Thursday, June 5, 2008

Creativity Tips: Residual Pain

When I wrote "Residual Pain," I thought it was hideously obvious that I wasn't really talking about a rotator cuff injury.

Turns out -- and I'm sure this will amaze you, because I know it astonished me -- I was wrong. My first readers didn't get the point of the poem. Matter of fact, they suggested the subtitle, to make sure other people would understand the grief metaphor.

Two creativity tips today:
  1. What you absolutely know is right, may be wrong.
  2. When you're trying to communicate something, bring it home a different way: Consider a metaphor, a simile or one of those other wonderful literary terms that I always have to look up to define because my brain is full.

I hope you like the poem. I think Dad would have.

Residual Pain
In memory of my father on Valentine’s Day

With a torn rotator cuff, the initial stab is just a warning.
The shock echoes down your arm,
takes your breath, and fills your eyes with unexpected tears.

There’s danger every day.
Hug a friend, slip into your coat, close a door,
and you double over. Another stab. A lingering path of pain.

You move differently once it’s torn,
never knowing what will make you wince or make you weep.
Nothing is safe, not even sleep. You can’t lie on that side anymore.

Rubbing your arm won’t help, but you rub anyway.
Time may help, but it won’t heal
this tear.

For now, just catch your breath, close your eyes and wait.
Tell yourself: It’s not really there. Not really. It’s residual.
By the time we feel it, gone.

-- © 2008, Jan Sokoloff Harness

No comments: