Graphic: "Alien Blues," by Peter Schwartz.
Pain Illusionist Stresses the Reality of Preparation
Will Hochman

As if hundreds of knife slashes were salted
Wounds have their own way of becoming us
Our lip-dry smile and tightening eyes
Only begin the jeering
That further sees in souls the deeds
This unkind mirror must expose

Sometimes, hurting wipes its own memory clean
Like chalk gone gladly bad on a dull black board
Some pain ensures other pain is successfully forgotten
Nevertheless every second of our human lives
Hooks personal worms like gut bait somehow
Slithering to be caught beneath these bleeding lines

Enough skin blunts any knife edge but not blood
Today, I’m my own adultery, even I
Don’t want to be with me—so I scream inside
To silence my skin from crawling away in shame
And I see inside my closed eyelids
Just enough to sleep this face off