The Preserved Image of Pain

Screaming screaming screaming

They say you should write from the depths of your emotion. I can’t do that. Or I can, but it’s nothing but



Melancholy quiet

If you like that, more power to you

And good for me, I guess

But when I’m in the depths of my emotion, all my skill goes out the window, and when I sit down to type, it’s only

Screaming screaming screaming

I can’t speak of insanity without one foot in the sane

I can’t speak of agony without some part of my spirit anchoring me in calm

I can’t speak of anything

Without screaming screaming screaming

When I’m like this

When I’m lost

When I’m hurting all the way through

It’s just one slice of uninspired pain after another

And that’s just the thing, isn’t it?

Nobody really cares how you hurt

If you can’t make them feel it

And when I’m worst hurt

I lose the words for it

When I’m worst hurting

I lose all my power

Memory of pain is a beautiful material

When this moment is faded and past

Pressed into my mind like a flower folded in a book

When it’s still pretty and fragrant but

Flat and dry, the preserved image of pain, the footprint of loneliness past

Then I can ply my best magic

And wrap it in skill

And soak it in words

Boiled down, and distilled

My pain will taste sweet as a lover’s ache on the tongue

As a wish

Of a kiss

But raw and unfinished, it’s only a

Scream, scream, scream

Pain sipped in empathy, or racking the imagination

Is perfect cloth for my cutting

I spy out a story in the agony-not-mine

And stitch it together with words sharp and fine

And the finished pain is beautiful to see

And devastating to don

A writer’s work done

But when I’m hurting

I can only wait it out

And write it out

And scream, and scream, and scream

Now I’ve wept on my touchpad, and it refuses to act until

My tears are wiped away

See? Tears are a paralytic. I’m not the only thing

That’s useless until pain is pressed into the book of memory

Pulled out when faded

And made into a perfume

Balanced to perfection

Wafting the ache upon the air

With acute undertones like a needle to the gut

Just enough and not too much


Smell the crumbling of a heart

With dry overtones and a sprig of tongue-in-cheek

The melodrama chemically removed

Like caffeination

The ink-caster’s done it again

See? I’m writing myself out of the pit

I’m writing the smirk back onto my lips

And my words grow cleverer and better-cooked by the line

Not like those rare fillets of heart up top

Not like those raw-writ screams

No; now the wound’s seared over

The fit of agony already going dry

In my gut,

An aching gem ready to be cut

In my mind,

My wheel of skill will grind it

On my lips,

A smile in full


Ready to revel

In the pain of my past self

The self at the top of the page

To bask in her agonies

And finally

To write