It’s easy to take another’s voice as your own when you feel your own words aren’t good enough, or when your feet can’t find the world’s rhythm, or when everyone around you speaks in rhymes.
I had this idea once that if I listened Whitman’s voice inside my head, I’d be able to say what I mean; it is so easy for me to slide into his head. Maybe he was doing the same thing when he wrote though, and together, we were just dancing the same old dance everyone else danced, and writing the same old words, with the same worn out meanings, that everyone else had written before.
It’s difficult to find your own voice. Sometimes I take a tape recorder on my walks and tell stories or think of words I’ve read that have stuck in my head. Later, when everyone sleeps and the tape turns, I hear someone else’s voice coming out of that black box. She stumbles over words, repeats sentences until they are incoherent thoughts.
They are only my words when they are in black and white, and when there is no sound except the scratching of a pencil, or the tap of a key.
Frank O’Hara wrote, ‘It is easy to be beautiful; it is difficult to appear so…’, and I try not to use those words. I try not to think his thoughts. I try not to hear his voice inside my head, although every part of me wants to take him by the hand, lead him onto the floor, rest my cheek against the coarse wool in his sweater, and dance the same old dance.