Midst of the Gale

It drains us, the cruelty
Prejudice seeping up from
Under stacks of paper
Compassion folded tight
Into a wallet, & squashed

Exhausted tears cannot
Sustain life; we lean heavily
Against each other’s shoulders
Palms in an island tempest
Grown weary
Grown suspicious

A plague gnaws the very land
Our trunks anchor to
Without it,
Where can we go?

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Child

I spy anger in the sharp of her eyes
and the flash of tongue over teeth.
She sinks, thumbs plastic cusp of cup
and growls a deep theatric moan.

I know her mind’s still wild. Her child brain
hides black desires and fragile dreams
from our adult eyes. We pry.

She says she wants to be a vet. She wants
to rescue horses, save pets from fevers
and wrap wailing puppies in blankets.

She doesn’t yet know chemistry labs,
love rolled up in sex, the sting of
the first swallow with your so-called friends.
Of Mom’s secret shelves and Dad of the past.

Now she has the trouble of finding
a bus buddy. Of spelling C-L-O-S-E
and writing a’s, circle first.

She’s angry and it pulls at me-
the urge to grab her straw blonde head
and kiss the silky dirty hair in disarray.
She’s angry and for that I love her.

Just a Dream

I dreamt of you last night
and awoke today with the crashing
waves of anger turning me white-hot
Your words still spilling
from that deep charred place
Me bitter like black coffee,
rousing myself heavy from bed
jaw sore from grinding, gnashing

Unsure if I want to dissolve
or combust; slip back to sleep
or sprint to the moon

It’s just a dream, I have to breathe
I have to remember
and let go
and stop
hoping
you’ll
call

“Best Friend”

A simple tea time set for two
But china shattered, patterns blue
Their faces fall and smiles droop
Such angry, desperate hands on you

Fixing faults and sewing scars
Scrambling now to mask the harm
Begging for her, grasping arms
Cold voice at night cries in alarm

Too ill or bitter to understand
Love doesn’t form in violent hands
Trust won’t spring from vicious lands
Your best friend, lost to time’s red sand

If madness screams

The sun lays its weary body down along the land,
brushing trees pink. You are watching it sleep
but you will not sleep tonight until you are nice
and liquored up, inhaling in earnest from a pipe and
blowing the melancholy scent out the crack in the window.

It’s not late.

But with the creeping cloak of night comes an old ache,
buried in the flesh beneath your ribs, like a stubborn
internal bruise, radiating through your spine:
a dark metallic current come to stun each lobe of your brain,
separately, into submission. Obey. A scream welling up
from your pelvis, one that will never be heard. Because
if madness screams inside your skin, and no one else is around,
does it make a sound? Learn not to show it; you can quench this.

You can quiet the demons in other ways.

You can run through the cold city like your sneakers are ablaze.
You can cast emotion onto a canvas or splay it across a keyboard.
You can grope for meaning, hope God takes your outstretched hand.
You can eat pharmacy candy for every meal, wash it down with gin.
You can trust a quiet greying woman with a clipboard and a sofa.

But the ache will persist throughout the night.

Why Anger?

There is a muted acceptance for me today, in the boiling sun. I recognize that life will not always pan out according to the way I’ve planned. I realize that we can all utterly break down at any moment, and cease to work, just like any old kitchen appliance. In this way we are the same; we all die.

But there is another way to see it. We can make the choice to see others as vast and meaningful. Every person is a collection of thoughts and experiences, love and loss. We are more similar than we are different.

I can reach out, willing to listen and accept, or I can retreat to hibernate under my covers until I feel brave and confident. But that day may never come, or I will convince myself of this. There are the easy things, and there are the right things.

There are also a lot of silly words that get in the way, and many unkind thoughts. I’m tired of gritting my teeth and grinding my jaw. I must face what I feel.

They say that depression is anger turned inward. Turning it inside out is difficult, and I can’t justify hurting another person in the ways I’ve injured myself. I have to treat them with kindness, not just with overt actions, but with caring thoughts.

I see the irony here.

Being a rebel without a cause doesn’t appeal to me. I have no vengeance on this world; I only want its forgiveness and to make the right choices from now on.

Why anger? Sadness was easier. Sadness is easier for me to gather inside my chest and appreciate the weight. Anger plows straight through my most sensible thoughts.

Why anger, when people have told me they could never picture me being angry?
You’re so mellow.

I could wish for this burden to lift, but I know confronting it will benefit me in the long run. We are always capable of more than we realize.