This is Anger by Martha Janssen, the text to the dramatic reading Silent Scream that I do.
I will soon have a video performance. A friend wanted to film it cuz the hair stands up on the back of his head when I perform it. It was very cathartic for me to do it. One of the creative ways to release rage.
Looking at all of Martha's poems, I need to get them all on the web and someday do the audio. Her book's out of print. Martha Janssen is a pseudynm. Martha, hope one day you let me share with you how much your poems have meant to me. (Started to get them up.)
Here's the audio performance. My voice is still breaking in the performance, and I may redo it someday. It's interesting tho that my voice gets better the further into the poem I get.
|Part 1 1085K
Part 2 1142K
Part 3 1011K
Part 4 1187K
Part 5 1221K
Part 6 822K
ANGER by Martha Janssen
was never allowed.
No matter what you did or I felt,
I was not to say my anger--
and in time not even to feel it.
A petrified egg
I would have thrown all the eggs!
all the lies! the names!
all the unfairness in your face
in my anger
But I was not allowed.
I could only push it down inside.
Years later I felt a change.
I had begun to hear other people's anger
and admit it could be mine.
I saw my fists clench more often
My stomach began to ache, pain
at the mention of you.
I knew it was time to find a way to set it free.
My body was ready to release the rage
whatever form it might take.
I could contain it no more.
My task was to find a way
to be me--
to be honestly furious
hurting no one
but setting me free
I would find a way.
I who would never write on walls
found a picture, full-length
and had it made nearly life-size.
I took it with me
and alongside in a shopping bag
memories and symbols of you.
And I brought weapons
I carefully thought it through
I went to the place where I was safe
guarded by the strength and understanding
of the counselor who knew.
I would never write on walls.
But photographs and father's day cards
even newsprint and broken ashtrays
carry my words.
Strewn about a private room
were the symbols of the release
of a little girl.
When she was able to say "I hate"
she was able to say
and in that moment perhaps begin
a slow, patient walk towards forgiveness
or at least acceptance
A grown-up little girl
I was no longer captive to threat
gave the hate its proper place
and stood up
a new person.
There I began to say the truth,
first to my listener and me
then to my aggressor,
I needed a place to begin
and when I said "It was wrong!"
I knew I would not stop
until I was finished.
I spoke the words
and spat the anger!
and a growing realization
it was no longer I
who was "wrong."
I did not deserve to have been hurt!
Powerful, real, honest,
saved for years and years --
finally set free.
I knew it was safe to say and feel.
No one would be hurt.
On my knees before a photograph
I became taller --
tall enough to be real
tall enough to be free.
Cheryl Moore Barron