Merchants of Anger

Merchants of anger

See no color

Hear no melody

Offering immediacy

Gritted teeth

Clenched fists

Ease of blame

Vague contours of control

Outlines of outrage

A road of broken concrete

Leading to a tire fire

In their statements

Evidence a faraway promise

If even thought of at all

Profit and power

Wash over them

When they steal your joy

Hollowness aches inside them

Disdain burns in them

For signs of growth or hope

In any of you

I will let you name them

You don’t need me to

Perhaps you scoff at me

Turn to them and indulge

What they offer for a while

To feel something

To fill yourself with

To provide meaning

Despite its acrid foul flavor

I know though

If you pause

You will realize

You are crying

For what you have lost

It is yours to take back

Your mind is forever changing

But that mind is forever yours

Gene G. McLaughlin 2020

To the Angry Young Men (Which Once Included Me)

Rage encounters empathy
If you live long enough
Acknowledgment of the other
That’s where it gets rough
Your friends and enemies
Each know the same pains
When harm’s inflicted
Both souls are stained
To be a mammal is to anger
Putting your needs above
But to be a mammal also
Is to love
You did what you did
Then and before
But you can choose to do it
No more
Maybe rage is part
Of a divine plan
But maybe love can grow
In the heart of a man
Live long enough
Perhaps to learn
Fire can warm
Not only burn
Gene G. McLaughlin 2019