This fear we call stress

Following the Road

by Larry Smith from A River Remains. © Word Tech Editions, 2006.


I have left my wife at the airport,

flying out to help our daughter

whose baby will not eat.

And I am driving on to Kent

to hear some poets read tonight.


I don’t know what to do with myself

when she leaves me like this.

An old friend has decided to

end our friendship. Another

is breaking it off with his wife.


I don’t know what to say

to any of this—Life’s hard.

And I say it aloud to myself,

Living is hard, and drive further

into the darkness, my headlights

only going so far.


I sense my own tense breath, this fear

we call stress, making it something else;

hiding from all that is real.


As I glide past Twin Lakes,

flat bodies of water under stars,

I hold the wheel gently, slowing my

body to the road, and know again that

this is just living, not a trauma

nor dying, but a lingering pain

reminding us that we are alive.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Rio says:

    I grew up with the slow groaning rafters of domestic despair, the only home I knew. But also with the lessons that it was rude to complain about anything. So things were, no matter how difficult, “not so bad”. Stress hadn’t been invented. Either you were alive and feeling it, and all the wordless sensation that leaned you towards any sort of “outburst” well that was just part of life; or you were dead and nobody would say anything bad about you.

  2. Rio says:

    Thank you! Yes I found it very interesting. Also the fact that she sees the loss of subjectivity (due to trauma) as generating “assumptions” of shared being. I have noticed the same thing but always considered it the falling away of obstruction, the opening of awareness, rather than another distortion of reality. Sitting at a blank wall for thirty years has not been traumatic but that could be argued. Hmm. I will have to try to find her books. 🙂

    1. Sigrun says:

      “Transit” is a sequel to “Outline”, but can also be read alone – personally I much prefer “Transit”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.