Howard F. Stein

Two poems


For how long have you told me
I do not belong?
Each time I wince at your pronouncement –

Until one day you colonized my soul,
Your voice overtook mine,
Now mine makes the cruel announcement.



Patient to therapist:
“I am so full of hate.”
Therapist to patient:
“Whose hate are you filled with?”
Patient to therapist:
“Is that why I am hearing voices?”
Therapist to patient:
“Among all these voices,
Do you recognize yours?”
The patient erupted
In uncontrollable sobs.
The therapist waited,
Offered the company
Of silence as the patient wept.
Then, therapist to patient:
“I will help you get your voice back.”
Patient to therapist:
“So that’s what this is –
Voice lessons.”
Then, for the longest time,
They spoke no words
Between them, but shared
The voice of silence
In their midst.


Howard F. Stein photo circa 2017Howard F. Stein, an applied, medical, psychoanalytic, and organizational anthropologist, organizational consultant, and poet, is professor emeritus in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, where he taught for nearly 35 years. He was later group facilitator of the American Indian Diabetes Prevention Center in Oklahoma City, 2012-2017. He is author of 32 books, of which 10 are books or chapbooks of poetry. His most recent poetry books are Centre and Circumference (2018) and Light and Shadow (2nd edition, 2018). He is poet laureate of the High Plains Society for Applied Anthropology.


Copyright © 2019 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.