Rage     

RageJoe Nasta
00:00 / 16:40

It seems I feel simply.  Rage.

But what can I say?

I am not in a fit of it now.  

I am in the calm, the calm

 

before.  I swear I do feel rage.  

There’s so much and nothing left 

worth saying.  

Simply, I feel rage

 

and it groans in my stomach like flame.

I can’t hear anything else.  So  simple,

and yet not at all.  What else can I say?

I am not feeling it now.  I am not feeling

 

I am not feeling. Inevitable.  Inev-

itable.  In even this 

moment, still. I know 

I feel this rage simply 

 

there is nothing

closed or opening,

breaking.

 

There is nothing.

There is nothing.

I am sitting here

what else is there to say?

 

I rage. I rage

so simply I slip in and out, and that ship

hasn’t even crossed my sliver of vision.

Too quick to follow.  I am so tired of lust.

 

I want this poem to be about rage.

Is this a poem? This is a poem if

I say it’s a poem. Is this a

poem? It is if I say. Is this?

 

It is, It is. Poems don’t need to burst

into flame. I want to write rain runoff,

a downward sloping hill, words falling

along the natural curve of Cherry Street

 

and dousing themselves in the Bay. 

Not every moment can burn. Some

times pass indefinitely. I am unable

to say how long one thought     takes

 

or how much of life is lost     to slow 

thinking. How many     minutes off 

my life     lost like minutes 

for each cigarette or one too many 

 

well     anything. Who has time to pay

attention? Let me breathe and think. 

I’ve gotten good at absolutely nothing,     at

being nowhere.     When I was younger 

 

my only hobby was sitting     still. 

How to say, how to say     still. 

I don’t have to explain anything to you. 

You know, you know     but let me be. 

 

The concrete is coarse on my inner wrists,

the edge of the step rounded. 

I do forget all of what the world feels     like

whenever I don’t want to be here any more

 

but you     you     I know life & words

do flame up     and now a gust of wind.

 

 

I wish I could write anything about rage

but I can only write about wanting

things I will never have, since things

in the past can’t be changed or given

 

back to anyone least of all me

who already has so much

but then I am lit

uncontrollably 

 

and I rage I rage 

until I can’t remember

why or how, or where I was

going with my smoky breath

 

and this poem.  I wish I could write

anything about rage, but I can’t

so instead I am writing these unwieldy words.

Maybe they’ll be about rage.  Maybe it’s nothing.

 

I am sitting alone and inevitable in the late afternoon, 

at the top of the steps of the hill on Cherry Street

where I like to sit, where I am sitting now, again, 

alone and watching a containership drag itself 

 

across the bay that reminds me why I do sit 

here on the grey days: the water.

I have written it before and I will now, again:

the water.  I can see it from the corner

 

of every single block in this neighborhood

and it makes me feel “less alone,”

although, again, I am inevitably always.

This may actually be the last time for a while.

 

I am moving away from here in seven days.

I want, I do, to be filled by this.  Rage.

But I don’t feel anything now, except “less alone.”

Can I write and not feel “less alone?”

 

 

Where to begin but I am writing.

I am sitting.  I am writing.  I won’t 

address the poem to anyone. I’m

done with playing games with words.

 

This poem is addressed to only me.

I’ve done the research & all that’s left

is to make myself do it.  Release 

myself onto the page.  I no longer want

 

to be alive.  Being human is canceled.

Live in books, words, pages, ink.

Skin covered tomes.  Meat emptied

of soul and filled with rage.

 

I won’t make meaning.  I won’t explain

to you, the reader-me, the feeling-me.

You feel me.  Take it all and shove it.

I don’t owe you anything.  I banish you.

 

Maybe I am angry, maybe I am just

a human being—aren’t we all feeling

something stronger all the time?

The two of us though, who feels

 

anything all the time?  A special

skill, to be no one.  Take it all

& shove it.  Maybe I am angry 

& maybe there are reasons why

 

but take it all.  I don’t want 

want a body, this body.  Our body

body.  I know know this body

mine and yours.  I don’t want.

 

I know know you you are you are

mine but I don’t want.  Take it all

& shove it.  Angry, take it all.

Angry loving joy ecstatic take it.

 

I am sitting very still.  Shall I return

this to the body?  The sun has made me

warm so a drop of sweat is irritating

my left eye.  I won’t stop writing

to wipe it.  All I have, this nothing

on the page.  For you, for you. Body.

You’re not afraid yet but I won’t stop

until I feel the poem ripping you out

 

onto

the page the page the page

I wish I wish I wish

      the page I wish I wish

 

 

 

 

Power 1
Power 2
Boys 1 rear view
Still from Roses video series

There are no anger disorders in the DSM.

I know this because I’ve looked it up.

I told you, I did my research for the poem

and all that’s left is to write it.  

 

Thank you Wikipedia. Thank you, procrast-

nation.  I wanted to know so many things.

I wanted to know the medical definitions

of rage.  There isn’t even one.  I wanted

 

to put it in this poem to prove my point

even though I have no idea what I’m trying

to say.  Is it this—what I’m feeling in this moment?

I haven’t seen a psychiatrist since high school

 

when I went off my medication.

I haven’t seen a psychiatrist who trusted

what I was saying.  I’ve never spoken

about rage with my therapist.  He says

 

things like “you’re the most traumatized

client I’ve ever seen” and “your life is so

interesting.”  He is a straight man who calls

his girlfriend partner and makes generalizations.

 

I told him last Wednesday I didn’t feel well 

but it could be worse.  He scrunched his face

and said “ew.”  I’ve never used the word rage

in his office.  He’s only helpful sometimes.

 

I’ve started using Grindr again 

for the first time in years.  Before, I called myself

an addict and went to meetings, but not for sex.

For the feeling of falling into a body.  Not caring

 

about them as much as they do about me.  I’m

an asshole.  I’m only attracted to people if they’re

wild about me.  I imagine it.  I imagine it wrong.

(I’d be less honest if this poem were written

 

to somebody else, but again I remind you,

dear reader, you live inside this body with me.

Can you hear me?  Is it you, better half?

Are we the same?) I’m sitting here, we’re sitting here.

 

That ship is gone finally from our sliver of the water

and I don’t know what to look at.  How beautiful

today is despite the wind.  I can look at anything:

the weeds in the sidewalk cracks, the one split

 

in the white concrete, the mountains painted

onto the pillars holding the highway up.  

But moving things are easier to focus on.

I’ve spent too much time with my eyes roaming.

 

That beige minivan, vomit-green Toyota Tacoma,

mauve Honda Civic passing on the highway are too quick

and people, well.  I’ve already spent too much

time watching people and here we are.

 

 

 

 

still from Sunflower video series

ha ha imagine being so pethetic &

lost in ugly feelings that you sit down

to write in the middle of a spring after-

noon, the birds chirping but not seen,

 

the sun at its highest, all those changes

you craved coming finally :: imagine

sitting down and forcing yrself to write

write about write about rage :: do you even

 

know what rage is?  And are you angry?

I’m either angry or always simmering, that irr-

itation under my skin what is it what is it?

you you you and so I say get out

 

of me get out of me.  The cherry blossoms

(is that what the street’s named after)   the mornings

after I loved him You loved the mornings

after when we walked him back to his car & the wind-

 

shield was covered in pink petals that whole spring.

When he left me I was so angry but not in bursts of rage.

You were in one long I could no longer irr-

itation and was that love or hate? Get out get out

 

 

 

 

 

The birds bother me because I can’t see

them, their small noises.  A joke on twitter

is going around that when we hear their

singing, say beautiful, those birds are only

 

trying to fuck.  What an urge, wanting things,

to stay alive, to keep being alive, to make

something out of ourselves: the birds smaller

versions of birds and us, well, just

 

a whole version.  Fuck those birds and their chirp-

ing will to live. They bother me because I can’t see

them but I can’t tune them out.  The longer

I sit here the louder the

 

louder the birds get the loud-

er the birds get sitting sitting still.

And I’m so angry again at nothing.

And it’s not the birds I’m mad at.

 

You know, you know, you know.

I want to make something out of ourself.

I want to make something out of nothing,

piece ourself together broken egg

 

shell. Where’s the snake? Eat

the yolk. If we find those birds their nest

you’ll eat the yolk.  Crack each egg

smaller versions of birds smaller versions

 

of birds.  What an urge, destruction.

Where does any urge come from?

Living, creating, being alone, sitting,

hillsides, the water.  Where do the birds

 

come from? Breaking breaking shells eat-

ing birds         piec         ing together wondering

where did the bird go where did the bird

go and when did they stop making their sounds?

 

It is good to not see them, then.  I’ll just

keep sitting and being bothered.  Listening.

Being “present.” Oh, in the tree there, the sun hit

them. A blue one looks me in the eye to ask

 

“Isn’t it a beautiful day?” and “Wanna fuck, wan-

na fuck, wanna fuck?”  I stare at the point of his beak

and answer, “No, blue bird. No, I don’t but thank you 

for seeing me.  And yes, what a beautiful day.” 

 

I mean, what is it with men thinking.

I mean, what is it with men feeling

entitled.  I mean what is it with men

thinking they own any body they want.

 

So what, rejection? It can’t be, I can’t be

you.  I won’t be you. You, you.  I write

poems to you, hidden.  I wrote twenty-eight

pages addressed to somebody else

 

but they weren’t really.  I’m only ever writ-

ing to you, these pieces, teeth and nails

bared         I want, I want

you say but no, stop wanting.

 

I am not a man. But what if all I know is

man? I want, I want.  I mean, what is it

with men & wanting but not knowing how?

I am not a man. So what, rejection?

 

It’s 2018 and I want to be a bird.

I never lived inside this body.

I did always stare into space.

You know, you know and I know

 

you’re only trying to protect me,

these pieces. The skin of my wrists

and my toe bones.  I am hollow

and you are strong. What is natural

 

but coping. We vibrate, shaking

our body apart. I’ll be honest again,

we did nothing but sit in the dark

and look out for years

 

seeing nothing seeing nothing

how did we survive how did we

survive how as if we weren’t

even 

 

But what if all I know is

not being not being sitting sitting still

inevitable inevitable I don’t want

                        hate

 

I know you you my body me

but I don’t see me in you any more

(and the birds wanna fuck, wanna?)

fuck I’m sorry, I’m sorry

 

I’m sitting here, you’re sitting here.

I am not a man.  You are not a man.

We are only the things we thought 

we should be.  Let me write this now,

 

we can be anything.  Let me write this

now, living is so much more than words.

I am going to write this now for you,

we never have to be angry again.

 

 

 

 

I did ask too many questions,

some about the universe: he answered

almost all of them.  He wanted to let go

of being human to know everything.

 

I texted I’m a fan of excruciating passion.

I feel everything too strongly.

No, you do.  I’m not feeling 

anything so fuck yr feelings.

 

I texted you FUCK

it all.  What if you 

messaged yrself on Grindr

and I rejected you.  What if

 

I messaged myself on Grindr

and you only wanted me to send nudes.

What if we met on Grindr and decided we

‘d be better off inside each other, this same body,

 

face & name.  What if you were a headless torso and

I messaged you hey, what would you say?  Can I block you,

even though you live inside my skull?  I wish you’d blocked me,

but we talked about the universe & you gave everything up

 

to know how all of this works: Now me, I feel I feel I feel

I say fuck yr feelings I don’t want I want I want to know 

everything but is it too late?

I wish I could text you, myself,

 

and tell you the truth: nobody 

is thinking about you right now but me. 

We do text everyone who crosses our mind.

Text back, “It’s nice to be thought of. It’s cold here.”

 

I am thinking of people I don’t know. 

I am thinking of you, the parts of my brain

I don’t want. I am thinking of lemon

juice stinging the cuts in my mouth. 

 

I am digging in my teeth. 

Your answer never comes. 

Who do I want to be?

Who do I want to be?

Boys 2