I’m afraid

I’m afraid of oncoming trains and that feeling
right before a train approaches and the wind is all around you,
when you have no choice but to submit to the surge.

I’m afraid of death, but not like normal death.
I died in a dream and floated above myself
as an amorphous gas. It was strange and terrifying.

I’m afraid of heights, when you are forced
to see just how big everything is around you
and how little it all has to do with you.

I’m afraid that I can only give love to people
I know will hurt me. If the right kind of love
came into my life, I wonder if I’d be able to accept it.

I’m afraid that if I told someone that I love them,
they would think it was stupid — like the Valentines’ card
that just gets thrown away. I don’t want to be thrown away.

I’m afraid I wasn’t good enough for him, and that’s why
he didn’t love me anymore. Years of him telling me
that wasn’t the case haven’t put to rest this nagging idea.

I’m afraid of owning things, other than clothes.
The things you let into your life break or break you.
I’m still learning how to live with the things that are broken.

I’m afraid I attach too much self-worth to what other people
think of me. I hate that I always expect him not to call
and am surprised when he does.

I’m afraid I only see the worst in people
or that I expect too much out of them.
This is a metaphor for expecting too much of myself.

I’m afraid that my father and I will never get to a point
where being around him doesn’t make me want to cry
both for no reason and for every reason.

I’m afraid I can’t stop secretly wanting his approval,
no matter how much he hurts me.
I’m afraid this is a cliché.

I’m afraid that everything inside of me is unoriginal,
not worthy of saying out loud. Sometimes I don’t open my mouth
because I’m worried about what will come out if I do.

I’m afraid that I spend so much time trying to do
something that I’ll feel proud of when I’m older
that I forget to be happy right now, in the moment.

I’m afraid that my worry’s not worthy of sharing,
so when people ask me how I am, I say “fine”.
I wouldn’t be able to tell them what’s wrong.

I’m afraid that when people read this they’ll think
I’m another whiny, spoiled, self-conscious twenty-something
that just needs to lighten up and relax.

I worry that I haven’t even earned the right to be anxious,
because what do I even know about suffering?
This makes me want to cry, but I don’t remember how.

I’m afraid you didn’t read this or finish it,
or that it got lost in the shuffle of the billions of things
and that I gave away a part of myself for nothing.

I’m also afraid that you’ll know exactly how I feel, too,
because you feel these same things every day.
I’m afraid that I’m not alone.

(From 25 things I’m afraid of. Submitted by Angi Holden)

Step two

although the thought that we wasted
money, misplaced our trust and threw away
our time sickens us to no end, we must

accept these logic-defying feats of idiocy
as learning experiences; otherwise, we will walk
no further on the NAA no-path. We must

say it again and again,
we’ve been toe fooled, we’ve been toe fooled, we’ve been
toe fooled.

are we home yet, Shanti? This must become our
anti-mantra, a non-affirmation
affirmation capable of penetrating our ether-filled minds,

helping us to admit that Jesus.com has nothing to
do with Nostradamus. Now is the time when we must
learn to question every Tom, Dick and Guru who shops

in a health food store, see that the only implants in
need of removal were inserted by the most dangerous E.T.
of all: Earth’s very own Extortion Terrestrials.

this is a difficult task indeed, for only those who’ve put their
inner children to bed know the difference between retail
spirituality and spiritual retaliation.

(From 12 Steps For The Recovering New Ager. Submitted by Ana Prundaru)>

12 Reasons You are my Ex

1. Exacerbate: to make worse
2. Exact: to call for and obtain (“exact revenge”)
3. Exaggerate: to overemphasize or overstate
4. Exalt: to glorify or intensify
5. Examine: to inspect, investigate, or scrutinize
6. Exasperate: to aggravate or enrage
7. Excavate: to remove or expose by digging or as if by digging
8. Exceed: to be greater than or to go beyond a limit or normal boundary
9. Except: to keep out or to object
10. Excerpt: to take out or select, especially writing, for other use
11. Exchange: to trade
12. Excise: to remove by cutting or as if by cutting

From 90 Verbs Starting with “Ex-“, Daily Writing Tips. Submitted by Sean Wai Keung.

A hundred identical hooks

Believe the unbelievable
Love hurts

The end begins
Every second counts

Get carried away
Justice is coming

No guts, no glory
Assume the position

Evil rises
Looks can kill

Once upon a time
Unlock the secret

Revenge is coming
Love is a force of nature

Journey beyond your imagination
No body is safe

Fear thy neighbor
Break the silence

There is no substitute
Hold your breath

If looks could kill
Believe

A hero will rise
A love story

Love stings
Be careful what you wish for

Blood is thicker than water
The con is on

There is no escape
Lead us into temptation

Every family has a secret
Are you in or out?

This place is so dead
The time has come

The ultimate battle begins
Everything will change

Fight fire with fire
Escape is the only solution

Life happens when you least expect it
No one gets out alive

There’s one in all of us
Nothing is as simple as black and white

A comedy for the romantically challenged
The end is near

Take a stand
No soul is safe

Love thy neighbor
Join the party

Fear nothing, risk everything
How far would you go for a friend?

There’s one in every family
The boys are back in town

The journey begins
The hunt begins

They are coming
Legends never die

The real ghost story
Heaven help us

There’s only one way out
Get in the game

Heroes aren’t born, they’re made
Revenge is a dish best served cold

Let the mind games begin
Fight or die

Get some
Time is running out

Everything you’ve heard is true
Catch her if you can

Enter at your own risk
Get in, get out

Everybody has a secret
It’s time to take a stand

It’s her world, we’re just living in it
Careful what you wish for

A comedy to arouse your appetite
Everything comes full circle

Some secrets are better left buried
This might hurt a little

A legend never dies
You are what you eat

Feel the love
Are you game?

We’ve all been there
There are no clean getaways

There goes the neighborhood
Something wicked this way comes

The legend comes to life
Everything is connected

You can’t choose your family
Trust no one

There are two/three sides to every (love) story

A list of identical taglines for pairs of different movies in a blog post by Christophe Courtois. Submitted by Mark Dzula.

Why We Can’t See What’s Right in Front of Us

People tend to fixate on the common
use of an object. For example, the people on the Titanic

overlooked the possibility that the iceberg
could have been their lifeboat.

Newspapers from the time estimated the size of the iceberg
to be between 50-100 feet high and 200-400 feet long.

The Titanic was navigable for awhile
and could have pulled aside the iceberg.

Many people could have climbed aboard it to find
flat places to stay out of the water

for the four hours before help arrived.
Fixated on the fact that icebergs sink ships,

people overlooked the size and shape of the iceberg
(plus the fact that it would not sink).

From Why We Can’t See What’s Right in Front of Us, Tony McCaffrey, Harvard Business Review, 10 May 2012. Submitted by Emma Rae Lierley.

Stroke

In case you don’t know me, Hi. Im Diana.
I’m a 30 year old lady.
Itallerthan your average girl,
thinner tha your average girl,
and and active than your average girl.

Yeah I run an ice crea business for a living,
but like to thing
I’m healthier than your average girl too.
No priorn medical history. Nothing.

my first ever ride in an ambulance
was uneventful – the hops;ital
is a 5 minute drive from my folks’ house.

By now I had somehow regained some ability to sspeak
and answered the EMT’s incessant questionsining.
still stuumbling over my words,
even laughin at my mstakes.

(From Bad Year for Boars, an immediate account of suffering a stroke)

Deep Blue

To my shame, I prefer playing chess
against a computer than a human opponent.
It’s less risky. There is no shame
in defeat. Cheating is not unethical.
Attention to it can be sporadic.
You can simply suspend
a game or start over if
you think you are going to lose.
Even when I am beaten soundly by
a computer opponent, I don’t feel
outwitted; instead I take away a
feeling that my thinking has not become
sufficiently machine-like to compete,
which is more reassuring than anything else.
I get the gratifying feeling
that being lousy at chess is
a mark of my indelible humanity.
This despite the fact that I
am playing computer chess because
I can’t bear the pressure of human interaction.

Taken from En Passant, a blog post published by The New Enquiry, 27th July 2013. Submitted by Marika.

What Goes Wrong With Poems

Tom once told me
a poem had to capture
his attention
in the first four lines.

Or perhaps it wasn’t four.
Perhaps it was within
the first twenty words.
Or perhaps I can’t remember
precisely what he said
and am wilfully recreating
the memory.

But I am sure he spoke
about our shared expectation
that poetry (Poetry),
that finest form of writing,

should do something
dynamic early on.

(From What goes wrong with poems. Submitted by Angi Holden)