Truth is a Bridge

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FEEL FEAR

“That guy doesn’t have any fear.”

My longtime friend Jeff used to say

about me often in front me, near

a machine built for speed in a parking lot,

bar, party, around a fire or wherever

old stories get rekindled – as if I wasn’t

there. I can’t explain why

some are drawn to the edge, to live fast

near places most avoid. Velocity, Adrenaline,

Testosterone held together in youth

make a delicious cocktail some call

 

“Wild.” Hunter Thompson once said,

“The Edge… there is no honest way

to explain it because the only people

who really know where it is are the ones

who have gone over.” I don’t recall

how many times having to pause

 

for Blue lights to hear words like:

do you know how fast… you can’t,

shouldn’t, that’s illegal, catch you

next time – see you in court. Coming back

a few occasions under Red lights

hearing: how many fingers, can you feel…

you could’ve, should’ve, cannot believe

you didn’t – you must have an angel.

 

Fear can be turned and projected

like a shield. Sometimes you can smell it

on an opponent as they go

down. Tuck it behind a name

badge to stand in serious corners

of a club where others escape

under dancing lights, loud music

and strong drinks. Feel it

on a head shaved to support a friend,

swimming with chemo, during a time

of skinhead uprising. Heard daily as most

turned to avoid and occasionally tasted

as some returned to scream assumed hate

I left them uniformed to keep

their pride in confronting stupidity.

 

As time etches glass. Slamming Wild

mellows into sipping Perspective.

 

Love holds fear. A blend

could walk in front of getting another

pet, close an open hand, freeze

a mind, lose pieces of a broken

 

heart. In our place where it is better

to be feared than afraid, I am tired

of paying for what others stole.

Tired of being feared for what others

have done. I get to shoulder

a fear that comes in the form

of an unearned invisible decrepit sign

created by monsters. The word [Beware]

written with body fluids of others.

It can be seen by unknown women

who go out of their way to avoid

sharing a sidewalk. Heard in the stressed

air near a vacant seat. Noticed

by a child taught to stay away

from the lone-strange-man.

 

Perception does shift

when my spotted dog walks me

through awakening blooms, falling

leaves and assorted flavors of rain.

And it disappears when surrounded

by my daughter’s wiggly girls. Seems

I now have a few angels.

 

There are many edges to the dark

force labeled Fear.

Feel them.

Or don’t.

Feel Fear

“That guy doesn’t have any fear.” My longtime friend Jeff used to say that about me often, in front of me, near a machine built for speed, in a parking lot, Bar, party, around a fire or wherever old stories get rekindled – as if I wasn’t there.

I can’t explain why some are drawn to the edge, to live fast near places most avoid. Velocity, Adrenaline, Testosterone held together in youth make a delicious cocktail some call “Wild.”

Hunter Thompson once said, “The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”

I don’t recall how many times having to pause for Blue lights to hear words like: do you know how fast… you can’t, shouldn’t, that’s illegal, catch you next time – see you in court. Coming back a few occasions under Red lights hearing: how many fingers, can you feel… you could’ve, should’ve, cannot believe you didn’t – you must have an angel.

Fear can be turned and projected like a shield. Sometimes you can smell it on an opponent as they go down. Tuck it behind a name badge to stand in serious corners of a club where others escaped under flashing lights, loud music and strong drinks. Feel it on a head shaved to support a friend swimming with chemo, during a time of skinhead uprising. Heard daily as it turned to avoid and occasionally tasted as some returned to assume hate. Found hitting the face of an attacking dog.

 

As time etches glass, slamming Wild mellows into sipping Perspective.

Love might hold fear. A blend could walk in front of getting another pet, close an open hand, freeze a mind, lose pieces of a broken heart.

I shoulder a fear that comes in the form of an unearned invisible decrepit sign created by monsters. The word [Beware] written with body fluids of others. It can be seen by unknown women who go out of their way to avoid sharing a sidewalk. Heard in the stressed air near a vacant seat. Noticed by a child taught to stay away from the lone-strange-man.

There are many edges to the dark force labeled Fear. You either feel them. Or you don’t.

Pinned Permission

Permission from the artist to modify his work was not what I sought, well it was, but I wanted him to do it – not me.

The first time I saw the piece was in a magazine. It was being used to promote a biker event somewhere down South. The second time I tore it out and pinned it to a wall. A couple weeks later I looked online for this event, which led to more searching until finding the artist Jeral Tidwell. I began following him on Social Media and eventually purchased his book Sketches. It has two versions of this design, one rough pencil and one finished in ink. Again I felt drawn to it, but not completely.

Surfing the Internet a few months later led to a notice that Jeral would be at Bumbershoot the next week as part of a printed poster art exhibit.

“Really like your work, this one in particular – found a version in a magazine.”

“Oh great wasn’t sure I’d have much of a following up here.”

After about a half hour of talking and purchasing some prints to be autographed, “Hope you don’t mind but I’ve been wondering what you’d think about changing this one a bit, something like this.”

“That’s a cool idea, do it.”

“Uh… Okay great, thank you.”

*  *  *

About a year later I met with another artist Roni Falgout who blended the work, added her touches and pinned it to my skin.

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Kindness

Loneliness forms silently like layers of rust on an unused surface. What if kindness is an antidote to loneliness? Some sort of unintended return on a moment. An exchange of glances, a connection of eyes trading a gesture for an expression – causing a change.

Proof can be as slight as making another smile. Anonymous as packaging food for strangers who need or preparing a meal and joining hungry people. As lasting as giving an abandoned animal a new home. Quiet as standing by a friend whose luck changed. Sudden as showing up at a door that hides abuse. Strong as being a wall for momentary blocking and pushing off into a new direction.

The gift of kindness may not tip a permanent scale to be measured on some karmic score card but it might simply remove a layer.