Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Anxiety encountered on being greeted by a person who you do not recognise: a poem

They’re the ones that you meet in the bus or the train or the tram or the park or the street
You don’t know that they know you but they do and they say your name and casually greet
And before you remember the name you’ve forgotten, or even to just say hello,
Or to greet them in kind with a casual greeting, they vanish, they absent, they go;
And you stand staring after wherever it is that whoever it was just went to and try
To think of their name, and you think that you think that it starts with a letter like I –
Or maybe a letter between Q W and B, or maybe a C,
But then maybe it sounds like ‘Abecedarian’, or maybe you just call them ‘Zee’;
But you can’t place a name to the face, or a face to the name, or in your case
You can’t even and either place a name to the name or a face to the face
Or the one to the one or the other the other, or the one to the other;
Or you don’t recognise them, but you think that you know their mother.

And anyway, who are these people who think that they know you, and greet you and just disappear?
Do they greet you by name as some sick kind of game just to play on your paranoid fears?
Do they call random names until someone looks up and they know that they have scored a hit,
As they notch up their scores in a little red book, having scared someone out of their wits?
Do they hover in crowds like KGB spies, just waiting to single you out,
As they thrive on your misery, terror, anxiety, horror, neurosis, and doubt?
Is it fair for them, really, to blithely pronounce (without your permission) your title?
I mean some kind of licence, or written consent, would definitely seem to be vital.
Because saying a name implies a relation that somehow you cannot recall,
Struck up in a bar that you cannot remember because maybe it’s not there at all:
Some distant location, some strange conversation, sometime, somewhere, on some other occasion –
Is this really a real relation, or just an odd kind of hallucination?
And if people you definitely don’t know can know you, perhaps they don’t really exist -
Or maybe you cannot recall when you met them because at the time you were pissed.

(And names? What’s a name? Should we have names at all? They should make naming people a crime –
Because people who don’t really know other people call them by their names all the time.
The world without names would be peaceful and happy and full of anonymous bliss,
And it’s only when parents give babies their names that babies start going amiss.)

And if they know your name then what else do they know? Your fetish for pink underwear?
Your fears about scones? Your feelings for dogs? Your thoughts about red pubic hair?
And just what do they know that you don’t know they know, or what don’t they know about you?
And just who do (whoever they are) think they are really? Who do they think they are? Who?


forlorn said...

Perhaps they read the blog?

And now they know about your anxiety they have the upper hand!

TimT said...

You bastards! *Shakes fist melodramatically* I'll get you next time!

Email: timhtrain - at -

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