Monday, May 16, 2005


I fell asleep on a friend's couch watching bicycles circle on the screen. I think I dreamed of spinning. It rained when I walked home alone. I wore my pink dress over jeans.

I've been thinking about fear, about the idea that it saves you.

I also think it tells you where to go with writing, like: not this path, not this man as much as: not that phrase again. For years I told my students to write about what scares them, getting back poems of alcoholism and plane crashes and hairstyles and dark. All the while I have forgotten being nineteen, in my overalls and velvet shirt again, bringing a poem about my hearing loss to workshop. I squirmed in the front row, trying hard to vanish, leaving only my red sneakers behind. I would read it out loud and everyone would know.

I forgot what that was like.

Somewhere between here and then, poems became not scary, and not hard enough, quite approachable, actually, once you got to know them, with their downcast eyes and black T-shirts.
What am I afraid of now? Now the curser taps at chapter twelve?

That I will never finish. That I will finish and it will be horrible. Or, no one will like it. Or, worse of all, no one will read it. I am afraid of not making sense. I am afraid of making too much sense.

I am taking her hand, and walking down the steps to the basement with its webs and its jars and its swinging broken bulb. And at the bottom, she lets go.