Fear promises to be recognizable, concrete, like a boot or a gun. Instead fear becomes the sneak, creeping in via unknown or intangible routes, not recognized, not considered. Fear lies through its teeth (not sharp but a powerful grip), blinking baby blue in your face and saying: Honestly, did you really expect me to approach by the front door of your meagre anticipation?
Does the Big Bad Wolf really knock politely upon the one piggy portal that so happens to be neurotically and catastrophically reinforced, impregnable pork? Well, okay, Big Bad Wolf might knock once or twice simply out of a flare for the theatrical – but he will marshal a wind that does not weep at limits nor bow down to barriers.
How can a threat persist if it allows itself to be fixed in the imagination? Fear is always innocent. The wind is breathing, that is all; you are the one who is choking.
And I just hope that I can still hope because I am sickened by this dogged fear, this thugee night cult, this inflammation thrown up by the mind but refusing to be tied by my mind; this rash which slides, which runs, rips though my tissue and yet even at the point of symptom will evade detection. From bone to skin to the hair on my chinny-winwin, perhaps if I give my body? To be assassinated, then I shall at least know some limits.
Fear says nothing.
Why should fear say anything? It’s lived through illness before. It’s survived plagues, medical invagination, eugenic sterilizations, moral quests, crusades, and utopian vanguards. And nor does it respond to negotiation or sacrifice. But if I let you have the body?
Nothing. (Nothing for nothing, what is one expected to do with this jibbering elongation of dust?)
Nothing: will there be room for anything else in this flesh? Have I got space to breathe even? It seems I must build a bigger house. A stronger house. I will build a mud house, a wood house, a wattle and daub house, yes, a dirty protest to keep me warm and soon I shall build a strong stone tower and surely then I will be able to see fear coming.
Just keep breathing. Listen to the wind. As when the wind is still there is no wind, so fear only ceases when there is no fear.
Original first published in Inventory: losing, finding, collecting. Vol.5 No.1 2003