on anger

I’ve been reading some of the blogging on anger lately, that started with burning bird’s post on the subject, and continued through the (fairly intense) discussion – plus what Dave Rogers had to say, and some of Dorothea’s thoughts (as usual, stavros borders on the truly absurd). and I’ve been trying to put my own thoughts together….

C and I are essentially two sides of the coin when it comes to anger. anger, or at least its expression, come pretty easily to him – he gets riled up by the world: politics, society, the idiot in the other car, while I tend to be pretty fatalistic. more than that – anger and its emotional neighbor conflict make me deeply, deeply anxious. much of what Dorothea said resonated with me, not just the entry linked above, but also this entry on “the deprecatory self”. The last piece of the puzzle is my desperate fear of interpersonal conflict. yeah, what she said.

but being angry has only rarely jounced me out of intolerable situations, and I’ve been in a few. no matter how mad I got when I was at UWPC, I never had the strength of character, or faith in myself, or whatever, to follow through on that emotion, to express how f*ed up that scene was (or the museum before that, or various other situations). I’ve also seen people who were angry, who expressed a lot of anger, flail around in those situations and not get anywhere – storm out, sometimes getting what they wanted, sometimes not.

ugh. I’m totally incoherent talking about anger – it seem essential to me that one pull apart anger as the desire to rectify a bad situation, anger as rage, fear, frustration, anger in its expression(s), anger turned inward (now, self-loathing I can talk about!), etc., etc. those emotions I can express much better with poetry than with prose.

and I remember showing Kat the portfolio that I put together at the end of my advanced poetry course, and she read it, and said “I never knew you felt that way about ….” I think K said the same thing. that’s really the difficult thing for me, in social settings – I have these emotions that make me uncomfortable: anger, hurt, embarrassment, despair, hate – and I don’t express them, except in poetic modes. (and not even there so much lately – it’s been a bad year for writing, except in this venue.)

the rational woman speaks
in her dictionary-precise
all-dressed-up-for-company voice

I still remember the day that voice split open
and the words poured out
shattered on the rocks of my

you said you wanted to understand
I heard you ask me to speak
in textbook-perfect language
to dissect my own insides
draw the diagram and say
this is my treachery:
just below the pancreas
formed by an absence
of vitamin R

your fists screamed the language
of fists and tears and all I wanted to
say was – now you are learning
my mother tongue

(summer 1996)