On Anger

I recently wrote a bus story about a teenage girl who gets with a middle-aged bus driver. It is what you think. And it isn’t. At one point the main character Renee says, “Sometimes anger is a girl’s best friend.” It’s been swirling in my head lately, that line. Anger is the hardest emotion for me to feel. It usually turns into sadness before it even has a chance to touch air. I let it feed on me from the inside. I’ve made progress. I don’t get sad nearly as much as I used to. I’ve learned to let feelings rise and then move through me because I know they need to travel to the other side. Growing up I never learned how to express my anger so I think much of my adult life has been spent coaxing it out, making it safe. An entirely different thing from growing up surrounded by anger and learning it as the default reaction for anything disagreeable, but still along the same spectrum of self-destruction. Just maybe on opposite ends. It’s a trip, but when I can allow myself to feel angry at someone, it’s usually a sign that I trust them. It’s a sign of possibility. Watch out.
(The anger I’m speaking of is not anger at social injustices, which I don’t have a problem tapping into.)

Years ago when I hadn’t figured any of this out yet, an ex-boyfriend of mine did something precious. I was angry one night. I can’t even remember what it was about. But I didn’t know what to do. I thought I might explode. I thought I might try to drink myself numb.

That night you went through the recycling
pulled out all the glass bottles and grabbed
my hand. You wouldn’t say where we were
going, just drove towards the train yard
in the dark. We stood out on the tracks
metal vibrating beneath our soles.You handed
me the first bottle from the crate and turned
to face the red brick wall. Throw it.
Throw it so hard it shatters.

I hurled the bottle by its neck
watched it fly towards
the wall by the force
of my own motion.
Better than careful words
Better than merciful prayers
Better than song
My fist
the sound
of impact
be put

I stand
weight balanced
itching to throw another.
I am already
enjoying my sore
shoulder in the morning.
You stand
beside me
passing the next bottle
until I empty
this crate.


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Filed under childhood memories, friends, love, poetry, solidarity

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