My poem “Chilling Effect” published in The Tongue Has Its Secrets

from my collection The Tongue Has Its Secrets, my collection published by NeoPoiesis Press in 2016

Chilling effect1
I want to write about being at risk,
Silenced and scrutinized,
in nightmares jeweled words
wrangle sense and image.
Sun-shot thought champions dissent,
but anything I say can and will
be used against me.
Why am I alone in this protest?
Where is the vigor of astringency, the vinegar
homilies to warn of Cassandra’s oblivion?
Where are the bereaved, clad in weeds
of aubergine & black?
In the garden there is a skein of broken limbs,
bound for burial.
Avert your eyes and pray for solace,
the sweet bitterness of grapefruit marmalade
that wrenches a tongue from slumber.

1
A chilling effect is the stifling or suppression of political debate or other form of
expression or conduct by creating, through law or force, a fear of penalty or other potential
negative effect. See, e.g., “Chilling Effect Doctrine.” West’s Encyclopedia of American
Law 2005 Encyclopedia.com. 15 Apr. 2015

 

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