Josh Dale

The Archaic Definition of Trepidation

City walker stride

and prairie dweller wonder

Ever notice

how you can go all day

without saying a word?

I have.

I am the Camus stranger

and disassociation is my neighbor

and the world is truly flat with modernity.


Ever notice the passing of the torch

with an insouciant glance?

No matter the distance between the presenters,

the transition occurs peacefully and within seconds.

Off my back, now onto yours.

Pass the demon around,

or maybe an angel,

personal preference decides the former,

even after the smoke fizzles into naught.


How many times must a person die and be reborn

to witness sublimity pure?

We die upon awakening,

are birthed upon slumber;

we die,

we birth,

we die,

we birth,

and the torch akin to virus

spreads without wary eye,

without prejudice,

without temptation breathing down the neck.


Is it better to be non-existent?

An abscess on the fury road,

at least that’s how you view it,

the subscriber to an endless cycle.

Decree the Nietzsche ode

and proclaim the pastoral is dead

through the smog, ash, putrid flesh.

It all can end with a car crash,

or better yet a meteor.

At least the latter will be instant.

But does the impact, truly feel sublime?

When all gaze upon calamity as one?


The truth, without.


The cycle, without.

Josh Dale holds a BA in English from Temple University and has been previously published or forthcoming in 48th Street Press, April Gloaming Publishing, Black Elephant Literary Magazine, SickLit, The Scarlet Leaf Review, Your One Phone Call, and others. If he’s not petting his rescue Bengal, Daisy, he is perfecting his stir-fry recipe, hunched over in the dark like an alchemist. He is the founder and current editor-in-chief of Thirty West Publishing House and Tilde: A Literary Journal.