Tag Archive for Fear

Best Left Silent

There’s a screaming inside my head. I know it’s me, but of course that doesn’t change anything. It’s funny, how people always talk of that dry, analytical part of you that just watches while your world caves in. Always the writers and the poets and the psychologists can say that to you in their smiling voices, honey rubbed along a wound, but they don’t know that even the ones who watch can scream. Oh, God, but they can scream so loud that nobody hears them.

Once upon a time, I woke up in bed, and saw a crack of morning coming through my curtains. Two hours later, it’s impossible to summon the fascination that a chink of light can throw you into, especially when those hours have seen you burn your reserves of goodwill for the day. After all, smiling takes so many less muscles, doesn’t it? It’s far easier on the face; not even painful compared to trying to look neutral when it’s facing you across the kitchen table as if the sunlight means something. Nobody really notices a rictus when you’re drinking coffee.

School isn’t bad as these things go, which they do. The corners of your eyes get a lot of work, naturally, and you can spend a pleasant period spying out a teacher’s sad smile: that mouth-up-eyes-down flicker that manages to lose itself on any other wayward charge. It’s not limited to the masters and matrons of wisdom, heaven knows; you know the look social services have perfected, the one that wants to help you, child, but stops just short of moving the body in any meaningful way. As long as she knows you care, you’re allowed to comfort yourself with thoughts that a girl doesn’t make her real friends ’till university anyway, and a cup of tea can solve all her problems. Bags, though, not tea leaves – too bitter for children and adults alike.

The vastly superior Garden wins a battle with the television to hold sway over time and inattention, though each one clamours in it’s own way. After all, one could watch gardening on TV, but there’s always the chance of your father coming in, and laughing at the fat smiling men leaning on spades and talking about how to sow seeds in your own back yard. He has a very loud laugh, my father, and very strong. It makes his stomach wobble up and down, as if he were breathing very fast, or hard. Or both.

Trees and bushes offer shade to fit the mood and a paradise for the scuttling beetles and centipedes, chased in and out of sight by every innocent child you can still summon to mind. Most of them look the same, though none of them look like me anymore. It’s surprising how sad that can feel. Hemlock and nightshade grow up against the far wall, lustrous green and purple providing too fine a trap for many a poor cat, intent on stroking their lithe, slender bodies though every patch of the poison they can find. It’ll make them sick eventually, of course, but for now they look healthy enough.

The sun slides away taking the sunset with it, and a million yellow streetlights spring up for those of us defenceless enough to miss her. They can’t quite make the dust motes dance the same way, but they shed enough light to cast faint shadows on the walls, until a real shadow comes to close the curtains, and leave them that way. I used to be afraid of the dark, like most children, but I had a father who would stay beside me for a while, until I discovered how misplaced my fear had been. I outgrew it, but he’s always been there when he needed me.

I’m not afraid of the dark, anymore, and I’m not afraid of the nightmares, it’s the waking up from them I don’t like. Screaming out in the dark used to bring them running, but I don’t do that anymore, not even when he’s already there. After all, why would you make life more complicated than it already is, when you can scream inside your head for hours and hours and be sure that you will never have to stop, that you will never have to breathe hard or fast or smell the hot humid air all around you, no-one will ever see, no-one will ever hear. No one will ever know. You can try and sit vigil by the streetlights until the sun saves you again, but not even they are witness to the things that bump against your life in the night. Cry for me, if you feel like, if you think your empathy can bring me some pity I don’t need, but don’t leave the light on. No one will ever know. Don’t leave the light on. No one will ever know.


Science Class

The gravity of fact weighs down upon me.

Planets are spinning around in my head.



I hate physics class.


Giggling girls

Pointing Boys

I’m at the blackboard

Turning pink


I hate myself some days…

The days when I can’t

Seem to find the simplest solution

Like today…

Embarrass myself

Whoever said that the stupidest question

Ever asked

Was the one that was



Was obviously

Not in high school

When he said it.


He catches the “no” as it tumbles from my mouth

Shoves it back into my throat

I’m choking


He is made of granite, of marble: Stonehenge

Stone-boy makes the floor swallow me


I descend from Irish Chieftains

Recite Shakespeare

Love Vivaldi

It doesn’t matter

My head pounds on the bathroom door

And he hurts me

And hurts me

And hurts me


I am a child of rape, now I am its slave

I leave my life in the shower drain

I throw up and he laughs


Two hours of solitude

I cry as I look for my pants

He took my cigarettes, too

I am not my own


I was so excited. I could hardly breathe through the hour-long drive there. I was squished between my two ten-year-old best friends (whose names have been changed here to protect the innocent) in the back seat of a white Saturn, but I didn’t care. I was practicing over and over in my head what I was going to say to all the smart-aleck adults who would tell me I was too young to ride the water slides. I was simply going to reply, “Actually I’m ten, going on eleven.”

On the right of me sat the girl I met in preschool, the swimmer who was named after a state, like me: Tennessee. She was the observant artist. She sat there holding a deck of cards, trying to find all the queens. I could tell she was nervous. Her hands were sweating. The cards were damp and at one point they slipped from her fingers. She giggled unhappily. I looked down and realized mine were sweating, too.

On my left was the girl who spoke for the three of us. She was the big cheese. Anna was without a doubt the most daring of the three of us. She was the one who started the famous food fight of ’95 in the Travis cafeteria. She told the entire school that her sister ran away to join the circus in ’96, and in ’97 she broke a boy’s arm, wrestling. It was obvious that she was going to ride the infamous “death slide.” In fact as soon as we jumped out of the car she screamed, “I’m going to ride the biggest ride at Schlitterbahn, ‘The Death Slide.’”

I was still debating whether or not to go on the newest and scariest ride of Schlitterbahn. Anna was humming “Jon Jacob” and acting like it was no big deal. Tennessee was practically shaking and saying, “Everything will be fine. I’ll ride the kiddy slide.” She was joking, but I knew that thought was probably going through her head for real.

And there was me. I’m the one who would rather write an essay than talk. I’m like the invisible one.

We are all exact triposites, if there’s any such thing.

I was so nervous and excited at the same time that I practically leaped out of the car with my Gap backpack and my Wal-Mart towel flying behind me. I could hear the screaming and crying of children.

After we went through the long line to pay and put on a whole tube of sunscreen, we were ready to have some real fun. We wandered around trying to find the perfect ride.

Tennessee and I had decided on the water gym when Anna suddenly stopped short. She pointed way up in the air. Our eyes slowly followed her finger. Through our ten-year-old eyes we saw what looked like the scariest ride in the entire world. It was a fifty-foot tall sky blue slide that went straight down into a giant pool of deep dark water.

Anna looked around and smiled. Her short brown hair jumped and fell each time she took a long stride. Her brown eyes twinkled as she walked to the slide. She seemed so proud about being brave and daring to walk up to “The Death Slide.” Tennessee and I felt embarrassed that a girl six months younger than we were was going to ride it while we were going to play on the water gym. But Tennessee and I had a plan to cover up our embarrassment. We were going to act like we were going to ride The Death Slide, and then, at the last minute, say we forgot something and wait at the bottom for Anna.

As we stood in line, slowly approaching the fifty-foot ladder I tried to gather my strength and suddenly knew I wanted to go down that slide. I stared at Tennessee and suddenly whispered, “I’m going to do it.” She was in awe.

I looked at the ladder and I looked at my friends. Tennessee was smiling but Anna was looking very serious. She had wrinkles in her forehead and her eyebrows were down over her eyes. She was looking up to the top of the ladder, which was hardly visible at that moment. All of a sudden she started crying. It was like a low siren. Then it got louder. “What’s wrong?” I yelled over the voices of the screaming children. Anna didn’t answer. Her face was like a wrinkled prune. She had tears coming down her red cheeks. She didn’t answer me, she just ran to the water gym without a word, to her four-year-old sister. I looked at Tennessee uneasily. I knew it was too late to go over and comfort her. There were already thirty people behind us. If we got out of line, I knew we’d never get back in. If you give up your place in line at Schlitterbaun, you might as well go home.

Tennessee and I sucked in our fear and decided to ride the scariest ride in Schlitterbahn.

The climb up the ladder was long and miserable. Everyone pushed and shoved, not caring about the people above or below. I was surrounded by those adults who were thinking I was too short for the ride. We were stuck near the bottom for five minutes and didn’t make any progress. So many people were cutting in front of us that we were actually moving back down the ladder. Tennessee and I, the innocent daisy pickers, decided to let out our fierce side. We stuck out our elbows and pushed our way to the top. It only took about ten minutes.

When we reached the top we looked down. I suddenly got dizzy but thought about how much fun I’d have during those few seconds that I was riding the ride of my life. The lifeguard yelled, “Keep your hands and your feet together.” I sat down on the edge at the very top of the slide; he gave me a hard, fast push and I was off.

It was like sliding down a vertical stick. I had to squeeze my arms to my chest and keep my clenched feet together. I was screaming so hard, I had a sore throat the next day. But I wasn’t screaming from pain or fright but from excitement.

When we got to the bottom Tennessee and I were laughing and throwing up our arms in victory. Anna wasn’t too happy with us at first but she got over it, though she never did go down The Death Slide that day.

I know it was just a ride in a park, but I always think about day when I’m feeling too scared to try something new. I remember what it felt like to fly down that big blue slide. I realize that I might be quiet, even invisible, but hidden inside me is a brave


Afraid of the light

I hide in my red



From the other side

it looks like black and white

but from my angle:



It haunts like some stalking shadow,

a vague whisper of night.

A relentless night,

an endless night.


Someday you will find me

crushed beneath the weight

of my sins,

stiff and cold. What a sight.


I long for warmth,

but the bright glare



into startling gray dots

that swim past my reality.



pour of blue substanceless


Empty words


as meaningless as any truth

scream aimlessly

into pretense.


Mythic hopes

vanish delicately

into the blackness.


Please ignore me,

and shut that door behind you.

I shun the day,


and the phosphorescent glow

that accompanies it.

It hurts


stabbing like a murderous acupuncturess

with dark advice on the sensitivity

of nerves.


The salve of darkness cloaks

while I rest from the numbing


Gripping Fear

Gripping fear is haunting me,

Haunting me night and day,

Holding me back from flying free.


With the exams I cannot be happy,

Got to work. There is no other way.

Gripping fear is haunting me.


No lake of peace as far as I can see,

But the troubled sea rages away,

Holding me back from flying free.


Although I can cross the furious sea,

While hope sends out a ray.

Gripping fear is haunting me,

Holding me back from flying free.

She’s Got

she’s got

motivation dripping

from ambitious palms

her fingers are moving so quickly

why can’t she just be calm?

please find her patience,

though sometimes it’s deceived

she’s still just a little lady

with a tiny bit achieved.


she’s got

frantic music

playing in her ears

her voice is now so quiet

could she be coughing up her fears?

please find her angel

it’s been gone so long, you know

it seems there’s been some mistake

she’s lost her soul in snow.