cowardice

so much sheer terror
within me, of Life itself
— human discourse trades
shamelessly in denial —
I befriend my fears alone

This has turned out more or less exactly the poem I wanted to write. I was inspired by dreaming of Dina Lecache, the girl I met in Israel in 1983. She was one of my many romantic failures, but one of the ones I loved the best. I suppose from there, I fell to thinking of how I failed in a more general way as a young man, to grasp life’s opportunities. I never plunged in but always held back. I was frankly scared. Having that kind of past puts a weird strain on existing in the present. Although I feel different, I suspect myself of being still at heart the coward I always was. And how many other cowards are there, out there? We wouldn’t know, because we sustain our social relationships on (what seems to me very largely fictional) courage.

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