​Not in stentorian tones,
as a thing over whom
you try to impose
a respect
you have not earned,
but demand
by dint of your
power and authority.
Or with patriarchal
that closes
my mind and ears.
Speak to me
as a human being
with a voice clear
and reasoned.
Without underlying
daemons of socialization,
subconscious programming,
running in the background.
Speak to me
without the notion
that I am a second-class
As if you are aware
that I helped build this
world and its wonders,
am a part of the glue
that helps to hold
us together
as inner and outer
try to tear us apart.
Speak to me
in a way I want
to be spoken to.
It may be different
than the way you
would want to be
spoken to,
Respect being
one of those 
nebulous and situational
Speak to me
so that both
of our dignities
are intact.
As if the message,
and its meaning,
is as vital to you
as it is to me,
and you need
me to hear you
as much as I
need to be heard.
M. Zane McClellan
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All rights reserved