YOU SUSPECT THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME
I start the poetry reading by first testing the mike.
I have a voice disability.
It is not cancer.
It does not hurt.
I am not afraid of you.
That doesn't mean I'm ignorant
of irony, a word person who can't talk
without glitches and droppings. Who has heard
every variation of kind what-did-you-say's?
Who seldom tells jokes; who can remember
punch lines when you're lucky to get matters said?
It does sound like I'm afraid of you.
You probably don't believe me.
Maybe I once was afraid and it stuck.
A sort of voodoo punishment
for lack of trust. Or faith.
When you ask what it is,
I say's it's a disconnect
between my vocal chords
and my brain
(which sings folk songs
about lonely cabins
in the woods
without a hitch.)