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

Tag: credibility (Page 1 of 2)

‘Partners In My Care’, by anonymous

I sit in my place—the patient’s chair—prepared to be a partner in my care. I’ve brought an expanding bible of medical tests and consultant notes, a list of medications and interventions, including what has worked and what hasn’t, and a diary of symptoms I now describe with familiarity. Muscles spasm in my core when I eat, radiating into my chest, back, arms and neck to form hard cords that bind me. I’m in need, seeking help to turn what’s chronic into manageable. 

You look on me from your place—the physician’s desk. You steer me to start “my story” at the beginning, before pain. You lead me with questions that turn my persistence to find answers into anxiety. Then you say (in medical language): your emotions are the cause of your pain and you should accept that. Silence follows. You’ve removed me from the partnership.

  • by anonymous






‘The Grinder’, by Alan Horne

We pay the cable from the reel in staggers, 
jerk the squiggly line between the bushes,
wake the minor aches, the none too vicious 
graters in the knee that love to grab us.

Nothing lightweight in the gear for this one:
the Black and Decker like a struggling toddler; 
the squeaky derricks of our legs manoeuvred
round the pain to give the tools a platform.

Though it’s money saved; and while the gripe’s curtailed 
we crouch to proud, redundant, bent old nails 
which squeal against the grinder, scattering in the nettles 
tiny marigolds of blistered metal 
until the shanks resign, the flat heads flying. 
But how to rise, from those smoking stumps of iron?


  • by Alan Horne

United Kingdom

twitter @mralanhorne

‘A MEDLEY OF PAIN POPS’, by ford dagenham


acceptable inevitable storm-head alarm
that holds back its rain
and mumbles thunder instead

a hard-sell of cotton ignorance
on the sofa that’s the world


the days hurt
the nights – well 

they’re a VHS video-nasty
trembling on pause

I only hope 
why I yell at him


drugs argue 
in my blood
bedside drawer

like married pensioners and their TV shows

they could get along

far far away
without me


I told the Dr
that it all hurts SO much
and I’m SO tired SO much
and its SO very hard to THINK now
that it makes me want to CRY
but I CAN’T cry
I told the Dr
cos of all the antidepressants

and she barked involuntary laughter
and suggested I swim


  • by ford dagenham

hatchbacks on fire: author website


‘The Cost of Falling Ill’, by Linda Cosgriff

Work as hard as you can
for as long as you can

Then you’re ill
can’t work
can’t walk
can’t bear talk
or remember how no pain felt
can count on the hand you can’t lift
your friends
and family

can’t work
or provide
can’t afford pride
or holidays
you manage Christmas, on plastic
can’t walk your children to school
it’s uphill

you’re ill
can’t work
can’t live
can’t provide –
the part that was you
the man that was you
the pride in you

Try not to care 
that the love of your life 
is no longer your wife 
but your carer

Work as hard as you can
for as long as you can

  • by Linda Cosgriff

Author website

United Kingdom

‘A Double Etheree on Living with M.E.’, by Linda Cosgriff

man is
ill. Whispered
of what he once was
are all that sustain him. 
He has no hope. His aching
visions of what should have been kill
comfort. What could have been is a lie. 
He has no hope. He has no future. He
has only now. Life took revenge for a
life too well lived. He was a man out
of time. Now, there is nothing but
time. Resilient, he bears
it. He will not die. He
will suffer, always. 
He will not die. 
He does not,


  • by Linda Cosgriff

Author website

United Kingdom

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