Steel Toe Review || The Myth of Pain

This month, Steel Toe Review posted one of my earlier poems: "The Myth of Pain." The work opens with the notions of personal violence, what people will do to themselves in a fit of guilt or resentment:
At the bus stop, we watch the other couple.
They have hidden themselves in a corner,
away from the general movements of travelers.
There is a quiet casualness in the way she tugs
at a strand of her straightened hair, as she pulls
back her sleeves, exposing her brown arms when she leans
against her boyfriend’s shoulder. The same slow motions
you took, angry and drunk,
leaning against a bathroom wall, marking
your arm with a paring knife, cutting soft scratches
into the skin.

The notions here, even a casual scene replicates hidden anger— and how one on the outside reacts to the situation.

In the poem I flipped the concept so that an average couple without issues is being observed by a couple who have issues. The plural "we" voice carries the burden of knowledge of self-injury; the other couple is oblivious to the situation or the fact they are observed. What results, the "outsiders" view the "norms" of a community. Yet a commonality is reached through the accepted definition of pain. One character keeps herself in a well of guilt over her mother. Another character suffers from specific issues of self-harm, self-mutilation.

Read the full poem:


Popular Posts