The Barbed Throne: A Poem by Marc Alexander Valle


by Marc Alexander Valle

Verbalization is the key. Mostly in your own head, verbalization is the key. Just say it. 

Yes. No. Maybe. Please. Thank you, God. Help me. 

Verbalization is helping oneself, the ability to formulate the right words, at least in between your own ears. It’s equivalent to moving a mountain, and it’s equivalent to knocking the gods right on their backs. 

Verbalization is the first step. It’s not baby turning over. It’s not baby crawling. It’s not baby walking. But baby crying. Right outside the womb, doctor holding our legs, upside down, covered in mother’s fluids, we tell the world we are here and we need to be heard. But somewhere along the line, we lose the ability to express something so basic, so fundamental. Our pain. Our suffering. People stop listening and we stop reaching. Things get shoved into dark rooms. 

Verbalization is resurfacing. It’s the air and the sun above the bottom of the pool when your friends told you to hold your breath underwater as long as you could and you stayed there as long as you could because you wanted to prove them wrong, only to discover that you were the one that was wrong and if you stay underwater any longer, you will die. There is no shame in the words. Verbalization is the texture of the world.

There are those who do not have the words and hurt other people. Not because they’re bad with words, but because it hurts too much to say what hurts and why. 

Many of those people have hurt me and have hurt others and have hurt you. And I’m not asking for you to forgive them. 

But imagine a world where you never found those words. Who would you be? How long could you last in those woods?

Yes. No. Maybe. Please. Thank you, God. Help me.

And I’m always left with the cinematic image of the soldier that came back from war, locked into his body, blind and deaf with no arms and no legs and no ability to express the nightmares in his head and maybe sometimes the beauty. And I cry not for him, but for me. That is me. That has always been me in pitch black with only the words. The words. The vague, the jagged, the crystalline, the deep-seated words. 

Can you make peace with only the words? 

And was there ever a moment of silence?

by Marc Alexander Valle

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