The passer by denies my existence
with the confidence of their gait,
the steadiness of their gaze.
I peel back layers of skin
to show the shining mess, but
each time I’m swallowed by earth –
which in case you’ve forgotten
is cold, full of dead, sharp things.
It’s like fucking an iron maiden –
which, in case the information passed you by,
is a fictionalised torture device.
Make of that what you will.
– by Matt Alton
I woke up a wilted rose
My petals were crushed
a thousand tempests
My thorns turned inwards
striking my stem
Worms crawled all over me
my roots were intact
– by Angelina Bong
Too young to understand,
Too scared to stay
[The image features a form with chaotic hair spanning the entirety of the piece, lines and dots show the chaos of the mind]
She stands uncertainly inside the cubicle, exposed to light from a dozen UV tubes.
Machinery hums softly, the seconds tick away.
A narrow slit connects her to the outside world.
Friends have seen her skin, inflamed and bleeding, her swollen eyelids. She hasn’t mentioned synapse pain, the 2am, 3am, 4am explosions waking her, holding back the edge of sleep, just out of reach.
She hears the hum die down; the door swings open.
Gentle hands steady her, lift the visor, remove her goggles.
Back on terra firma, the treatment room, she dresses slowly.
The techie’s voice reminds her to shower cool, to wear soft clothes, to moisturise.
‘Let me know if you are sore, just call.’
She wonders what she’s done to deserve such kindness or is this simply how the world should be?
And even though her treatment’s hardly started something breaks inside. She dreads its ending.
The skin I wear
The skin I wear is a covering
for my bones and flesh
and I’m glad it holds it in
but wonder sometimes
why and sigh
about the pain I’m in.
It’s not as if I’ve fallen
or didn’t watch where I was going,
I was plodding on quite well I thought
and tried to do what I’d been taught –
I enjoyed it all in a way.
Can I use a vacuum cleaner?
Why do you ask? I used to
work full time and be the breadwinner
and I can’t help wondering whether
you would have asked that of a man.
I can somehow think you know
I’m still here in a way,
I think so, anyway.
Hello pain let’s dance!
Hello pain let’s dance together
and cry a melody
Just you and me forever
which dance is it to be?
A boogie or a waltz
a tango or some jiving?
Whatever the rhythm
It’s time to do some living
The violinist’s bow
hews across its strings
The drummer’s sticks do beat
upon his drum
sweet notes emanate
a squeezing heartache
Across the room
A trumpet sighs do come
She moves her body slow
To the echo of the bow
The rhythm of the beat
Won’t knock her down
Her back she keeps it straight
And feet they will not wait
But trip along and step
The bright life into town
She feels a country breeze
That puts her at her ease
Her spirits rise until they fly away
Birdsong in the trees
Falling from their leaves
And butterflies are coming out to play.
More information: https://poetryatnightblog.wordpress.com/
It’s 2am and my body is on fire. Every cell is boiling. Sweat creeps from my pores. It only takes a moment to soak through my favourite t-shirt, then through the sheets and mattress covered in yellow imprints.
I can’t get any fucking sleep. This happens to me every night, up to ten times. Then 40 times a day, no matter the season.
I’m a comedian, but it’s near impossible to make people laugh when my body is transforming against my will. When I’m furious about an illness 50% of the population will never experience while the other 50% will understand it 20+ years after me. Isolated because no doctor out of my team of 7 can determine exactly why it is I went into menopause at 28. Depressed because they know little about a condition that under 1% of the female population develops.
This is my life now.
This is shocking.
I am not an object and I am not broken but
the pain tells me differently.
This is chronic.
Why am I not adjusted yet?
It comes and goes, it’s all my consciousness
all I want is to lie down.
And when I come into work I lie about my days off.
Why do I look tired? Maybe,
that’s just how I look. Maybe,
they think I am just not very ‘together’…
This invisible pain cannot be talked about because that will only make work relations worse-
because they never know how to interact with me after, but
my anxiety aches like the bits between my legs.
I am not used to this.
I am managing well and privately proud, but sometimes
I wish they all knew.
I guess all superheroes probably feel like this sometimes.
I bet there’s a lot of us.
a flap in the back
tra la la obsessive screaming
sounds of machines
situated between two beds
rupture of bodies
delivered in close up
Jane Joritz-Nakagawa’s most recent book is Poems: New and Selected (Isobar, 2018) on sale at Amazon
The chaos of pain in every moment
Playing its jarring jazz
Impromptu – No set list
Whilst I exist amongst you
Cloaked I normalcy