Posts Tagged ‘anger’


When anger enters your body
and swells in you, expands in you
until you don’t fit inside your skin,

when fear enters me
and grows like a virulent weed,
its new shoots propagating
with alarming speed until
its tendrils escape through my throat,

when our voices escalate
to try to express in volume
how big our feelings have become,

then I want to meet you outside
in the center of the meadow
where we are humbled
by the ponderosa pine that stretches skyward,
dwarfed by the red mesa walls,
held by the crystalline airiness.

I want to remember in my body
this capaciousness, this generosity,
so that when I am not standing in the meadow
but in our kitchen or on a street corner
or watching the news,
I can remember the meadow with my whole being,
can remember the scale of sky and stars
and the vast reaches
of the ever-growing universe.

I want to hold you with that kind of openness,
want to relax into knowing we are held together
by the same forces that hold the constellations.
Imagine us all together now—comets, supernovas,
your anger, my fear, and all those countless suns.

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For years, I have run
from this anger.
Tonight I stopped running,
let the anger catch me,
let it burn in me,
a wild conflagration,
it terrified me,
and then I watched it leave.
For the first time in years,
I am not running.
How still it is.
Whatever has turned to ash
was not essential.
What is left is so raw,
so beautiful.

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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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