Poetry is my protection

Poetry is my protection against terror.

It fortifies no wall but collapses the one

behind which I find myself cowering.


I’m embarrassed to find myself there.


Poetry is every word in the question,

What are you afraid of?


It leads me outside.

When fear comes it spreads like fire in the dry season

That brief sick hope of escape

is willing grass and the comeliest of tinder.

Where is the rock, the lake?

He’s wide-eyed in a glade

in a smoky wood.


He tries to piss it away, the dirty dream.

And succeeds. The dream isn’t the problem.


Where is your faith, man?

He thinks of all he’s afraid of,

of all the present and future threats.

He checks the clock. And prays. And twists

and turns.


A man’s a man, though a little slow

till he’s swift as smoke in Idaho.