If it is a place, then which land does Fear reside in, if not in the darkest realms of bitter fantasy, human imagination in the night, when the ocean rises to lick the shore like a lover. To run in longing to Fear, in sleep or in daylight, in the misery of Winter or the hope of Spring. If Fear exists as a place, if it is lurking within my heart and not just in the dusty corner of a stranded parking lot, it will seep into my bones like a Sade song, the sweetest taboo. As long as sword-like trees mutter quietly like Mohawk Indians, and if rivers cackle like witches over a spell, I will live in dread.
I used to be afraid of everything, and then I was afraid of nothing. There were vague memories of drinking from a holy cup that healed my blood wounds. No one could get within twelve inches of my psyche. I had a rapturous fever all the time. I wrote the first draft of this a virgin, knowing nothing of men.
I thought I could pack up and run away from mortality, disappearing in the calm of dusk, in the faded pages of a school annual, to achieve invisibility, a rebellious Cinderella. I refuted aggression – the paint-splattered armies, red under the shadow of a Celtic cathedral like insects lodged under broken stone. The church tower was as daunting as the most regal of queens greeting a throng, as pure as the white of her garments and the fresh green of vines, obscene seaweed, violets dyed pale, bleached sunshine.
There has always been too much Fear, and no one has understood its beginnings. Listen to the shriek of every helpless creature running alone to the water to die, hear the whisper of every rock cooled by the moon. At night the building’s silence is like the men who become faint out of Fear.
The vines grew, wiry and thick, mindlessly expanding with no rhyme or scale. The uncertainty lingered everywhere, in storage rooms, in candlelight, in salt – which was actually realism, in rain crying on spider webs. Cold leaves pinked by the wind, biting and snarling. Still the people watched the scheming of the theatre, and would not leave till after the play had ended.
The poets who injected Braille into my lips never guessed I would try to breathe life into their mouths, artificial respiration. Rage and hope, Thomas Hardy visited me as a wandering teacher. One of my dreams kept composing a poem, asking for answers, the key to the Emerald City, dedicated to dead talent, and there was too much of Fear in the world.
A war began the lines unclear. Scissors moved in, cutting up the areas marked, through the steely fibers of a man longing for love unrequited, shaping child-like drawings into the forms of paper dolls, dresses complete with cut out lace. Switchblades, handguns, razors nicked, struck and shortened the expectancy that is our birthright, of highway dreams, and the cathedral shook with rage. People roared at the injustice, without tissue. Fingers grasped at oxygen, tears held back by the strength of steel wool wire, such a parched tongue.
Out of control, Fear overflowed from the barrel, the wine keg emptied into itself. It caused water damage, permeated each mineral pool, smashed through my window, transformed into a raging inferno, fire, hurricane, delighted in thunder, grew sad, went back to bed, repented and slept on the cold cement floor. There was too much of Fear, but it needed to rest.
In the sheer panic of isolation it contracted. Five minutes of bliss ran through every living creature like an electric shock. Then, Fear expanded as always in the stillness, a taste rising like sugar on an upper lip, reborn in new generations.
So much doom and misery in the atmosphere, waiting, eyes without faces attached, voices hollow, shrieking replies in the Canyon. Why must every greatness crumble like a fallen city, every human in exile, like damaged thoroughbreds? THEY say I am irrational to hope for alternatives.
Running along hungry, remembering the plane tickets, never vanishing, undying in the wake of a new hour, this is what makes the flesh human. THEY say I am too sensitive to change the laws of the universe.
Everything has a polarity. So go forward without breathing, straight to the edge of Fear, that lovely thing, more alive than any dead calm, quiet and knowledge, Adam and Eve after eating the forbidden fruit. Fear is everywhere. It’s how you know you are alive.