by Robert Rothman
I say the word is newborn each time in mouth, alive and kicking, struggling to get out of closed confine, swaddled in blood and mud ofmaking. Big-headed, squeezed between the bones of having been said and too unformed to survive earthly air, it bawls and wails and cries and howls. Bear it, born it: ugly duckling or cygnet. No mother ever disowned her flesh, and who are you? I say silver tongues are suspect and golden one illusion. Birthing is messy business, with distended cheeks and hesitating tongues darting in and out of dental stops. Stutter-mouth, stammer-sayer, stumbler-bumbler: the push and pull, the glutted glottis pressed to extremity by flood of heated sound, a mess of inchoate verbs and consonants coalescing. If I am not tongue- tied, if not stunned to silent pregnancy of apprehension, if not stopped dead in mytracks (read come alive), if not struck by lightning (think your eyes), if not lost for words (meaning found), if not open-mouthed hanging like a harvest moon in the eastern sky, then miscarriage and still-born my progeny, and death-breath I issue. Given voice to sing and hymn the mysteries, to name the ten thousand things, to conceive and beget Word, the offspring of world and self bedded in the tangleof invisible embrace, let my mouth open wide without censor or censure, and the awkward never-heard, never-seen-before come forth. Bring the scepter. Make the signet ring. Crown me. Have the bell ringers ring, the town criers cry out: Worded I am.