Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

My therapist described the pain as
a knot bundled up in the body. As
she started to try and smooth it out,
I couldn’t help but imagine a bundle
of yarn veined about my back. Imagine
each string coming loose, one by one,
as the minute hand ticks on, the sound
its own perverse voyeur. In some aspects
all pain is the same, temporary but
gripping in the moment, not letting
us go. They all take different times to grow:
some leave us quickly like seasons,
some stay around like a lover
until we sleep together in a grave.
When I walk about town, the knot
still dull and sharp against the back,
I imagine it unravelling and hanging
within me, swinging along with my gait
like a pendulum. Hypnotic, this cycle
of birth and death. Repetition which
we call growth, which we call change.
I can’t get rid of the pain, as much as
I want to, but all of us are born into
its stomach, dropping from an unknown sky.
I’m seeking a pair of scissors to swallow,
to undo all the tangles with one swift
motion, free my body from my body,
to pull me into a greater consciousness,
one where I am free from all emotion
save for the ones which save me; where
every mouth is not a stapler but a mitt,
every hand not a tool of violence but
rather its opposite, every heart a
spider slowly spinning its web.

Freewriting Explanation: Every day, Valen shall use 5 minutes to write completely unprompted and uninterrupted, letting the words lead the way. There is no end purpose to each piece, but rather, the pieces are allowed to develop naturally in their own way. The pieces are then uploaded without edits.

Filed under: Freewriting, Poetry


A member of Singapore-based writing collective /stop@BadEndRhymes ("/s@ber"), Valen dwells in the swamp of poetry. He has been published in various publications, including Anxious Poets Society, Eunoia Review and Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. He has performed his work at the Arts House, the Singapore Art Museum, and in various dingy bars.

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