Friday, December 22, 2017

"We Don't Speak the Same Language" by Aspen Bullard

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “We Don’t Speak the Same Language” by Aspen Bullard.  Bullard is a student at Appalachian State University in North Carolina.  This is her debut publication. 

We Don't Speak the Same Language
Aspen Bullard

I’m fluent in silence
     Like the silence of my dorm room after my friends have all left for some party that has a crowd I’m afraid of stepping into
     Like the brief silence of mind when I try to remember the last time my thoughts weren’t screaming and scrambled
     Like the silence of my voice when I wanted to say no but I wanted him to love me more

I’m fluent in goodbyes
     Like the goodbye you have to say when “I love you” isn’t enough anymore, because love can’t always hold 2 distanced people together, at least not when the distance is in heart and mind rather than in miles
     Like the unspoken goodbye between old friends who have grown into new people and moved on with their lives
     Like the goodbyes you say every day hoping they won’t be the last, or sometimes secretly praying that they will be

I’m fluent in what-ifs
     Like what if my all-consuming need to please people is never satisfied and I’m left miserable in the process.
     Like what if all of my hopes and dreams crash and burn right in front of me and I have to start from scratch.
     Like what if one day everyone wakes up and sees me the way I see myself; Not good enough; Not strong enough; Not enough

Maybe you’re fluent in I love you’s
But remember I’m fluent in silence, goodbyes, and what-ifs
So forgive me if I can’t say it back

Poet's Notes: I wrote this poem to express the many insecurities I've felt throughout my life. Sometimes it is a struggle to explain things such as anxiety and depression to people who don't experience them, which for me is a kind of a language barrier. I hope this poem can break down that barrier a little and start a conversation.

Editor’s Note:  It is a rare privilege to debut a poet.  Songs of Eretz is honored to introduce Aspen Bullard to the public. Her poem reads like something Walt Whitman might have composed if he were an insecure girl.  Bullard’s use of anaphora is masterful.  I also enjoy the last stanza with its shorter lines, whether those lines are directly addressing the reader or a would-be lover of the speaker.  I will certainly follow this poet’s career with great interest.  


  1. Oh, Aspen! This is so beautifully expressed. It's raw, giving words to those of us who don't have the fluency to express these feelings. This is a courageous poem, born of your pain. Thank you for having the guts to share it. May it bring healing to you and to others.

    We've never met, but I've loved you for you love my friend Lauren and you gave her the opportunity to dance. You may be fluent in silence, what-ifs and goodbyes; but, you're also fluent in loving a child and giving her wings. Now you've moved to another stage in your life, but you remain wind beneath her wings.

    I spent way too many years of my life trapped in strangling misconceptions, so I resonate with your poem. I pray that you will grasp that you are enough; you are good enough; you are strong persevere when everything inside you screamed tackle write this poem. Oh, dear one. I wish you could see yourself as I see you.

  2. Aspen, this poem has me in tears - I am so moved by your words, your expression of feelings, pain, despair. But there is hope because you have chosen the best career ever - teaching young children. I have also been through times of deep despair, and those times have made me a better teacher, I am sure. Quite a painful training, but now you can understand some of your students in a unique way that many teachers can't. Embrace who you are because you are enough - and you are special.


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