Here is another powerful poem by spoken poet  Robert Maxie, Jr.  He is sixteen years old and has been writing poetry since the age of seven.  He has his own You-Tube site and his first book, BLEEDING INK, was published in 2017.  More are on the way….

He says, “This poem is extremely important to me and my life.  It’s a constant reminder that I’m not alive to make sure that I do and say what pleases everyone around me.  That kind of life is unsustainable.  Instead, I want to make sure that I’m saying and living my life the way I want to.

A wise young man.

I did not speak much when I was a child
They asked me to speak, so I spoke
I spoke of whatever my mind could conjure up
hoping that the abundance of words
would make them like me more
I was wrong
They said I was annoying
That I talked to much
They asked me to be quiet
So I shut my lips and sewed them shut to please them
Hoping that they would love me more
I was wrong
They told me I was antisocial and quiet
So I was friendly and outgoing and I spoke what I thought
They told me my thoughts were wrong, that I still talk too much
So I hid my thoughts and agreed with whatever they said
Hoping they would want me more
I was wrong
They called me a follower and gullible
So I led my own path and said what I thought,
hoping they would love me more
I was wrong
They hated me for my diversity
They abused me and made me an outcast
I starved myself to death trying to feed everyone else
People don’t want you to think
People don’t want you to speak,
they want you to shut up
especially when you have something important to say
For if thought corrupts language,
language will also corrupt thought.

© Robert J. Maxie, Jr., 2017

Header photo credit: “Bunker Hill” by KayVee, Inc. via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]

[Guest poets add other voices to this thing and they do make the song we are singing more lively.  Click the button.  Come play.]


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you would drop a note or comment below and tell me your thoughts.





6 thoughts on “I DID NOT SPEAK

  1. this reminds me of back when i was still in my grade where we have no right to speak and should get permission to leave a room its how it was and what some always go true we as individual grow much powerful out of it . just imagine how much a person will have to say if some ones mouth get hold shut

    1. Hey Jeremy:

      I do agree with you.  Constraints and being held down do tend to make you stronger and increase your own inner power (what I call “mana”) if you are the sort who pushes back against them and keeps on trying to make the space around you bigger in order to move as you choose.  That is a reality that doesn’t change. 

      The moves and choices you make as a result of pushing back against the fences and walls that hold you still always have consequences and there is always some price or other you pay for following your own heartsong.  Only you know whether the price is worth it. 

      Me, I tend to think the price is worth paying, so I am always pushing for more room to dance to my own heartsong.  I admire the ones who try to do that rather than collapsing under the pressure of it all and accepting what the dictates of the worlds others try to push on them say they have to do. 

      The ones who try to follow their own heartsongs do have to be warriors of one sort or another.  The trick is not to lose the song while fighting for your right to dance to it.  It is a dilemma, that. 

      But, if you keep on doing it and if you somehow make it, your world changes, and that can be a very good thing.

      Please do come again

  2. This poem in essence is amazing for like you said a wise young man. He has already figured out what a lot of adults only start to realise. Living for yourself!
    I also love (in the morbid sense) on the frustration. Do one thing its wrong then change but it still wrong.
    This is enlighting.
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hey Dorothy:

      Thanks for your visit and your comments.  It is an impressive piece, given the poet’s age. 

      Please do come again!

  3. Calla Lilies says:

    Robert J. Maxie, Jr.’s poem is one of the most unique poets I have read in years. His work doesn’t feel like the work of a 16-year old, but more like someone who has lived a million lifetimes and that knows all the secrets of this world.

    I’m truly moved by his work; it’s beautiful and painful at the same time. His words are so rich and raw that they jump off the page; I think that he is one to watch, and his poem is just the beginning!

    1. I do agree with your assessment, Calla Lilies.  I, too, think the kid is way good.

      Please do come again.

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