Dread. It's become ubiquitous. Although tomorrow is my birthday, it's not dread of getting older. Rather, dread of pain, of loss, of suffering, of random attack, of war.
Dread is overriding, the modern American posture. An attitude. Dread takes off, takes over, pursues from behind. Dread stalks, like the mugger waiting in the shadows, the terrorist on the train platform with a bomb in his backpack.
In our collective imaginations we are only moments from running, from racing away from the thief, the plastique, the shrapnel, the fire, the chemicals -- three hundred million variations on the young Vietnamese girl in the photograph. She is fleeing, arms flailing, mouth wide in a silent scream.
Dread is the post-millennial soundtrack; we are dancing to its tune like drunks in a bar, a bully shooting bullets at our feet.