I’m not bothered by snakes or spiders.
I love climbing trees and exploring caves.
Public speaking excites some minor anxiety
but much less than an invitation to a party.

No, I’m afraid of an empty inbox, of a phone
that never chimes. I fear greeting a friend
and receiving in return the polite stare
of a stranger. I fear being forgotten.

I’ve made my peace with dying alone.
I’d rather end it all with some dignity.
I’m just afraid that I’ll disappear a piece
at a time and no one will notice.

It’s why I post my poetry for the world to read,
in the fool’s hope of leaving some stray memory.

(For today’s prompt, write a fear poem.)

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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31 Responses to Athazagoraphobia

  1. Sarah E Barker says:

    So Sad

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ali Grimshaw says:

    I believe that all humans seek connection in some form. It seems like poetry is one way you connect.
    I hear the loneliness in this and am grateful that you can express it in words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ali! Poetry allows me to connect with more people than any other aspect of my life these days. I can’t imagine what being a poet would’ve been like 100 years ago when we had to do everything by mail.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. JeanMarie says:

    powerful. I relate to this one. stop it,.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. JeanMarie says:

    A deep well that I relate to

    Liked by 2 people

  5. anitashope says:

    A fear that most of us face…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Michele Lee says:

    Honest and vulnerable writing. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Silent Singer says:


    Liked by 1 person

  8. thelongview says:

    Poignant. I write to connect with others too, but I wouldn’t call it fear. More like a yearning.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. kristin says:

    Moving and relatable. These days I connect through my blogs more than in the real world.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. berniebell1955 says:

    My lord Bart – you pull the guts out of things.

    I’m not so bothered about being forgotten when I’m dead – what I don’t like is being forgotten – or ignored – now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Puling the guts out of things seems like a bad thing but I think that’s what a poet is supposed to do.


    • berniebell1955 says:

      I wrote that on impulse – then realised that it could send a confusing message.

      It’s something to do with your poem being visceral – getting right into the core of a person – their brain – their heart – their guts.

      Then you bring out what’s in there, and place it in front of the world – something like that.

      Years ago I wrote a short poem for a friend who wrote poetry, which began ‘He gives himself away you know’ – and he did, in his poetry. I gave him the poem – didn’t keep a copy – and now that’s all I can remember of it. That’s what Marty did – gave himself away – laid himself bare to the world.

      Marty wrote ‘The Great Mosquito Migration’…..

      And Wendy …wrote this…


      Poetry is terribly personal,
      Invites people to ‘look inside’,
      This is how I perceive what surrounds me,
      How I live, what I love, why I cried.

      It’s risky, sometimes, to be open,
      Court ridicule, pity or contempt.
      But it comes, all the same, from within me,
      Bursting out, whatever my intent.

      And it hurts, now and then, in the making,
      Then it grows and takes on its own form,
      And I wonder just where did it come from,
      Then I’m proud of this new thing, I’ve borne.

      Wendy Alford July 2006

      I’m fortunate in the people I know, and have known.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. berniebell1955 says:

    And I’d just started a piece for m’blog, with the words….

    “Sometimes I feel as though my life is falling away from me. I’m less and less able to do things, and there are less things that I’d want to take part in.”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Bridgette says:

    We all want to be remembered. It’s why I keep writing too-to leave behind little pieces of myself. <<>>

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Heidi-Marie says:

    Writing, like music, gives us a semblance of immortality. Shakespeare and Beethoven will always be remembered for all time!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Susi Bocks says:

    They say nothing gets lost on the internet. :) But I understand. We want to be known.

    Liked by 1 person

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