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
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,
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
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
the page the page the page
I wish I wish I wish
the page I wish I wish
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.
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
But what if all I know is
not being not being sitting sitting still
inevitable inevitable I don’t want
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?