This poem appeared in the September, 1996 issue of M.E.N.
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In the talking circle
I do not speak first.
I wait to hear the sounds of others
And feel the energy they emit.
Is it happy? Is it sad?
This is my gauge to know what to say.
For when I speak, it must be right.
It must be perfect, without blemish.
It must have more wit than the wittiest of them
Or more pathos than the most pathetic.
It cannot be mediocre.
So I wet my finger and put it in the air
Testing the WHETHER.
WHETHER to say this or WHETHER to say that.
I think on it long and hard.
I plot and scheme until I feel it is just right.
Then I open my mouth.
But instead of ME speaking,
The words come from my SHADOW
Who has stepped out in front of me.
Funny, I did not notice that there was a light
Coming from behind.
I want to stop Him from talking in my stead,
But He can be stronger than I at such times.
Someday, I hope that I will be able to stand
Beneath the sun at High Noon
When my SHADOW is not allowed to emerge
And speak the TRUTH.