I am mourning the Beis Hamikdash,
And my inability to say everything I mean.
With every sentence put into concrete
And dropped into the atmosphere
Where words collide with others’ ears,
A chisel falls
And splits the slate in forty splinters.
Even the best of intentions,
The softest of solid words,
Have enough weight to crack the peace
That respectful silence engenders.
One opinion expressed will bifurcate—
There’s no way to keep it straight,
No such thing as an innocuous statement.
Kevin Coval’s life pivoted around the moment in 1987 when he first heard KRSOne’s “Why is That?” a song portraying Moses as black. When Coval tried to discuss the song with his Rabbi, he was told to get out of the synagogue. “I realized early on that there is a power and danger in telling the truth,” Coval said. “It makes people uncomfortable.” Since then, Coval, a poet and educator living in Chicago, has helped others express themselves through hip-hop and spoken word poetry.