Sunday, September 20, 2015

Speak Your Peace: Rose Merke

This piece was originally performed at Cha Island on March 26, 2015 for our local Speak Your Peace! event. It was awesome. You shoulda been.

Whisper to ROAR

I spoke, it wasn't very loud
and no one heard me

I was not heard and
it felt like I was not seen,

In my private place I spoke long
of all the things I wondered about, thought about things,
I wanted to see if
someone would listen.

If they saw me maybe they
would hear me.

I tried to speak again
and no one heard me

I felt so sad, so all alone,
I started crying.

Now there was SHOUTING!:
I'll give you something to cry about.

I was in shock,
I did not know that tears were loud
and could be heard when my voice could not.

My voice kept trying to be heard
but it had no strength

I tried to shush my tears
but they could not be quieted

I tried to listen, to hear the voices of others,
perhaps their voice could become mine

In my head, I heard so many voices
most of them angry, threatening and loud

I wanted my voice to have the power to say
SHUT UP!, STOP,  I don't want to hear your voices anymore

I thought I was loud
yelling to be heard
but it came out as only a soft voice
that hardly got out.

I wondered who had stolen my voice, my power
and where had they put it?
I hope my voice would try again to speak, even whisper
so I might go to where it is.

I thought I had heard something
but couldn't be sure
I asked tentatively, Please speak again so I can hear
After some time
I heard my voice
a little stronger

I heard it whisper, I'm scared,
then each time a little louder,
I'm sad, I'm lost, I feel invisible,
I don't want to be tied up
even stronger

don't touch me, don't laugh at me,
And then my voice would hide and barely whisper
What if no one likes me?

Many thought my voice was fine
that I talked a lot.
They didn't hear a word I said, so I could just as well

be mute.

I kept on trying to find my voice
I wanted others to know it was mine and not
the lip sync of another

I became restless and dissatisfied
I myself could hardly recognise
my voice

I started to speak up,
louder than a whisper, all of a sudden
I heard a ROAR

I didn't know where it came from
I heard it again

I realised it was coming out of me
the ROAR was mine
from deep within.
It was the pain, confusion, and sadness.
It was fear.

I heard it again and I heard ANGER
this anger I didn't know I had or where it had been hiding
but I had to ROAR to get through all the layers
of protection and hiding
It came out a deep abyss
and it shook the very foundation of my life.

It was my voice
It had become clear
From a whisper to a ROAR
it could no longer be denied.

It is I.

--Rose Merke

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Speak Your Peace: Merick Milward-Quinn

This piece was originally performed at Cha Island on March 26, 2015 for our local Speak Your Peace! event. It was amazing.

For fifteen years or more, I've felt invisible. I recall saying, at the age of seven, that I couldn't possibly accomplish anything because I was a young half-Native girl (being the opposite of my oppressors, the middle-aged-to-old white men of power, but luckily I had parents to usher those ideas out with the words of, "It's because of those things that you have the power to do anything."

And for a decade, half my life no less! I lived on the reserve, but there are people here who've known me for years without realizing where I'm from, so maybe I should stop my own erasure and declare my heritage proudly! (Or sadly once you realize just how decimated the culture truly is.)

Passing on partial pale-skinned privilege, have I shucked the identity I lamented at age seven, I created on to suit the system for my late success. I wore a mask of assimilation, I've been alienating myself from all forms of my natural community sor far, only to go on building my own network. One just as eccentric and queer and mashed together on stories of the heart as the person I've become, the person I share universally.

My ambiguity in life is omnipotent, from my gender and expression, to exploding out of nuclear heteronormative family roles or rules, redefining success to include my lifestyle and connections because otherwise you'd never hear about the joys we experience from the mass majority who'd rather see me as a statistic than a flesh and bleeding human.

And no one in school tells you what it's like to always be in survival mode, when several years pass and feeling safe is only based selectively for nothing will remain stable.
--Merick Milward-Quinn