Darkly Devotions

Lyric prose meditations that play with elements from evangelical Christianity, Buddhism, yoga, reiki, Tarot and “weird voodoo shit.”

~by Cindy Clem



The Anger Chronicles: Part One[1]

Opening exercise: Sit in front of a blank wall. Stare at it without blinking and say, over and over, in a robot voice, “I am not [your first name] [your last name]. I am an in-for-ma-tion proc-es-sor.”

Today’s passages:

“Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah.” ~Psalm 4:4

“A soft answer turns away wrath.” ~Proverbs 15:1

Lie on your bed and watch your anger. Track it as it runs through the forest or across the desert. Maybe it stalks city streets. Follow it. Watch how it moves, watch how it pauses, alert, eyes moving back and forth.  Watch as it tries, when it remembers, to brush over its tracks with sand or dead leaves. Watch its hot light pulse in the see-through skin of it, the engorged veins.  It’s not usually a body.  Watch it look at its reflection in windows or pools of water. What it sees is not what you see. Not today. It sees something vast and gangrenous, something ghastly with teeth. You see a small creature, fragile in its thin skin, alive with its own power and terrified of being made to stop.  It’s true you’ve given it some rein (all the dirt on those collard leaves, the lost knife, and because it’s Wednesday, a dead day). Watch it flex what it thinks is its god-like rage. It could be God. It wants to be. The day of wrath is coming, it wants to announce, malevolently.  Behold my face and die!  But wrath is a soft word, as soft as white rice, and you can call to it now, softly. Draw it back. Drape a white robe over its burning shoulders. Feed it something cool and sweet. It might begin to cry. You might feel its tears on your cheeks. It might try to slice your throat. Hold it close.

Closing exercise: Talk about your emotions, from this day forth, in the third person. When you feel a rush of excitement, say, “It feels excited.” When you want to hit someone, say, “It wants to hit someone.” When you’re craving something, “It’s having a craving.”

[1] This implies a Part Two. We’ll see.




Cindy Clem received her MFA in poetry in 2005 and has been writing non-fiction ever since. Her poems and essays have appeared (magically!) in Mid-American Review, The Normal School, Prairie Schooner, Memoir (and), Superstition Review, The Interrobang, Spittoon, and Michigan Quarterly Review (forthcoming).