I Still Have a Voice

Just because I cannot hear

Does not mean I have no voice.

My hands are my words

Flowing out like rivers

And these eyes,

They see

Though you look at me as a man blind—

Blind enough to see

Your hands in motion

Signing off my rights

Signing off the hope

That brought me here today.

I am not silent

But you silence me

Bury me in paperwork

Another numerical nonentity

Less a face than a dollar sign—

Black ink rain down

And you break my world

With a pen for a sword—

How can you look at us this way

Hear our pleas, hear our cries

And still sit, as statues

Unmoved, unbroken

Drowning us

With care.

This Wednesday’s post has several dedications. It is first and foremost dedicated to the Deaf Education and American Sign Language students at MSU, who this year, as part of budget cuts, had their programs completely cut from the academia here. I also dedicate this to the deaf community at large, who all have felt the pain of this loss. Eastern Michigan University is the only other University in Michigan to offer such programs to the community.

As usual, it is also for the wonderful One Shot Poetry Wednesdays–once you’ve had a look, check out some of the other One Shot Poets as well– they’re a skilled bunch of poets, looking to form a community and support one another.  Enjoy!

Photos by myself, Chris Galford, from the final MSU Board of Trustees meeting last school year. The alphabet presented below is the alphabet of American Sign Language–a language certain board members previously claimed was “not a real language.”

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23 thoughts on “I Still Have a Voice

  1. Language, in it’s many forms and variations, is a tool used to communicate. Try telling a mother of an autistic child who signs that he loves her for the first time that the meaning he conveys through formalized and recognized gesture is not real, and should therefore be discredited. Sorry to hear about this misunderstanding of the nature of language.

  2. Very nice and there are many ways to sound off our voice to the world…may be all open our inner ear and hear all these voices…bkm

  3. I am grateful you bring this to the attention of fellow writers. Ya never know what many pens can do.
    I am incensed by the attitude toward the disabled community as a whole.

    Please don’t stop letting us know

    Moon Smiles

    and thanks from One Shot

  4. Brave words that need to be said. It’s time to take up for all the people who have been overlooked, ignored, despised, frowned on and prejudiced against for just about all time. Little by bit awareness has been raised in my lifetime; but so much more needs to be done. Well written and realized. Thank you, Gay (beachanny)

  5. This was really very thoughtful of you, Chris… A language is defined by its ability to help communication. And if is achieved, it is a ‘voice’, no matter what certain people say/think about it!!

    An informative and thought provoking piece, my friend…

  6. Beautifully written with passion and dignity. My sister and I learned to sign the alphabet before we were 12, though we weren’t deaf. It was just fun to do and the hands were in the back of our Helen Keller book. Later we went to a public swimming pool where some deaf children were playing – none of the ‘hearing’ kids could talk with the deaf kids, they were embarrassed, bored, ashamed perhaps. My sister and I were excited and made new friends. We gained, the other kids lost. In college, I transcribed notes for my two friends who were both deaf AND their native language was russian. I discovered how much they could teach me when all I did was copy notes – they helped me earn an A. We have to stop seeing handicap and different as costly or unnecessary. We have to involve everyone or we all fall behind. What a sad legacy for a college or university to leave behind – to make mockery of freedom, equality and education. Thank you for your wonderful poem. Well Done!!

  7. a wonderful protest write that highlights such a good worthwhile point….in the uk we are also experiencing cuts and its a sorry state of affairs around the globe whereby those that seem to suffer are the people at the bottom of the pile…what really angers me though is the handicapped, poverty etc is not a means to judge peoples worth..we are all special not just those at the top…”the sol called beautiful people”..yep you got me going here too….

    great poem by the way..cheers pete

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