The Tale of Hatie Agora Hypochondriasis-Berger


Do you feel each illness is serious?
Are you fearful of a dire diagnosis?
Do you feel you are the subject of ill-fated destiny?
Are you a hypochondriac?

The Tale of Hatie Agora Hypochondriasis-Berger

An Interactive Poem

For Hatie every pimple was
Rancid boil-ing
Every cough was serious
Incurable pneumonia
Every doctor’s visit was a
Every breast lump
Was cancer.

A fact:
If Hatie Agora received a
Negative medical test
She believed the lab was in
No Question.

Anxiety and fear surrounded her especially assigned
Doom which
Followed Hatie all over her world
As Shadows.
She could not travel much as
A red light made her certain
A car would disobey
And smash her to smithereens
Crossing streets was downright
She stayed on one side

For Hatie Agora
A flowerpot
Perched on a ledge
Was certain to seek her out
On an usually calm blue-sky day
A wind would blow
The pot would fall
And Hatie would be rendered
For the rest of her life
No doubt about it.

From fear of disease
And bad luck
And birth name
Hatie Hypochondriasis-Berger
She was personally selected for tragedy.

She believed she possessed
A special quality
That set her apart from
The rank and file of
She was naturally selected for
And incontrovertibly pursued by

Hatie lived her life
Fleeing, suspicious, and anxious
Elevators were doomed to fall
Airplanes to explode by the
Most unlikely of passengers
Usually her seatmates.
How she hated air

Hatie Agora Hypochondriasis-Berger
Was named by her parents
Who witnessing her cowering in her
Basinet corner
Signatured her birth certificate to suit her
Infantile performance.
Afraid to even roll over
This infant never stretched to her full
26-inch length

When grown, Hatie
Never assumed her true
She lived her life
From cradle to imminent
Grave imaginings.

Angst ridden to
Sleeping with pills
Waking to sunshine
Yet expecting
Thunder and lightning
Hatie remained struck in a
Path preventing her

One day it
Came upon her in a revelation.

A vociferous reader
Huddled safely in a corner of her
Single bed—
She read the story of Narcissus
A lesson plan.

Poor Narcissus
Addicted to his reflection
Would drown in the pool of his
Chosen for self-love
By self-love
Poor flower was never to bloom but
Lost in water
Over his head.

Hatie hearing his dying cries
Prayed for her salvation from
This prayer made her
A goddess of anonymous challenges
From which she could fashion
A new life of probabilities

In a trance-like
Falling free
Hatie Agora so fated by
Birth name
Would change her nom de plummet
To reflect who she
Was now — not.

Legally done she became
Alice. Any Alice
To wear a blue gown*
And it fit perfectly.

Hatie left the shroud of Hades
To another who chose to wear
Black. So be it.

As Alice
She accepted the accidental
Digit of her protoplasm
And Chance ruled.
She wore blue as a talisman of the
Magic that transformed her
To Everywoman.
Expecting no special treatment
Leaving the island of Ill-fate
Fleeing a political prisoner
She was
Granted asylum in the land of
All bets were off.

Alice became a gambler
Tossing a die to land on
Just another one (1).
“Why me?” she said. “Why not me? Why not them?
Their plane, their elevator, their street crossing
Their flower pot
Or not.”

Alice, a.k.a. Hatie
Now saw herself as just another
Magic piece of cosmic dusting
Programmed for now.

Crossing rivers
She held up her hand
Stopping huge ocean liners and
Crossing seas on foot.
And Alice of Alices. Manifold.
Explorer. Adventurer. Alice Anonymous. Became
Just another alicious being in a world of not me.

* The hit song “Alice Blue Gown” premiered in the 1919 Broadway musical “Irene.”

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