Singing birds are often better off caged, and maybe I’m no different. Maybe it’s safer, biting my tongue and shoving my hands deep in my pockets when the urge to delineate my woes shivers its way up my spine, shaking the rust from the back of my teeth and loosening the hinges on my jaw. I’m constantly reminded that the world outside my mind is far too dangerous, too brutal for my fragile thoughts, for my feeble words. But every now and then those words get the better of me. They convince me that their songs are worth hearing, that they’ll survive the hell that awaits them. Then, eager and hopeful, they jump off my teeth like a diving board, spreading their wings and gliding out into the world of the unknown, the world of wars waged to divide and battles fought to conquer. I watch as they hang suspended in the air, wings spread, small and beautiful against the ominous background, innocent if only for a fleeting moment. But, of course, beauty has no place here.
I cringe as the shots ring out from all directions, as everyone around me opens fire upon my winged thoughts. I shut my eyes tightly against the firing of guns, arrows, cannons: delivering the message loud and clear that the airspace between me and the world is better left unclouded by my superfluous banter. I try not to watch as they drop from the sky, my unsuspecting words, but my eyes force themselves open. Wings broken, hearts still, they crash to the ground, silenced.
I want to gather them one by one, my feathered thoughts, gently in my hands; I would take them somewhere safe and give them a proper burial, for they were once so near and dear to me. But I’m afraid of what lies in the battlefield. I’m afraid of the landmines and the barbed wire and the trenches. So I bow my head, refasten the locks on my sore, stiffened jaw, and turn my back on the carnage, on the dirt and grass and the haze and smoke. I turn from my defeated birds, form the bodies of my barely spoken words, and I leave them.
This is old as well.