“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


Panic. Noun or Verb?

Someone left some paint out in the rain.

The raccoons left this reminder.
It seems a perfect segue from the Omo people;
these footprints simple, plain,
the raccoons anything but.
Three of them stood at my front door last week,
under the porchlight,
the black night behind them,
staring into the house.
Had the door been open
they would have made themselves at home.

It is fall,
and this afternoon a cool front blew in
to remind me who's boss.
The wind was up tonight as I drove the streets,
leaves splashing against the windshield,
the dark arriving noticeably earlier;
there is not much daylight still out there
when I leave work.
Sometimes there is none.
Just the darkness greets me.

A melancholy day,
this day after a panic attack.

Let's talk about anxiety tonight, art tomorrow.
My anxiety disorder has lived with me since childhood,
keeping me "safe",
keeping me away from all those things
I really want,
all those things I want to do.
That scared little girl I brought into existence
to protect me,
who has outgrown her welcome,
but has no place else to go,
that scared girl with her shaking hands
on my soul.
I am exhausted with fighting her.
Sometimes she wins.

Last night she won a big round;
she thinks she's keeping me out of danger,
but she's keeping me out of life,
and I cannot convince her otherwise.
Remember?, she will whisper,
that time in the car?
You were 8 or 9?
You were trapped?
Yes, I reply, I remember.
And I feel it all again,
I feel it more now than then.
I must escape,
never mind from what,
it doesn't matter,
I just need out,
I just need out,
I just need out.
But I don't want out,
I want to stay in,
I want a life
that is not controlled by a memory,
just a memory, just a thought,
but I don't know how to win.
I spend hours fighting her,
giving in to her - do your worst, I say,
hours cajoling her,
sweet talking, crying,
knowing she will eventually go,
but terrified that maybe this time she won't.
She always does,
she has my best interest at heart,
or so she thinks.
I thank her for caring,
I tell her it's okay, I don't need her now,
but she doesn't believe me
and she stays.
I feel her footprints on my heart
and across my belly.
Waiting until the next time I want something.
please i don't need you anymore


  1. Beautifully written, and I so identify with what you shared.

    I only recently understood or rather discovered that I have buried my anger. In fact, I didn't even know I was angry for most of my life. I used words like frustrated or sad or irritated but never angry.

    Anger seemed like a dangerous word to me so much so that I buried it and denied it whenever asked if I was angry.

    I understand now that anger is not a 'bad' thing. I still tend to balk at the thought of being angry, but I'm getting better. Practice not perfection..right?!

  2. I never "saw" this in your art or writings. They are so...something,, humm

  3. I understand that little girl's need, but you are right in that it is time for her to go... I know, I know, mi amor, easier said than done... after all, mine is sitting in a corner waiting for me to make eye-contact...

    Big (((hugs))) to you, and sending you so much love I hope it will blindside your little girl long enough for you to close the door on her... at least for now.


  4. Press the snooze button the next time she shows up.
    A mudra, formed with index fingers touching thumbs....deeply breathing her into quietude. I think it can be done.
    Anxiety sucks the big Luigi.
    (I have it mildly. If there is such a thing as having it mildly.)

  5. the need to get out but only want to stay in....your words are like a song to me

  6. Even as you write about your pain, your fear, it is so deeply beautiful Debi. What an incredible insight...to see it as a child inside of you desperately trying to keep you safe.
    She is a part of you, and your dialogue with her is so profound.

    Can I hug you?


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