So Afraid, Always Afraid

“but in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself”

—Albert Camus


Any tremble

through the trees

contrary

to the first

wind, the

next wind,

or no wind:


always afraid,

so afraid

to simply be,

with no

definition,

with no

place to go,


no

walls left to build,

no excuse

left to believe,

no end;

then again,

no end.

(September 12, 2021)

Teaching in a Time of Covid

Tomorrow I go back on contract for my 33rd year of teaching. Last year was one of the worst years because of distance learning and the lack of contact with my students. The Students are always the best part of teaching, and for the last eight years (starting my 9th) at Ann Richards, I have had the best students ever, every year. Last year it was important that we teach remotely. The students, their families, my fellow teachers, my family and friends were at risk to this horrible deadly disease. We stayed at home and did what we could through a screen full of little boxes, because we had to. This year there is a more deadly, more virulent version of the same disease, and even with the vaccine, which a too large group of people refuse to take, and with no vaccine for the under 12 group…. which means ELEMENTARY CHILDREN….. It is more dangerous than ever to go back. Yet, here we are.. going back into the classroom. Cases are already being reported at my school, and the district where my wife teaches, and across Travis county.  I fear for what will happen over the next few weeks and months, as we go full bore back into the schools.I fear for my students.  I fear for my grandchild who is starting in a pre-k program. I fear for my family. And all of this is not necessary, we could stay remote. At the very least the elementary schools should stay remote, until the under 12 children can be vaccinated. I don’t understand what is the end game of the politicians like the Texas Governor, who seem to want children to die. What is the benefit to them? I want to believe in a hell, so the people who are forcing this to happen have some place to go.

Night Terror (a reading)

Night Terror

“When are we not in a dream?

…when are we not skeletons?”

—Sy. Hoahwah

I don’t remember 

the dream before,

I cracked my head hard

against the wooden night stand;  

the fine grained ephemera, 

which held the dream together, 

burned like flash paper into the air.

A lightning ball exploded 

my darker vision, as the dream,

too agile to cradle, threw me 

deftly from sleep onto the floor.

Not existing fully in the fluidity

of sleep, nor the concrete warmth

of the morning window’s light,

I held my head in my hands,

eyes shut, as the lightning flash

faded, leaving only the muscles

in my neck to burn like trees

broken during the night’s storm.

(July 16, 2021)

Night Terror

“When are we not in a dream?

…when are we not skeletons?”

—Sy. Hoahwah

I don’t remember 

the dream before

I cracked my head hard

against the wooden night stand;  

the fine grained ephemera, 

which held the dream together, 

burned like flash paper into the air.

A lightning ball exploded 

my darker vision, as the dream,

too agile to cradle, threw me 

deftly from sleep onto the floor.

Not existing fully in the fluidity

of sleep, nor the concrete warmth

of the morning window’s light,

I held my head in my hands,

eyes shut, as the lightning flash

faded, leaving only the muscles

in my neck to burn like trees

broken during the night’s storm.

(July 16, 2021)

We See What We Will

He plods down a street,

head bent, watching 

the ground as if afraid

some detail will be enough

to tumble him into hell.


Every moment’s an edge

as each letter in each

word inscribes the air

cleanly, like a tattoo

cut freshly into skin.

(June 9, 2021)

Alone

I fear silence

for it leaves me

to my words.

Their whispers

mouth

my periphery,

like minnows

tear a worm’s

flesh from

the steel hook

glimmering

in a creek’s

slow eddy.

(May 11, 2021)

what’s to be done but misunderstand (129)

SONY DSC

with a thousand toes to step upon

scattered across the ballroom floor

he negotiates with a nonchalance

reserved for sinister seductions

each phrase she said like a rabbit 

testing the air for the slightest sound 

to announce the wolf’s ragged debut

yet the wolf is off in some other forest

tracking that red-caped girl and

the wind carries sounds 

from some other tale as 

everything we once knew

crumbles into sullen ash

(April 2, 2021)

ambient fear (100)

on the edge of a field a rabbit

sits still as a new wind stirs her fur

with the resonant dangers nearby

thus the day’s anxieties flow

through my skin as if I were a net

tossed into the ocean’s pulse to collect

the bits of how I am defined

by everyone but me

the deeper I drop  the darker it becomes

and I am too tired all the time

to watch my last breath rise

in swirling bubbles like butterflies

lifting as one from a field of flowers

(December 6, 2020)

patience is a key to hope (92)

we must wait 

without fear

for the end

memory’s a mirror

distorted anew

in each reflection

rippled across a dark pond

(November 4, 2020)

Reality Versus Belief

I wake,

and hear 

a sound

downstairs;

probably

the cat.


I listen

in the dark,

watching

shadows

shift 

across the ceiling.


I don’t get up

to check;

although,

I probably should.

The cat’s asleep

nearby.

(September 21, 2020)