Posts Tagged ‘anger’

Meeting Anger

My little brother and I sat on the back porch steps,
huddled into the thin wisps of each other’s bodies,
weeping. Though there is no photo of this,
I see it as if it is framed. It is summer.
The house behind us is yellow.
We are wearing more skin than clothes,
and our arms are slender ribbons binding us.
Inside, our parents are shouting. I am five,
and it is the first time I have heard them fight.
I don’t know what the argument is about,
but their voices escape the walls on black wings
and circle my brother and me like bats.
Once the yellow walls are quiet again,
my mother finds us huddled on the stairs
and wraps her wide arms around us both.
I beg her, Please, don’t get a divorce.
She tells me when people shout
it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.
That is the first moment I understand
I do not understand anger.

It will be years before I am frightened to discover
all the black wings that roost inside me—
a cauldron of anger that colonizes in the dark.
It will be years before I learn to be more curious
than fearful. Years before I can hear the dark flutterings
and not shut down. Years before I can say to anger, thank you.
Years before I notice when anger arrives,
it always has something to teach me.

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A Tale of Two


            for C



I want

to hear

you, but

when you

shout, I

shut my

heart’s door,

lock my

ears. Now,

after two

loud days

shouting back

in lines

I’m glad

I never

sent, at

last I

find enough


to hear

you, but

not enough

trust to

give you

the key


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In the spaces between

the words I didn’t write,

there was a pour of poison.

A wall-full of bricks.

The barbs from a hundred hooks.

I almost forgot how in the writing

some of that poison would

slip into me, how I despise

a wall, how each hook

demands a bit of my blood.

I spent hours not writing it,

used up reams of thoughts.

It was a relief when the wind

blew away all the words

except these: I understand.

Those, it let me read again

before they, too, blew away

and I didn’t chase after them.

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On the hill,

the lilacs bloom each spring,

a fleeting purple offering.


Why do I walk to them

with a question

about anger?


Their perfume pulls me closer,

bids me step in, bids me

breathe more deeply,


and I do. For a while,

I forget my seething, forget everything

except the many flowered blooms.


For a while, all that matters

is that I am one who stands beside lilacs,

steeped in the lilac world.


It becomes who I am,

though I know it won’t last.

There, says the lilac.


There is your answer.








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how to erode

this growing wall of anger—

one breath at a time

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I’m not saying we shouldn’t be angry.

Anger seems reasonable. But perhaps

we will do what I’ve heard the Inuit do—

spend the emotion on walking, walk a line

until all the anger has left our bodies.

The moment the Inuit notice the anger is gone,

replaced, perhaps, by sadness or fear,

compassion or just a quietness,

they mark that spot with an object

to show the extent of their anger.

And perhaps, if we’re lucky, when we walk

this way, it will be a long enough walk

that we arrive at each other’s doors,

object in hand, and when the object

leaves our grip, we’ll be able to use our hands

to greet each other, touch each other’s faces,

point to the horizon to all the other places

we might choose to walk now together.

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One Thing to Do With a Fist




wrap it around

a bouquet of gold and orange calendula,

now offer it to someone else—

how easily their smile

opens your hand


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Despite Birdsong




In a cupboard

he opens often

he keeps a box

of resentment.

Something about

knowing it is there

makes him feel alive.


He touches the box

again and again,

lets the anger fill

whatever inside him

feels empty.


Hear it? Thumping

in him, pretending

it is a heart. It’s easy

to mistake.

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One Message from the Body



an old black coat I slip on

that no longer fits—

this anger

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That Dry Feeling




In his heads, he swirls

the dark loose leaves

of his thoughts,

lets them boil

and steep too long,

then offers the tea

to others to drink,

but it spills before

the tea reaches the cup,

and he fumes,

throws in more leaves.



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