Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Stutterer by Alan Dugan


Courage: your tongue has left 
its natural position in the cheek 
where eddies of the breath 
are navigable calms. Now 
it locks against the glottis or 
is snapped at by the teeth, 
in midstream: it must be work 
to get out what you mean: 
the rapids of the breath 
are furious with belief 
and want the tongue, as blood 
and animal of speech, 
to stop it, block it, or come clean 
over the rocks of teeth 
and down the races of the air, 
tumbled and bruised to death. 
Relax it into acting, be 
the air’s straw-hat 
canoeist with a mandolin 
yodeling over the falls. 
This is the sound advice 
of experts and a true despair: 
it is the toll to pass the locks 
down to the old mill stream 
where lies of love are fair.  

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