To a Ventriloquist

Without as much a twitch of lip,
a captive mouth conveys your voice

your syllables,
what you'd project.

You merely whip your wrist around
to simulate the act of speech.

Your conversations
none partake.

feigning life:

your halting hand becomes a gawk
or coiled fist mutes everything.

Direct dictation.
Pure verbatim.

And, from this, you conclude control.

But then, those thoughts are not their thoughts.
No vocal cords but yours vibrate.

There's repetition.

Reverberation of your views.
Some breathing, but no agency.

No spirits lifted, inspiration,
willful praise, participation.

Only cold reiterations.
Tongues compelled to declarations.

Dead puppets

lifeless microphones
which animate and amplify

so loudly now you fall for it

persuaded in this play of plays
convinced this is vox populi

your people's voice

I wonder, can you sense the strings
which set you leaping with each tug?

How sure are you no hand commands
the very things you think you say?

How powerless or free are we?
Let's question all autonomy!

To a Ventriloquist © Copyright 2021, Robert J. Tiess.

View this poem at

166 words.  Puppets them challenge prompt - link:

For LNP:  blanket per. on file.  I would need a reader.  Thank you.
Submitted: November 24, 2021