Is my second language.
I try to speak in the tongues of the greats:
World leaders, activists, rebels.
I attempt to curl my tongue around the foreign syllables of Self-assurance,
Too heavy to dictate with the proper connotations.
You see, I am still learning this language.
I conjugate with firm handshakes,
Pronounce with eye contact,
Communicate with poise...
Some of the time.
You see, I am not yet fluent in this vocabulary,
Cannot articulate with precision my identity.
I hear the echoes of voices rolling consonants and vowels off their lips like a hymn:
Some people have spoken it since birth,
Have merely acquired it.
Others, like me, have had to work for it,
Have had to force our mouths into alien configurations,
Into abstract lingual shapes, learning how to speak the way a fawn learns to walk:
Gawkily and with a resigned unfamiliarity.
My native tongue cannot enunciate all of the curves and straight edges of Fearlessness,
But ******* does it try.
My voice’s inflection is heavily accented with uncertainty;
Anyone who hears me knows that confidence is not my first language.
But that does not mean that my voice will break on the bones of my past mistakes.
It does not mean I cannot speak the words without my chin up, eyes unblinking, voice unwavering, as un-fluent as it may be.
It does not mean that my accented second language is any less correct than your first.
I am training my mouth to say “no” in a different language,
To say “no” with my mouth closed.
Letters drip off of my tongue like honey but not half as sweet.
But who dictates verbalization?
Who decides that my speech is too broken to accommodate coherent oration
I ask you:
is this soapbox sermon any less fluent than our history textbooks?
Is my broken English any less multifaceted than yours?
I will tell you
My lack of coherent eloquence is no less worthy of my lungs than of yours.