“Fear of Missing Out,” “Inscrutable” and “Grace”

Photo by Abhinav Arya on Unsplash

Fear of Missing Out

in a deliberate silence, there are no words really,

except those you might expect,

describing what you’re hearing to yourself.

to me they’re describing the winter white noise:

radiators, cars idling outside,

the steady crunch of winter boots

and muffled tires rolling over snow

even a bird huddled against your window

is quieter,

humbled, with something deep inside

compelling her to stay

while the other birds leave

but what then if instinct

can not console the mind?

humans know, all fear is fomo

only what is missed changes


If mind is empty like the sky,

no way to know. No one there to observe.

Still, I’m a channel, receptive. I listen and wake

and walk where it’s safe to walk.

There is no way out but that through which

the fire will push me. The fire is a river

and there is no river without me,

and once I am gone, the fire never was.

Bodies are reference points.

Experiences, not borders.

I’m a dream overtaken, a coastline receding,

unmeasurable. A damsel, inscrutable.

The radiator static rises and falls

as some small torrents reach the shore.


Once everyone is through the trap door, the night will

have its way with you.

It superconducts a cacophony. Alarms, yelps, honking

horns and barking dogs. Garbage cans getting knocked over.

The tumbling rock of night is a broadcast, unhinged from the light.

Nothing else can make sense now but satin & sin.

I feel it before I hear it, and so do you.

Up on the mountain, many years ago,

holding a closed book,

I felt the click (before I heard it).

I felt the travelers pass through.

I organized the shelves and set the table. Many ate.

A cold wind makes the late hours frantic.

But we have nothing to worry about; this life is not ours.

About the Author

J.E. O'Leary

J.E. O'Leary is a poet, musician, and visual artist from NYC. For over 20 years, he has been bringing his words and music to NYC’s stages, festivals, subway platforms, and gallery walls. His latest poetry collection, What a Future, was released December 2020. His writing and music can be found at sunshineandwind.com.