In the darkness,
A helpless scream.
It is loud; it jolts
jumbled and dangerous.
I stifle panic to help.

In the dawn,
A cheerful yelp.
It is loud; it pierces
frenetic and portentous.
I stifle panic to engage.

In the morn,
A vengeful yell.
It is loud; it seeks
maligned and lost.
I stifle panic to redirect.

As we warm,
A resentful resistance.
It is loud; it sprouts
truculent and bristly.
I stifle panic to push.

Come on.

As we leave,
A rueful screech.
We are loud; we fly
dynamic and unkempt.
I stifle panic to herd.

Come on, please.

As we arrive,
A mournful whine.
It is loud; it asks
uncertain and small.
I stifle panic to guide.

As we carry on,
A joyful cry.
It is loud; it leaps
wild and safe.
I relish smiles and luxuriate.

As we encounter,
A ferocious NO!
It is loud, it refuses
unfettered and rabid.
I stifle panic to offer.

As we collect,
A tired shout.
It is loud; it smears
certain and threatening.
I stifle exhaustion to resist.

As we circle,
A questioning cry.
It is loud; it rings
true and dangerous.
I stifle panic to answer.

As we meet,
A tired whimper.
It is denuded; it breathes
honest and sad.
I stifle nothing and give.

As we roam,
Angry shrieks.
They are loud; they battle
fierce and cruel.
I stifle panic and manage.

As we retreat,
Frustrated cries.
They are loud; they shrug
worn and empty
Among loud people cars businesses trucks people people people.
I stifle panic and do.

As we settle,
Many unmet needs SCREAM.
They are loud; they reach
jumbled frenetic maligned bristly dynamic uncertain wild rabid portentous dangerous sad fierce worn true.
I stifle panic and hold on.

As we ablute,
Nerves grate.
They are loud; they fray
raw and needy.
I stifle everything.

As we center,
Resistance eases.
They are softer.
They fade.
I release.

We all sleep.

15 thoughts on “Adrenaline

  1. I bow in humility. I can’t make sense of those cries– they just usually make my skin crawl. Adrenaline is right. Here’s my favorite line: we fly dynamic and unkempt.

    Happy poetry month to you!

    • Someone asked me, “Where is the adrenaline in the poem? You can’t title it that and not have adrenaline *in* there.”
      Dude, it’s in every breath I take. It all seems so perilous and fraught.
      It’s in there.

    • Thank you so much, Stacie. It’s the second poem I ever wrote, but yesterday just pulsed with fear and I had to understand why.

      The toddler loves to run down sidewalks until he’s just inches from the intersection and it TERRIFIES me. Then I realized the rest of the day does, too. The fighting, the running, the climbing soooo high, the new people.


  2. This whole thing resonated, but here’s what got me: We are loud; we fly
    dynamic and unkempt.

    Oh, my dear friend. I understand. And the stifling is what we feel we need to do in front of our kids, and it’s true, but I think it tatters our soul.

  3. This is only the second poem you’ve ever written? I’m impressed even if it’s the two hundredth and second poem you’ve written!

    I love its spiraling, yet forward progression, and I can relive my long (crazed) days with kids, as you move me through these lines.

    • Thank you. I realized in writing it why the end of the day seems like a lot more panic and a lot less keeping it together…the tension accumulates until I’m actually panicking that the day won’t end.

      Either I’m trying to hard or I’m put together weird.

  4. Huh. I never thought of it, but yeah, it’s an adrenal response, that panicky feeling that comes with your children screaming. Mostly it makes me feel as if my head will spin right off my neck, but that’s the adrenaline, I guess.

    • My first son’s cries, day or night, make me a giant adrenal gland. I was terrified from each cry that I wouldn’t resolve his needs. Of course I did. But I was just stressed a lot.

      Now it’s them banging on each other than spikes my fight or flight…one of my babies is hurt and one of my babies is going to be a sociopath if I don’t fix this behavior right now!

      A lot of exclamation points in my day.

      Couldn’t possibly be personality.

  5. “one of my babies is hurt and one of my babies is going to be a sociopath if I don’t fix this behavior right now”

    I have had this exact thought many times over the past six years. It started with power biting by beenie, and has come full circle with feather-weight boxing by mimi. Are siblings just wired to beat on each other? It seems so brutal and at the same time so primal and inevitable. They are fighting for the ultimate – parents approval and attention. A fight to the finish. YUCK!

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