At the end of daybreak, this town sprawled-flat, toppled from
its common sense, inert, winded under its geometric weight of
an eternally renewed cross, indocile to its fate, mute, vexed
no matter what, incapable of growing with the juice of this
earth, self-conscious, clipped, reduced, in breach of fauna
Notebook of a Return to the Native Land, Aimé Cesaire
When you run out of words do you scream silently in a corner, like a woman waiting for the next bout of licks from a man she once loved?
When the hope that used to make your skin tingle dries up do you wonder where it went or resolve to go on without it?
When you run out of words do you keep writing anyway, because if you don’t write you die?
Even if there are voices all around you that say that your voice is not valid. Your words unmoving. Your reason non-existent.
Do you still keep talking anyway, in the hope that one day it might make sense somewhere, somehow.
Do you wish you could cut yourself so that people can see that you bleed. Do you ignore their anger or let it seep into your veins and make you wallow in their doubts that are not yours.
When the mask you didn’t know you wore begins to slip, do you keep on anyway, not wanting to stop, in case your heart did too.
Running out of words and running out of time. Running into walls that you yourself have erected to protect you from real and imagined terrors.
When you run out of words do you respect the silence or do you tear at it in a rage, spewing nothing but a pained and garbled noise.
When you can’t think of what to say to make it better. Or make it different. Or just to make it seem like there is something there other than a big hole.
When you run out of words do you lose your patience like a mother who is tired of repeating the same instructions to her children? Do you lash out until they understand? Don’t stop beating until you feel like you anger is sated.
Do you stab and stab and stab away at the flesh of your loved one, when you run out of words.
Watch the word count. Rising and falling and then stagnating at four hundred. Four hundred words that are supposed to represent the whole of who you are. Keep going. Get distracted. Wonder where the words have gone. Wonder if you’ve run out of things to say. Witty things and bitter things and funny things and hopeless things. There is nothing more to say now. You run out of words to fall on deaf ears or ears that turn off their hearings aids when you try to speak.
You have no words to express your disappointment at your failure. You have no words to say how shocked you are that no matter what you say, this is the way things are. This is a done deal. This is our history and we must re-live it forever. This is what women need to keep them in line. This is not the time or place for us to stop and think and find our own way.
You have no words to mutter to yourself, no prayers or mantras that make it better.
You are out of words and it is time to pack up your tongue, put away your brain, succumb to the emptiness and the silence. To accept the noisy empty vessels. To know that the Red House is somewhere that jackasses bray because they must. And the rest just wait for cues. To point and laugh. Or hold their heads and bawl. Never to find their words.
Never to articulate their frustration.
When you run out words you have two choices.
Be like everyone else and become terrified of the sound of your voice.
Or resolve to change your language altogether.