Beginning This Book–Finally!

If you look closely, you will see that my last post here on Pain and Loathing was a few years ago. Now, I have not stopped writing during that time…no way. I cannot help but write about my experiences. However, the true seed of the idea for the Pain and Loathing book had to germinate within me, and that took some intensive inner work, and finding the right way in to my concept.

I am at my starting place now! I have begun the book, and I am also taking a class in memoir writing to get some help and feedback on the work I have done so far. My classmates have told me that I have a singular and different way to speak about pain, which helps them as the readers get an idea of what the pain I experience is like. That is positive feedback to me…now I just need to be able to repeat that feat over and over again. And this part does scare me.

Having my first book section critiqued did give me a plethora of ideas to write from, and I have this major list now that may last me through the book.

My offering here today is a poem I wrote specifically about my pain experience. Some of the ideas from this poem will likely go into the book, but I have yet to decide if I should include poetry. I may J

Let me know what you think of it.

Thanks for reading!


Pain gives protection, away from the deep torment
Pain demands attention; a single moment feels like 10, feels 30, an hour, an eternity
still there is freedom from the gnawing, inexplicable past
moths chewing holes through cashmere, sitting soft, still in the summer months
mice taking bits of food, slowly depleting what the cat has been fed
to last the whole day
sneaking stealthy under the burners on the stove, and out
through some breech in our walls

Stealing the nervous system’s state of grace, of stasis
freedom from the fight against swarming moths
the flight away from invading hordes of frightened mice
just as frightened as I am of stepping on their soft gray tube bodies
So I wear socks—so if it happens, the sensation of foot sole skin
on soft fuzzy gray squirming is not burned into my psyche

Those bugs bit in the night, the blinding itch
lasting for days, robbed sleep and peace from my bed
for 4 months, and I dream of their invasion still

Pain is protection
Its blinding red light obliterating all sensation aside from itself
bright red consumption

Through a crack in the curtain, covered by the cobalt swirling tapestry
darkening the painful daylight
A triangle of glowing tangerine, above a yellowed twilight blue
the day fades as words are lettered singly onto this page

This act of writing done to record the pain, and how it protects
and why it must be, hope for the coming of a sane day
the last hours of Sunday roll over the landscape
the sun sliding away until Monday

Pain protects; demands singular sense
only through myriad practice sessions can its protection be subverted
in a quest to FUNCTION, to WORK

A singer running scales and arpeggios, practicing trills
to conquer or perfect the organic mechanism of the body
in a quest for the creation sacred sounds

Our minds to conquer this fallible body, with its broken parts,
its weaknesses
Yet blood red pain falling in rivulets down my face
the back of my head, to settle in my neck
carving early lines in my forehead, around my eyes
Scars of battle

Pain protects; but payment is steep; it makes demands on me
through the quest for “normal”
once the pact for protection has been signed
it happens unconsciously
through the days and months, then years
during which the shield has been up, requested or not

Cyclical phases of the Moon, brightness engulfing and present
I stand and soak in glow, light absorbed to bring stillness, through the perpetual chaos
The darkened Moon, I yearn to bathe in the flowing water light again
a yearning intense through the darkening days
Until the silver sliver shines a slice of glow on my head one more time, and again, and again

Pull tighter, to pain
better to spin in the blinding crimson
than let the swarming memory moths blind and eat me

Pain is protector, and focuser; a solitary act is something I can handle

Time chaotic and rampant, with confusion and violence
fumbling to maintain sense among insanities

The Wheel of Fortune spinning through space
The Moon’s cyclical pathway bringing light then dark, then light and dark again
and again and again
The seconds tick off the clock, and snap off the face of the earth, grains of rice
hurled, lost to the infinite

Pain shreds my face into bright hanging flesh,
boiling blood, spilling from the crown of my head
falling rivulets down my skull, all this invisible to outside eyes,
carving wrinkles into my forehead and eyes, before their time perhaps
battle scars in the fight with pain—the only visible evidence
Pain protects me from the swarming mental replay, dirty brown moths
circling my head, a deluge of wings beating against brain cells
encasing sanity—but it is all relative

Pain protects and focuses
no swarm can exist in the face of the blood-red light of the headache
it grows, a molten center point, and rushes outward
filling the space, bright bright red through my skull
penetrating my fragile aura
nothing can get in or out

And this repeats, again and again, pain a constant part of the geography
I repeat this poem, again and again and again

Pain brings singularity, a point
so pinpoint sharp
the chaos
and while it is here, me folded in crimson blankets, raw nerves pulsing, flayed
It dictates all consciousness, demands all thought, every minute throbbing, alive

the Now vivid

Pain protects from the chaos seeking to split us from ourselves,
divided atoms unstable,
pain brings cellular convergence.


One thought on “Beginning This Book–Finally!

  1. Pingback: New “Pain and Loathing” Post | AnnaBeth Hawkins Davidson

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