible in all of it’s magnificence.

I brush the rubble off of my skin,

look within, 

the mask in my hands hollow and heavy.

I build a new one.

The words of the revolution roll off my tongue.

Hands laughing, 

they leave my fingers with not only ease but precision. 

My language is my craft, and I, 

the architect. 

I allow myself to be- 

to speak, to not speak, 

to make utterances,

to comfort myself with the warm arms of language, 

wrapping around me in all of their indulgence.

Every word is available to me, carefully chosen to dictate precisely. 

Language, like me, is a constantly changing entity, 

affected by the translations and interpretations of society. 

And there will always be, 

people who twist words and their perceptions of me.

But I have bent too much to be broken. 

Buried beneath the ground, compressed in soil and concrete, 

stomach coiled coals in ember glowing, growing heat.

Sparking flames that light our lips, our fingertips,

light our way to one another, 

kept apart in the dark, altered fragile structure. 

It is a lonely and painful venture, 

leaves us behind a rock in the milieu,

hummingbird thrums of hearts and hands,

fellowship in slight suffering anguish of man,

carrying with us a pretend and temporary value.

I build a new one.

Cleanse myself of blue pen ink 

of strike-through-communication.

I am the only editor, 

I am the gardener,

and my sprouts will not be spoiled.

I build a new one.

I am soil.

I am the trees for the forest.

I am hands that never tire of laughter.

I am alive and strengthened by all those before me.

I am an outgrowth of rot.

I am entangled with roots of those around me.

I am waving branches and rustling leaves.

I am enriching myself so that beautiful things can grow from me. 

I am apart of something bigger, 

something stronger, 

an ecosystem of differences,

all building upon one another.

I build a new one. 

I will share myself 

linguistically, 

physically,

authentically, 

Autistically, 

unashamed I will tell my story.

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