'Flash' writing anthology about chronic pain - submissions welcome!

Author: Sara Wasson (Page 10 of 11)

‘It was necessary to lend myself to the memory’, by Amy Allara

It was necessary to lend myself to the memory 
of a body that could. 

To separate from the broken figure, 
the body that would not listen. 

To not pretend. 

To forego. 

To not waste the clock’s signal. 

To set it straight. 

To disown magical inclinations. 

To attach to that which understands. 

To disavow the indifferent. 

To be quiet. 

To stay quiet. 

To quit the before.

  • by Amy Allara


‘It is absurd to suppose that forms spring from names’, by Amy Allara

And what are the chances that I am 
what this is 
this as what I am 
told to be the case 
and I am the case 
to be taken on and 
out of the way 
fix it so others can breathe 
and get on with it 
what are the chances 
that this is what I am 
and this this is not going to shift— 

A four letter word 
and its undoing 
everyone has gone and 
there is just this 
and this is what I am. 


Forms do spring from names 
in or out of absurdity,

and this is the loneliest form 
I have ever seen.

  • by Amy Allara


‘that unwanted invasion’, by R. Redman

that unwanted invasion
– now tethered over my back
binding my knees
burdening my shoulders 
with the heaviness
which is my own being – 
my own cosmic orb of flames
arcing slowly across
from dawn until dusk
and smoldering on 
through shadowland.
– now anchored still
tugging below my ribs
pulling inside my left eye
centering my own gaze
on then –
on it.


  • by R Redman

‘Focal Signal Intensity Enhancements’, by Maureen Miller

I’m poeming this poem 
from a forest-boreal 
transition zone 

anticipating intense 
public reaction 
to my poem

against the bony mets 
that XXXX up my posture
& infiltrate our nat’l backbone 

its prostate biopsy
analogy lost/inapparent
in the sagamore gloam

this spine unresponsive 
to the pre-patent analog 
that is my poem


  • by Maureen Miller
  • doctorwritermaureenmiller.tumblr.com

[This poem was inspired by an ad for a medical conference, “Summer Radiology Symposium at the Sagamore,” at an upstate New York retreat for Gilded Age millionaires. I found out about it while previewing prostate biopsies for a surgical pathology service. We don’t see the pain except in tissue core numbers. Who that’s most unfair to is the subject. Readers may decide.]

‘Outside In’, by Kendra Preston Leonard

The snow and salt on your coat
suggests that you’ve been outside
shoveling, maybe, or 
tossing snowballs for the dogs.

But in fact it’s the dogs who have
brought the snow and salt inside,
flinging it onto your coat
when they shake it away.

Your coat hangs on the back of a chair
and you haven’t been out all day.
You’ve been mostly in bed because of the 
new and unfamiliar but not
unexpected pain in your hip,
Another joint your illness
is colonizing in your body.

You can only watch the dogs
play in the snow,
young pups again,
their own bodies slowing even faster than yours.

Black dogs,
white snow,
white snow,
red counterpane,
the outside in
where you can 
be in it.


‘Occam’s Hammer’, by Garry Coulthard

No one talks about Occam’s other idea,
the hammer,
when his razor didn’t cut deep enough,
his hammer smashed down.

‘Of an event occurring, it is most likely that the simplest one is the correct one’
‘Of an inevitability occurring, the one that hurts the most is the correct one’

When Occam’s hammer falls,
it’s not a matter of when or where it lands,
it’s simply a matter of how hard it hits,
and if this time you choose to scream.


  • by Garry Coulthard

‘Food for Thought’, by Ryan Michael Dumas

Just got a letter from disability insurance: Denied. I’m not disabled enough to get anything. After months of trying to convince them.

How do you prove you can’t work?

I cannot sit up, stand, or walk hardly at all. There is no job I can do while laying down, without having to make phone calls.

Just laying here, my back aches. But it’s the most comfortable position I can find. (It hurts my hips but those aren’t important.)

If I dared to sit up, my lower and upper back would scream in agony. It would not end until I laid back down.

I couldn’t keep working; had to move back in with my toxic parents. I have no money, no freedom, and no chance. I have no future. And that terrifies me.

I’m a survivor. The world wants me dead. It’s only a matter of time.


‘7 Months of Pain’, by Robert Orr

Every day I travelled, called or thought
It was never going to get better
But the morphine did its job

Varying degrees of brightness 
But in the end all grey
Kept away the darkness that we knew would come one day

We had laughs, we had tears
We had quiet, we had sleep
We had time together, we had time

You never once complained 
You never were bitter
You were in pain, but they always kept it subdued

In the end you were distant 
Slowly fading away
In both mind and body, but along with your pain

I still remember now
Not as frequent but still vivid
Your pain it is now ended, and I still I don’t know why


  • by Robert Orr

‘Defining Me’, by Shanali Perera


I stumble
I fall
I break
I mend
I get back upI keep stumbling
I keep falling
I keep breaking
I struggle to get back up
I listen…I feel pain
I burn
I weep
I scream
I listen….I lose sight
I lose control
I lose meI ask myself
Who I,
Want me to be?
Need me to be?
Make me to be? 
The black line drawing is showing a person trying to sit up straight from a bent over position. It looks a cross section of a person seated, taken from the side. The straightening up of the upper body is shown in 3 moving positions along with the heads, while the lower body remains as one, in the seated position. The main is black but there are orange, red and blue lines used to draw the lower back, hip, knee and leg. concentric rings of black lines are used at the hip and knee joints as well to draw the heads."

I struggle
I adapt
I alter
I shift
I cope
I listen

I define me
I defy being defined by illness

I the author
I the architect
I the enforcer of my life journey
Define Me

I find me again

I see me now
Do you see me?


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