Anger and Attention

“If you’re not angry,
you’re not paying attention.”

When I am angry,
I can not pay attention
to anything
but my anger

and I owe
too much.

When I really
pay attention,
the voice is
all I can hear
and the mind runs
from the numbers.

This is a debt
that I can never

7 thoughts on “Anger and Attention

  1. This is a lovely poem that points to the potential risks and costs of excessive anger. Good work.

    However, there are times my attention is pulled to acuity with strong feelings. This includes anger. I find that anger can sharpen my pencil in ways that a relaxed happy emptiness cannot. I love relaxed happy emptiness. But this has little motive force for me.

    We are all different yet all one.



    • I can’t agree more about listening to the voice of anger, as long as it doesn’t out-shout all the other voices….which mine often does. LIke “listening to your gut.” Listening is good and important, letting it rule your decisions can be dangerous. As to “happy emptiness”, the emptiness of which I often speak has as little to do with happiness as it does with sadness. I have a post on this in the works…
      The word “emptiness” and “empty” are perhaps misleading. One way to put it perhaps is that even this word “empty” is empty.
      Thank you, as always for your words.


  2. Anger seems to dramatically narrow my focus. It seems that if I can reject that culturally programmed demand for revenge, that energy can be channeled to more useful avenues, like writing. Keep writing!


  3. The poem is spot on for me. When I’m angry, I cannot think at all. My limbic brain takes over: fight-or-flight rules the response. Later when I’m calm, my cerebral cortex comes back to life.


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