Fear

Premonition shivers:

Panic …. is just an inch away
its corruption spreading by contagion,
a chill within the morning mist
they (we) all must breathe, rising from the delta

When it comes:

It dilates pupils, narrows sight,
dries mouths, drains skins and blood-soaks cores
as it flushes through capillaries and flesh,
its rush feeds on mistrust, fuelling more unease
in and of each life in breaths of fear / thriving
in a fertile climate founded on their (our) past

Experiences:

Infecting people one by one
or sweeping regiments away
ruling of and by and for those people
who’ve found their (our) almost-abandoned
most-dearly-held and all-too-human values
wrenched and broken loose

Calving nightmares:

Of their (our) flesh somehow carved
and taken freely without drawing blood;
Of the uprooted left behind / or blamed
by those whose role it was / to care for them.

Who knows what is right or wrong?
Or which side “we” are on?

Distorted images

Perception is reality. Indeed??!
Who will see beyond
a brusque because tenuous masculinity
or tentatively passing femininity,
contorted to conform,
to fit compounded lives into a frame,
a work of rules for living in?

Such progress made, but so much remains undone.
We are still adrift from harmony, still
straitened by striving for stability and
trying tirelessly to earn an inch of traction,
leaving little room to dream of leverage
for the last and bravest stepping out
from an airless past towards equality.

Martin Niemöller spoke so well.

Now will we speak? Or who speaks for us,
surrounded by our complex fear?
Are we frightened of our fears?
Or of ourselves, our difference?
Or stark disclosure? Of uncertainty,
Of not knowing home, of nowhere to belong?
Or of a nameless other? In irony.

Must we be forever wary, full of cortisol
and mindfulness of risk? Tholing and brave-facing
covert discrimination, overt abuse,
irrational ignorance, banal and fundamental;
even begging No, No No, No against the blade
slid blindly in the thigh or in the guts,
by the station, walking home at 5am?