poetry fix: on string bikinis, hotel california & the fear of being forgotten

on 03-01-2012

I’m afraid it’s true  . . . fears {whether low-level heartbeat accelerators or full-on phobias} are  clever hobgoblins that can haunt us, taunt us, paralyze us and wreak MAD havoc in our lives. They pour through our subconscious and pounce.

I recently went on a phobia binge and devoured  lists of them  . . . everything from arachibutyrophobia {fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth} to Zemmiphobia-{fear of the great mole rat}. I know, I know – now you’re curious, right? Here’s a link to a plethora of phobias.

And then one phobia leapt out at me –  athazagoraphobia, the fear of being forgotten. The word banged around in my head for days, and then morphed into this poem.

 

athazagoraphobia {the fear of being forgotten}

 

truth

be told

I’m over it.

done

trying

to tie cherry stems with my tongue

wondering

if there’s really a hanged man on the cover of Hotel California

waiting

for the mattress police to appear when I tear off the tag

worrying

that someday this will all be forgotten.

 

Maybe I’ve been studying the wrong playbook all along?

Or did my intense focus distract me

from the most important signal of all

so I charged forward without realizing

there was nothing transparent

about how we moved on the field.

 

I shift into preservation mode

quicker than you  can  say

athazagoraphobia

determined

to reinvent the here and now

spin and twist what was

into what I need it to  be.

 

I’ve always been  a summer girl, after all.

Maybe if truth was

more  string bikini than scratchy wool sweater,

I might be more inclined

to try it on for size –

 

parade in front of mirrors

sashay into family barbecues

maybe even strut by him

unrecognized

the jolt of my

sheer vulnerability making him respond

with fevered curiosity.

 

His reflexes aren’t completely rusty.

An  Ivory Girl needs to feel understood?

Oh, he has a membership card for that.

 

He’ll even make time to show her Atlantic City

just so she can Tweet she’s been there.

 

If I stop  moving

he’ll consider getting closer, and I’ll wonder

if his skin still smells  the way I it did

when I’d wake in night’s quietest folds

just to  breathe him in.

 

He’ll struggle to remember

places I like his lips to land —

inside of wrists? eyelids?

And then athazagoraphobia

that word inside my head

will start to dissolve,

the way fears do when they know that  they’ve been beat.

There are things far worse than being forgotten.

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