This voice needs words.
It needs
to break this cushion of space
forming a buzzing soup of silence
all around.
White noise is no noise at all.
betray need, needy tongue
held back only by
the force of teeth on tender lips.
Gypsy utterances
seeking a home to run away from.
There are strings
of words, in search of
a listener--
not just any listener,
but one more receptive than
static. More than an
audience of blank, atmospheric
sounds. More than mere
human voice echoing
the boredom of everyday
speech patterns.

We are deaf. We surround ourselves
with words spoken
from disembodied voices,
swimming in this abundance of words
with no meaning, no
memory. They are not true words.
Not the words
with sharp hooks at each end,
drawing two people together through
oceans of empty sound.
True words
make you bleed, get under your skin,
are incapable of meaning until they elicit
pain, or pleasure. I have
a pocketful of false words,
and still I am needy,
too needy to give them away.

3 April 1994
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Sylvia Chong (