Plain Pain By W.D. Herstun

Plain Pain
Just pain.
No window.
All shame.
Blood flow
Red brain.
Nothing but
Plain pain.
Like watching
the slow drop
of any drain.
into your
your blood flow.
And dragging your soul
Splitting skulls
on the
until the
red meat
Or do you show blue in
your pain?
Blue like the sky’s famed?
it can’t be
That Pain.
Just plain.
Plain Pain.
It flows Red from My Veins.
Messy like Membrane.
Showering me in Shame.
No Window.
All panes.
Clear pain.
Just like an old flame,
That good ole best friend,
The wild cat that stands in the wind,
Pretty lame.
Super plain.
Just pain.


Plain pain is for everyone. Whenever I think about things that unite humanity, pain is one of things. We can all watch a movie or listen to a song that makes us cry, and not just because it’s sad. But because it reminds us of sadness we may not even be able to put a name to. That kind of pain. Not anything super heavy or extra, the regular stuff.

One of my biggest blessings is that I mostly deal with emotional pain. Any physical pain my body has endured has been caused by my own stupidity or simple aging. (I include the military in my own stupidity lmao).

I have watched someone I love live with a degenerative condition. It’s crazy to see how much physical pain she’s in on a daily basis. It hurts her to move. She’s in agony every time she bends. Stretching her muscles isn’t possible until she’s willed it mentally. Her daily normal is some level of agony. She is still one of the silliest people I know, I promise you. Yet, the physical burdens of life are always close behind, reminding her of limitations or abnormal challenges.

2019 was a year full of pain. I lost someone incredibly dear to me. But that person was even more revered by the people closest to me. We all lost a part of us. It’s like walking your entire life on a paved sidewalk in tennis shoes and then suddenly being served gravel and bare feet. But the sun is still coming up. You have to keep walking. Nobody cares what’s happening under your feet. They expect you at point B, so you have to keep walking.

The pain of separation and the pain of loss. Watching the people you love deal with loss and realizing that one day we will all be lost. Real lost. The type of lost that requires being laid to rest.

Pain is hard.

Sitting in that pain has also brought me some of the most immense joy and gratitude. Allowing myself the grace to feel it, sit with it, and truly understand it changed the way I viewed life. It literally changed the way I looked at the trees.

I think that life is just hard.

There is nothing that we can acquire, gather, or change that will fix that. There is no solution to that problem. Pain, loss, and death are the great equalizers. Money won’t protect you from their wrath. Running from relationships won’t save you from that tumble. There is absolutely nothing on Earth that helps with it other than an undying faith in something bigger than self.

Otherwise, it is easy question whether life has meaning.

And it does.

It means what we want it to mean.

If I don’t understand anything else about Christianity, then I understand this — Jesus Christ died trying to give life meaning. He allowed himself to be crucified because he believed that humans, even the poor, inform, ill, and misled, he believed that they mattered. Think of it this way, if you were alive during that time and you met Jesus, he would have loved you. He would have hugged you and invited you to dine with him.

Jesus was that guy.

I watch her, that woman I love that wakes up with that pain everyday. She smiles most mornings and gets up anyway. I think that’s the legacy of her that I will always keep with me. There are always people out there hurting. How will I carry my pain?

This year I made an effort to allow the pain to visit. Next year, I hope that joy comes to stay. I want to extend myself to more people. And that will be hard. But I truly want to open myself to whatever is possible. Pain or not.

#LetsGrow #LoveAlways

Poetry and Imagery By W.D. Herstun

I will edit it later. *shrug*

Published by W.D. Herstun

Editor-in-Chief. Curator. Dreamer. I want to bring people together, one story at a time. Sometimes, we all just need a little perspective. The arts & humanities can help us regain humanity and change the world. Believe that. Achieve that. #LetsGrow

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