POEM: Mask of the Introvert [PoMo Day 28 – Confessional]

I vibrate wariness 
at the approach of strangers,

and have a face within my
Janus repertoire 
that is labeled: "off-putting."

An approaching stranger,
having passed by those cues,
will -- at some point --
realize something is off,
as if I'm holding my breath
'til the conversation's end -
but not that, precisely
At any rate, 
they will yield to whatever it is,
in due time.
[Maybe, I seem contagiously itchy.]

Remarkably, I went decades
without realizing any of this.

To be fair, I never get a good look
at myself
at the moment I'm meeting a stranger.
[And, if I did, I wouldn't have the
brainpan bandwidth 
to do anything with the information.]

Now, I'm training myself
to behave elsewise,
but the score is still
50 years to 1.

POEM: Fear & the Snowflake [Day 24 NaPoMo: Confessional]

Reading about Audie Murphy vaccinated me with perspective.

Maybe you heard of him as a star of silver screen cowboy cinema.

He also received the Medal of Honor for single-handedly taking on a unit of Nazis from atop a burning tank after sending his men to the concealment of a forest.

But he was also known for stage fright and intense shyness. Once, asked to give a speech, he said he’d rather storm a Nazi machinegun position, and he should know.

That seems like a strange mix of fearlessness and fearfulness, but isn’t everyone’s?

I’m less afraid of giving a speech than I am of having to mingle with strangers at a cocktail party.

I’m less afraid of being punched in the face than I am of misspeaking. (Sadly, I have enough experience with both to say as much.)

I’m less afraid of dying than I am of being so incapacitated that I don’t have the option to wheel, crawl, or hobble my failing body off a cliff.

I’ve been found fearless by people mortified by hand-standing  or petting a strange dog.

I’ve been considered cowardly by masters of cocktail party mingling.

And they are both correct.

And they are both so wrong.