But writing is fine. Writing isn’t permanent until you say so. Voiced words cannot be taken back.

Probably you do not understand this sensation. That’s what it is, I realized today, a bodily sensation, a sensatory event. When I open my mouth and form language borne of my own brain, and I put it into the world mere moments after its creation– the worst but unfortunately the only metaphor I can come up with right now is a rope bridge, rickety boarded and swaying, and on the other side? Everything, is what. A pile of kittens. Fifty naked first loves at but an arm’s length. Eight loaded needles of the creamiest heroin, one for each between-the-toes. The unified theory, ultimate understanding, solace and light, believe me, I want to be over there.

And but the fall, though. I swallow and my throat quivers, you know. This is talking. I suspect my mouth isn’t shaped right, my throat, it’s cobbled together a working oratory system somehow from dysfunctional parts, every syllable against the odds.

Do I not, though, relish language itself, words themselves, I do. In the correct context and combination, they do do so so much.

And the voice, you have a voice, you appreciate even your own voice: you sing. To which: no, I karaoke. But yes, technically, such an accusation is not incorrect. I am not afraid of my own chordal noise, the timbre, the pitch. Much less the performance– I do not fear attention, on the contrary, I crave it. Praise and adulation, if not for my vocal stylings than my taste in music, don’t you love this song, too, at least? Please tell me so, I’m bellowing it towards you at 125 decibels and I’m gonna continue signing up to sing all night, so it might as well be for songs you like. It’s certainly not because I have some kind of Pavarotti complex, but I insist that right now you notice me.

Why that, then, when normal conversation makes me want to bite through my own cheekflesh? Because, twat, because with karaoke I have a script. I’m not inventing anything, I’m not expressing any purported meaning or perspective, I’m not insinuating anything, nor attempting sarcasm, or euphemism, or implication, or courtesy, or flirtation, or sincerity, or any of the 500,000 other ways spoken language can be affected, afflicted, undermined or undone. And that’s only assuming you choose the correct words in the first place.

The worst: when you know you said something completely wrong and backwards and your intended meaning in the words has actually reverted and sucked backwards inside you, deeper and further down into the place you so badly wanted to expel it from– and then you have to repeat yourself, because you mumbled your mistakes on the first try and the listener didn’t catch them.

I go for humor, mostly. I try to deliver a line and walk out of the room. If I talk to you at all, without some necessary exchange of information dictating our interaction, if I’m talking to you voluntarily, then I’m probably trying to make you laugh, which is to say I like your smile, I like your laugh, I believe you deserve happiness and therefore I hope it’s apparent I approve of you as a person and I like it when you’re around. I don’t have many people I actively don’t like, but there are vast oceans of indifference inside me for most of you dizzy, pointless folk. But if I like you. You are there, on the other side of the bridge, and I am trying to reach you, and I badly want to reach you.

I like clichés, when speaking. I like to use lines from movies, quotations, not my responsibility exactly if the line bombs because not like I wrote it, is it. Two left feet, is the cliché coming to mind now, but like most clichés it’s not quite accurate enough. Yes I’m trying to cross this bridge, and yes each step seems wrong, but it’s like brand new feet, every step, every one, I lean forward and a new foot and leg is birthed from my belly, sprouting out my midsection like an unfurled tongue, solidifying and being asked to support me completely, but once, but completely, all in the same breath, like baby horses, get up and run before the coyote gets you. Every step, every word, every time.

So I try humor, mostly. I try to make these goofy legs launch me into the air, ballerina graceful, arcing through the sunlight.

If humor is not an option. If I am supposed to be professional, or somber, or serious. How do you take a step forward if you can’t catch your balance? If you’re churning out leg after leg and no that’s no good he’s got no knees does he try it again no no nonono not that one, he’s got no bones at all, has he. This one pencil thin, this one forgot a foot, this one aching to pitch you off the ledge, just a-wiggling with suicide lust, you cut them off one by one, fffttt fttt fttt. Stuck in place. Voiceless, speechless. This whole time, you learn, of a sudden. This whole life of mine and only just now I notice, my tongue doesn’t fit in my mouth. My teeth neither, it’s been sheer dumb luck I’ve made it this long without crunching them to dust against each other, incisor to incisor. You’re not put together properly at all, are you, here you go, take this hammer and place these nails each one of them into your ears like cotton swabs and try to relieve some of that discomfort, would you. And here: two more for your eyes.

Do not make me speak. Do not make me speak. Do not please do not make me, do not make me speak.