tantrumming (broken man)

your fists
shatter mirrors
punch holes in walls

& you with
bleeding knuckles

slam your own face
into a door
to prove



that what breaks you
to sharpness

is your heart
&ย you must
keep milling it

to the point
you suck pain
from an acid tit
& go look for more
still hungry

you grind

that glass core
further into flour
your daily bitter bread
that cuts
when you swallow

unmaking yourself
while trying to shake
the world
into something
as damaged as you

the doors you kick down
will never
open to anywhere

you want to be

so stop trying

***here you go, Jeremy. ย Inspired (sort of) by Jeremy’s poem on violence, here.

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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34 Responses to tantrumming (broken man)

  1. “The door you kick down will never open to anywhere you want to be.” Susan, this whole poem is an anthem for nonviolence. So obvious the person who resorts to violence (either physical or verbal) will fail and ultimately hurt themselves. The unfortunately truth is that sometimes, it’s a child’s face on the other end of the fist, or a partner’s… Achingly good write, Susan. Peace, Amy

    • Thanks so much, Amy. Yes, I agree that the violent person is going to ultimately hurt themselves–and hope to God another person is not hurt in the process. What triggered this poem was the thought that a person who acts out in violence (by breaking people/things in the world around them) is ultimately broken inside. Thanking you again for your thoughtful and heartfelt comment.

  2. Also, for some reason, Zoe’s header didn’t show up until after I posted my comment. Hmmmm. It’s a lovely picture. That girl knows she is loved. A

  3. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    Susan, you definitely “know” my neighbor. I think my favorite stanza is:

    to the point
    you suck pain
    from an acid tit
    & go look for more
    still hungry

    That is right. I am convinced that what we were treated to yesterday was yet another cry for attention. It wouldn’t have happened if she did not know that we were there.

    I like this stanza in particular because it really does encapsulate the void in someone like this and their thirst, their desire for pain, for violence and for affliction.

    • Yes, Jeremy. It is something that makes me sad, when it does not make me angry. I am ashamed to say that usually, I am too angry to feel any sort of empathy for a person like this.

      • Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

        You know, I don’t feel much empathy either. In this particular instance (my neighbor) I pity her children.

        • Absolutely, Jeremy. They cannot get away from her, from it, and are the victims here. Hopefully, there are adults that can step in and help them.

          • Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

            I don’t know. Not from what I’ve seen of their step father. He’s not at the level of his wife, but he’s pretty horrible himself. From what we can tell he is afraid of his wife and just avoids being at home at all cost. . . and of course this does not help the children at all.

  4. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    And I should add that what I mean by “cry for attention” isn’t the pain of someone young and innocent, but of someone who trades in hatred and gains sustenance from acid, which is why your poem really gets at the truth of what we have been witnessing.

    • Exactly, Jeremy. In a way, the energy expended in adult violence is similar to what one would see in a toddler, embodying their anger fully, but so frightening in an adult body with this pathology in it. Anger without innocence, uncontrollable anger that must be acted out, is a dangerous, and potentially deadly, thing.

      • Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

        Yes, no one has the right to savor their anger when nothing can survive in its shadow. And from what I’ve witnessed, this particularly anger carries a long and deadly shadow.

  5. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    I should also say thank you for linking to my poem. I meant to do that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. nelle says:

    I love it when you tackle such emotions, so conjuring of real human feeling. As you so often do, your words generated another earworm for me, by one of my top three favourite artists.

  7. Kyle says:

    very moved by this susan – well said – thank you

  8. Rhonda says:

    this touches where i don’t want to be touched, but no one could do it better. arrrrrgh

  9. Ian Moone says:

    I can relate to this shamefully – was a long time ago

  10. doncarroll says:

    nicely done susan. it certainly is all around us.

  11. You capture all the destructiveness (self and external) of the person who responds to a crisis by fits of violence. As you beautifully point out with poignancy, such violence leads no where – it simply possesses the victim and slowly eats him/her from inside and enlarges to the external in the form of uncontrolled and unproductive physicality!
    I am reblogging
    By the way, I had treated the theme of GBV in one of my songs though it is not as successful as yours.

  12. Reblogged this on visionvoiceandviews and commented:

    a critique of violence as a response to crisis!

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