There once was a boy who lived in a hole. There in the warm, musty darkness where roots embraced him, he hid from the bright world outside. He hid from the loud, the violent and crude. He hid from the harm they’d done.
They found him cringing that meekest of creatures, pushed in a corner like old fruit in a shopping bag. He mouldered. It was their duty to save him. Everyone wanted saving, didn’t they?
The men with their silver badges glittering, their colleagues in white all wide smiles and soft words, tore the boy from the roots he clung to; he screamed for them to stop. They carted him away like a stray dog to a pound and placed him in the knowledgable care of strangers. But they had no knowledge of him, this child from deeper regions.
He woke to crimson, some his, most theirs. Its stickiness reminded him of tree sap back when there were trees to weep. And he remembered. And he wept. The memory of those lost forests stung like the syringes thrown in his hole. His nice safe hole. He ran. They ran, too, those who still could.
Out in the savage daylight, he made a decision. The little lost boy with pain in his eyes made a promise. He’d dig deeper. He’d burrow like a mole. No one would find him again. Once upon a time was one once too many, his mother used to say. Before they took her and all that was green and blue, too.
If this hurt of teeth and talons renders numb
Or slashing words and blunt-nosed answers
Tied up with twine, perhaps a handcuff, too
Fails to bring a stinging stimulus
Then what’s the point in pain, my love
If ever there was one, yes, if ever
Has it vanished, upped and left, retracted
Fluttered away on cold breaths and steam
Impaled itself upon a willow strip
Just gone. All gone. Run away forever
Left a soul in need of something suddenly pain-less
In the silent hours
Our screams are shouted loudest
In spilled ink are truths found
As we bleed across pages
Stanzas formed from our pain
Paragraphs, our experiences
Waiting for those rivers of us
To congeal into certainties
Certain kinds of truth
Yet like the blood in our wounds
They merely crust
As imperfect finishes
Upon imperfect souls
They scab. They hurt
This is our destiny, pain
This is what it means to write
Hurt my back burying the wife.
She locked her case but not the door, closed her purse but not the gate. She walked from her street but not from her pain; it would take many more miles. Yet, each step, each new foot of concrete, soil and grass brought her story closer to one outcome: hers.
The problem with migraines is they're unwelcome. Kind of like snowstorms during Wimbledon, or Godzilla stepping on the final pair at The Masters just before sinking their final puts, migraines suck. Unsatisfactory outcomes, migraines twist and turn and churn and scratch. However, they do give you something to write about.
Pain: a word with infinite definitions, incomparable extremes. She knows them all. All.
There's a girl in a mirror in a house in a street in a country that doesn't want her from a land that wished her gone. Is it pain reflected in that little girl's eyes? Is it?
I loved her with a passion that tore at my soul. Whenever I imagined those deep, hazel eyes it felt like my skin had snagged on a briar and wouldn’t let go. To have torn at it would have meant tearing at me and I’d already lost too much of myself. I shredded by the day, my blood like paint splattering the walls.
That’s why when the letterbox flapped open like a gaping fish and a small, white envelope soaked in her unmistakable perfume dropped to the floor, I opened it in a flash. My eyes shot past the actual words to the return address, hope emblazoned in my eyes, on my heart, in my dreams. Undisclosed, it read. The briars dug deep.
Melodious, she sang,
Like a bird in the meadow
Awake to the day;
Trilling to the heavens
And chirping to the flowers,
She praised the day,
The night, the dusk, the dawn.
It mattered not who heard,
What they thought,
What they said;
She sang relentless,
Regardless, with all her heart.
And for a moment,
A fraction in time,
The world’s pain lessened
Just a touch.
But every voice must silence,
Every voice must stall,
Only ifs remaining.
If only she’d sung eternal.
The pain returned.