Say The Magic Word

Love is much more painful than anger. It is the most painful of feelings because it is always experienced in connection with a feeling of total helplessness. By expressing anger, I can deny my own helplessness. I don’t even feel it. ​The critical word at this juncture for the person involved is “Please.” You can feel the strength in that compared to a tantrum. “Papa, please.” “Mama, please.” It is powerful and painful. ~ Bertold Ulsamer

I felt your rage. It seemed directed solely
at me, until I really looked at my brothers
and saw how they labored, broken
by the same misapprehension.
It is so bewildering to feel a parent’s anger
when you are very young. And all I’ve been
able to do since is to search for my own
pissed-off tantrums, the courage to shout
back at you and reveal the pain
I absorbed. Helpless and vulnerable,
you were the oldest and so
your parents, each orphaned,
in separate cages of unexpressed grief
raged carelessly as they drank.
Time and again until for you,
love became synonymous with pain.
The child who learns “I hurt” soon
adds a direction, aims unerringly
until the description becomes an action
and those who should feel waves
of love are deluged in a troubled
sea of unclaimed projections.
Papa, please. I stand before you
and say it with so much compassion,
urging you to turn and face your own
parents, long dead, still stuck
in their turmoil. Please.
The healing movement finds its own
rhythm, its melody snaking through
the dismembered pieces, placing
each lovingly into the chorus
until we all sing, please.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: broken

Calling All Angels

“If you could read my mind, love,
what a tale my thoughts could tell.” —  Gordon Lightfoot

All of my ancestors are riding a

magic carpet that I carry

in my head. An unruly bunch,

shoving and squabbling, or pouting

in silence. When I move forward

in a new choice, they are triggered

pulling me back

until sometimes I am hopelessly

entangled, bound.

Once, I thought I needed to heal

the trauma that so restricted

their lives and now demands

they spring into abrupt action. Blind

to my world, so different than theirs,

they strangle me in their rush

to protect me.

And so we struggle,

pulling in opposite directions,

sure we’re each other’s remedy.

I’m out of order —

who am I to heal my ancestors?

They are big, and I am small.

These days I reach for

shamans who call in the sacred,

drumming and chanting ancient

words of power. Now I listen to a wise one

moving in behind them, summoning

resources — not to relieve

them of their fate and destiny,

but to reframe the vision

of these choices. When they release

their chokehold, we all breathe

in the new spaciousness.

I send them respect

for this spark of life

their blessing, finally feeling

loving support as I

create new life.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: abrupt