Tag Archives: fear





This is what happens when you are not paying attention. When you are entirely in your head, which happens to be up your ass.

There is no real reason or excuse to so thoroughly isolate yourself from others. The walls of your cage have flexibility. There are windows and doors. There is resistance to using them. You sit at your computer; another window. Your cell phone is always at hand throughout all of your waking hours. It sleeps next to you while your body sleeps.

Yet, all of those options readily disappear when


Head                                                                                                  Shuts


It takes time for awareness beyond the self to arrive.

You’ve left the bed, the computer, your room, as you travel through your cage. Streams of light particles glimmer around the sides of the drawn shades of the windows you walk by. The light is diffused, filtered so it does not flood the rooms.

But, not all of it. Not enough to keep the outside completely outside. The sunlight finds its way in. It hits the closed aluminum slats at a moving angle as it rises and passes overhead. The light pushes you into the bottled-up kitchen.

The tea kettle you had set begins to whistle. It is building up in shrillness until the steam screams. Turning off the burner, you pour the boiled water into the mug you’ve already set up with sweetener and a bag of tea. It seeps as you leave the kitchen, cup in hand.

Your hands are warm. The initial burning sensation you felt has lessened to a more comfortable feel. Sipping the tea, your feet lead you into the living room. The eyes flit to the windows, an aura of brightness around its edges. Walking closer, you notice the dust particles that dance in the sunlight. One hand drifts forward, fingers playing with the motes as you find the cord, pull, and raise the blinds.

Intense reflected light assaults the senses. The eyes adjust.


Ice is everywhere.

Across the road, the trees are encased in ice, from the very top to the outermost ends of its branches. The trunks shine to the frosted ground. Icicles of various lengths and widths hang from the limbs. Nothing drips, yet.

Movement to the left draws your attention. A tree squirrel leaped from a high branch onto a power line that still connects the buildings and houses. It, too, is bound in ice and icicles. As it skates along the wire, the first icicles plummet.  The squirrel scampers away out of sight. The ice remains.

You had only thought of taking a look outside. The ice has held you there. The panorama before you draws your attention, from trees to squirrel to frozen lawns to cars cloaked in their icy covers. The ice has enveloped all; it has created a tableau of a winter day that is waiting for the activation cue.

It fascinates. Its glitter suffuses you. It satisfies in its purity.

Finishing the now cold tea, you leave the mug in the sink. Washing it is for later.

You dress. The winter boots laced up snugly. You grab your parka, hat, and gloves. Before you unlock the front door, you go back for one last item. A long multicolored wool scarf gets wrapped around your neck.


This is what happens when you pay attention.

When you realize you’ve encased yourself in nothing tangible. When your head takes a peek out of your ass.

Keys in hand, the door to your cell is unlocked. You journey into the world.

The ice is already thawing.

Five a.m.


It’s five a.m.


and an instant awake.

Jumbled overlays of THINGS

Spill across the mind at whirlwind speeds

Heart begins to race

Stomach heaves

Focus, focus, focus…

and that just doesn’t happen

So you pop another one

first daily dose…

try to close your eyes

your mind

your racing heart

and that just doesn’t happen.

The darkness surrounds you

Is inside

deep inside

and it feels like there is no where to go.

Silence, Leading To…


For fear

Aspects of  horror to hear

Words that one refuses oneself

Does not still the malignancy that eats away

eats away


Until what is left is nothing.

For fear

Leading to silence

Leaping from silence

Causes a deepening hole

That can’t be crawled out of.

Silence, Leading To



A hole.

No one else can listen to that silence

They can infer


Walk away

Brush off

But, the silence widens



Leading to…

If I Had…


If I had everything

I thought I needed

Would I still want?

If the basics were in place

Would there need to be more?

Or, with the needs abated,

Would a new want rear its head,

Taking on a raging, pulsating pull?

I don’t have what I truly need

I really only want what I need

If I had it…them…

Would things finally be enough?

If I hadn’t wished for a certain freedom

That, when it came, left more locks,

Would I still want that freedom?

Yes, yes yes…but not in the way it came.

This is a twisted knot

Of my own doing

If I had

a choice

If I had


Smiling Woman

She could no longer hear no evil
She could no longer see no evil
But speak evil…
Oh, yes…she could.
With her razor sharp tongue
And smug, upturned nose;
With bent spine, clawed hands jagged and rough
Her mouth could still speak the hurtful:
Kindness…not in her vocabulary.
Her taunts, her chides, her demeaning sneering snarls
Oh, they bit, they bite, they take chunks out of you!
There is no chance that she’ll see how she wounds
How it effects those in her path
No chance she’ll hear, or listen to, the “please…no more!”
Hers is a voice without pity, speaking evil…
Her cheeks bloom, rosy, when she finally smiles.

Imprint of a Bad Dream


Three a.m., and Rachel woke suddenly, feeling as if an arm had withdrawn, a body, light,  pressed against her. Her heart pounding, Rachel turned away from the wall and searched the darkness. She should be alone, had been alone, for a long time now. No arms draped around her, no heat generating body snuggled in such a familiar way, no touch, no caress, nothing. Laying on her back, the clock light the only illumination in the room, the only sounds the passing of a car, then others…Rachel was aware of being the sole occupant in her bed.

Why, then, did she still feel like she’s still being held?

Tossing and turning, the night crawls by. Her pulse rate takes its time in returning to a relative state of normal, chest finally relaxing where she no longer feels like her rib cage would expand to bursting. Sleep comes, but is interrupted often by a quick wake up, startled, flipping over, wrapping her sheet around her, kicking off the blanket, putting the blanket back on. Three and a half hours pass this way.

Rachel slams the alarm button, and the clattering noise stops and leaves her hearing her own ragged, panting breath. The left eye hurts, the right one not much better. She rubs them with the palms of her hands, and they tear when she blinks them open again. Massaging her temples, Rachel puts her feet in her slippers and gets up off the bed. It takes a second to balance herself.

Her morning rituals go without a hitch. Rachel is on auto-pilot, showering, dressing and completing all her needs in the correct order, as she’s done for so many years, and while this stabilizes her, at the back of her mind she can not get over the feeling of the arm, the hand, the fingers splayed upon her back. “A dream” she says to herself. “A nightmare.” Shrugging it off, Rachel leaves to, as she sees it, truly begin her day.

It is one disaster after another. Stress piled on top of anxiety on top of belittlement, with a dash of confusion, worry and angst blended in to the mix. The car that cuts her off; the boss reaming her out; the phone call not returned; the splatter of grease from her lunch on her suit; the call that interrupts; her mother; the co-worker; the bill that she thought she paid; the smile not returned; the feeling that she still has not shaken off the nightmare grope, what it meant, why it still is touching her.

She feels as if she carries around an imprint of the appendage from the night, that it is affecting her day by rippling out to those around her. Rachel sees a grasping, a clutching that cuts off anything from running smoothly, the same old same old to the unexpected. It tightens and pulls, runs strangle holds over thought processes, thumps speeds bumps into her path. She was physically exhausted from lack of sleep already; Rachel felt, by end of her work day, completely beaten up, drained of energy, worn out, worthless.

Her briefcase, shoes, stained suit, shirt, stockings, bra and panties are scattered from the front door of her apartment to the bathroom. That was not like the normal Rachel, the put together Rachel, the almost OCD Rachel, the orderly, neat and clean obsessed Rachel. That Rachel had a phantom arm around her throat, constricting her every movement.

The shower head pumps out steaming hot water, the mirror fogs up in seconds. Soon her white skin is pink, turning to red, and it gets to the point where she almost screams that she feels the limb dissolve, melting away in the heat, running down the drain with the too hot water. Rachel presses herself against the tiles, cold on her back, fiery blast assaulting her front. Closing her eyes, she stands there until the pain finally reaches her, and she stumbles to turn off the left faucet, letting icy water race down her torso, genitalia  and legs.

Eleven p.m., and Rachel has finally made her way to her bed. Before this it was  mindless TV watching on the couch, huddled in her pj’s and terry cloth robe, nursing a beer along the way while she downed a few shots of Tequila. Her normal to bed time went by an hour ago, and she knew she could not put it off any longer. Two days of little to no sleep would do her no good, nor would two days in a row of being batted around by others, and herself.

Lying on her back, eyes wide open, Rachel checked the darkness, looking for any sign of movement. Nothing. She closed her eyes, re-shifted, opened her eyes, tried to focus, closed them, shifted again, and again, pulled the top sheet and cover up to her neck, swaddled her feet, curved into a semi fetal position, and finally…finally….finally…

Three a.m., and it was more careful this time, not wanting to wake her, to distress her, to cause her any pain. It floated its caress around her,  a diaphanous embrace of the night.

Face The Flame






When a ball of fire hits you in the face, time stops.

In that moment, the surprise outweighs the massive heat. Pain, too soon, too fast to register. The formatting of the nerve endings are leaps behind the mental acknowledgement that your face is on fire. You hear a scream in the distance, and can’t grasp that it is you.

You are lifted off your feet by the force, reeling backwards into the table that was behind you. Stainless steel, hit hard. You know this only because, later, as you were being wheeled out, you saw it toppled over.

Running feet, yells. You are lifted again, but this time by others, not flame, not the shock. Except, a new shock hits you as ice cold running water is sluicing over your face, your head. Your glasses are gone and you are sputtering, drowning after being torched. The water, it’s own torture, continues it’s pouring. You are half in an over-sized sink, with the icy water soaking and choking you. You mutter and mumble thanks, and what you think happened, and you’re being told “shh, shhh, we called the ambulence” and you only want to be absolved for undergoing the forge, the anvil of fire that was one with you, in that space where time had no meaning whatsoever.

Time is running again. It has been all along, you just not being aware of it. Pain like this allows no time. It’s all one. You feel hands on your shoulder, a new voice, telling you it will be all right, come with them. They are packing creams on as they lay you down on the stretcher. Your assistant, one of those who threw you in the sink, and kept on dousing you, brings your glasses. They are slagged. Your eyes are fine. The glasses are slagged, your eyes are fine, the glasses are slagged, and your…

Your assistant shakes you, bringing you aware, and quieting you down. The ride out of the kitchen, down the hallways, through the doors, to the waiting ambulance are uneventful. The pain that starts to grow overwhelms all else. There is little they can do for you they tell you. You think they say this a few times. All you know is your face is on fire, the flames are alive and singing along your nose and forehead, and it danced inside your mouth and up your nose, and you did not want to be partner to any of this. The EMTs kept squirting a cold solution, moving your hands away from touching. You are aware of a rocking and siren, but it’s so far away.

The next bit is obscured. Water, cool down, warm up, water, cool down..and again, over and over. Finally, they release you. A Zinc cream based bandage becomes your new face, and somehow you are home. Pain killers take the edge off, but…

Fire visits you in the night. It shimmies and beckons, and it has this VOICE that is fire, pure and volcanic as it calls to you. The feel of the heat is dredging over you, kneading into your pores, inflaming the follicles.  You wake screaming, often, and she says “shh, shh..it’ll be all right” each time. She can’t hold you to comfort you. She is a furnace.

So, three days later, you are fired for negligence, even though you reported the equipment faulty. Even though you know you would have had to quit. There is no way you can face the flame. You’ve had nightmares and shakes and even the distance of fire on a TV show sent you into such a spin of terror that you blanched to pure white. She panicked when she saw you like that, getting in the way of the screen but not your scream.

You could not turn on the stove, light the oven, be in the presence of a candle (even when it was her birthday), and you could not do the job you spent fifteen years of your life slaving over. You went into complete melt downs with the slightest “wooosh” of a striking match, the sound alive and cloying, calling to you, laughing at you. You walk into a Chinese take out, and have to carry you out, because of the panic and melt down you experienced when a grease fire on the top of the fryer went off JUST as you got to the counter. You break a bathroom stall, bending the door with your foot as it kicked out, trying to rid you of the flashback of advancing fire.

She stays with you, but the fire creates a chasm that is never really filled in. It’s too deep, full of tendrils that want to drag you down and burn you to a crisp. The holidays with fireplaces and cookouts and all that has ended for you. Movies…you never realized how many movies have fire shooting out of the screen, reaching for you. It all becomes too much for you. You want to hide, but you close your eyes and plug your ears. You dont’ see, but you can hear. The fire’s voice. It is calling.

Time passes, and the effects lessen, but they are still there. Fifteen years later, and you can just barely tolerate a candle on a table in a restaurant, and you have to explain again and again why you sometimes have to blow out the candle, or hide it with a menu. This is always to a new date, as they don’t last long. She didn’t last that much longer. The chasm of fire engulfed what they once had. She crumbled, and as ash she blew away.

You have not lit an oven in all these years. You have a new career, but you still suffer from the old. What wasn’t crisped then still is burnt around the edges.

Today, you turn to the oven. You light the covered stove and stick a long kitchen match in to ignite it. Opening the oven door, you start to bend down, your face level with the insides, black and charred. You bring up the flame, and you face it.