“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.