Poem: Terror

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Terror, terror, in my skin,
Where do you stop and I begin?
Filling me with dreadful care,
I seem to find you everywhere

Unconfined by geography,
Where is not your suzerainty?
I’ve tried to find it, but in vain:
Yours is an all-encompassing pain

You follow me everywhere,
Like an infection, skin-eroding,
Ask me if I do or dare,
Simplicity becomes foreboding,

You follow me in my happy moods,
And when I’m walking through the woods,
Chewing away my insecurity,
My only recurring stability,

Terror in the supermarket,
Terror in the crowded street,
Terror sits upon my chest,
When I cannot get to sleep

You make me feel like death’s flirtation,
You jeer, and jibber, grind and goad,
Ever repeating this one thought:
Any second your heart could explode

Why dishonour myself by believing,
Things that might or might not be true,
Why are you now my voice of reason?
Why have I put my trust in you?

I begged you to go away, Fear,
Said we should both see other people,
I do not wish to return to your church,
Or impale myself on its steeple

I am hungry for a deeper peace,
Hungry for the embrace of wisdom,
Hungry for a love that can
Be its own, fear-destroying Kingdom

Now a memory, I can see,
Pictures of our time spent together,
Holding hands, reluctantly,
Why did you love me, so much, Terror?

But now that you have gone, Fear,
I can see what you helped me learn,
But it does not make any more keen,
To know the day when you’ll return

 

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Sonnet On A Summer’s Eve

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So steady the night on this soft summer’s eve,

As star seeds descend like manna from heaven,

The stillness of the scots pine fertilizes my ease,

And unmasks the demon by which my anxiety is driven,

Beneath all the chaos and dust of the world,

Is a light feather bed by tranquillity plumed,

The chaos is like two lovers wrestling on sheets,

The serenity is the mattress where their bliss is consumed,

And imbued with non-reference – the terminator of fear,

A tender consummation that nurses all wounds,

Cordelia is returned to the resanitized King Lear,

And on loving what’s lost, we no longer presume,

But cherish each beauty, the peace won by a friend,

Vowing to love them forever – faith without end

Poem: Beyond Prayer

temptation

Trying to keep this jangling bag of nerves together,

Drip-pissed, demented, quaking in coffee shops, and

Waiting for some limb-soothing nurse to cart my

Panic away

*

What is this sprite of spasms infecting my heart?

Filling it with troubling smoke, wild, untamed,

Writhing like the underbelly of a millipede in

A raven’s beak, its myriad legs writhing, but

Not one of them finding a sanctuary of solid

Ground on which to stand

*

Just a hysterical nursling

Attacked by a nervous system

That has ambitions far beyond this body

*

Like a puppet in the hands of a palsied owner,

I cannot stop shaking – my body grows cold,

And my nerves chatter disobediently among

Themselves, like a swarm of wasps, tied together

By string, yet tangled into a mess, flying in different

Directions – and I sympathize with the spasmodic, the cripple,

The epileptic, the stroke-victim, the paralytic – all those afflicted

With anatomies no longer obeying their orders

*

“Cells!” I call out. “Cannot you work together?

Must you be so insistent on mutinying against

Me?”

*

“Down with him! Down with Reuben!”

They yell in seditious cheer, binding me

Down like a maniacal Gulliver, and pricking

Me all over with pickaxes and knives, except

For the more modern of this fiendish host

Who employ cattle prods, tazers, and infrasonic

Nuns

*

Sprawled out and sick, I can feel my spine

Twitching, longing to crawl out of this shivering

Spasm of skin; preaching to people in silence from

The bench on which I writhe – a demagogue of

Dourness that the Good Lord did contrive

*

II.

And I’m beyond prayers – beyond praying –

Whatever the universe wants, the universe gets,

And I am just part of the getting

*

The heat of the sun, and the heaviness of the moment

Nail me to the ground: everything is condensed into this

Moment – all the pain, the light, the despair, the joy of

Seeing the blueness of the sky, and the existential dread of

Knowing it is not enough – and yet it has to be enough –

It has to!

These are the things that keep me going:

Just little acts of mercy,

Little acts of mercy

*

A sun shining,

And then not shining,

Only to shine all over again

*