Poem: Speaking or Not by Mark Tulin


I listen first.

I speak out
when I’m ready.

I won’t be forced
to talk
against my will
or take advice
from a person 
who really doesn’t know.

I will talk
in my own voice
in due time,
by my actions
or inactions,
just with my eyes
or with my hands,

whether with words
or a furrowed brow,
a nod of the head,
chest bumps or fist pumps,
smiles with a thumbs-up sign.

I know
that speaking or not speaking
is my choice.


Author, poet, short story writer from Santa Barbara, California. I write about a variety of topics, from my early childhood in Philadelphia, to my years as a family therapist, and finally to my soul-searching present in California. These are narratives that may have a humorous or serious content or both. Either way, I hope my poetry and stories resonate with you.

14 comments on “Poem: Speaking or Not by Mark Tulin

  1. I will talk by my own voice in due time by my actions or inactions just with my eyes or with my hands….my favorite part😍

  2. Very well written/spoken, Mark. These are notions that have been at the forefront of my mind lately as well… Your illumination is appreciated.

  3. Marion Njeri

    Nice assertions. It’s a beautiful poem

  4. So well penned, Mark! Love the topic and the way you painted it in words!! Thanks for sharing this!

    Oh, loved your about statement too. Quite brave and bold to venture out across country like that! Outside of maybe San Diego you could not have picked a better place in the states to live! I’m so jealous! Ha! Really loved your line
    “My creative voice is the evidence of my existence on this planet.” I hope you don’t mind if I quote it and use it as a seed of inspiration??? I feel exactly the same way!!

  5. Reblogged this on The Reluctant Poet and commented:
    Come read the thoughtful piece – SPEAKING OR NOT

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