Thursday, August 24, 2017

Life (With Pain): Poems By Craig Firsdon

I have had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since I was 4 years old. At around 12 I'd lose the abilty to walk or even stand. I began writing as sort of a therapy to deal with this, the pain, acceptance and depression. I believe that all types of art can help people as much as some medications and with art the disabled can be free in ways never imagined.-Craig Firsdon

Life (With Pain)

It hurts
     Grit teeth
     Shake hands
     Get on hands and knees
     Tear up
     Breathe heavy
     Fall to knees
     Wipe away tears
     Breathe slowly and calmly
     Stand up

Another day ends.


I used to imagine I was a normal child 
living a normal life with a normal family. 
On weekends I would go to my normal friends’ houses 
and play normal games or with normal toys, 
eat normal lunches like peanut butter and jelly 
     or bologna and cheese. 
On weekdays I’d go to a normal school where my normal teachers 
would usually give us homework before sending us home for the day. 
At home we would eat a normal dinner that my mother 
normally gave her all to make sure we had. 
My normal father would come home at a normal hour 
to spend time with my brother and I.  
The entirety of my being was…normal. 

But it was a lie, one I told myself in order to feel like I was just that
.    …normal.  
In reality my friends were bullies, 
my father was a psychotic abuser 
who often worked late and came home angry, 
sometimes smelling like bottom barrel alcohol and old tobacco 
after going bowling every Thursday night. 
My mother was the strongest person I had known, 
but never strong enough to put my father in his place. 
Often our meals would end up on the floor 
and my mom back in front of the stove in tears.  

In the winter of 1983 I came in from playing outside in the snow 

and immediately noticed my neck was hurting and getting very stiff. 
What came after for the next few years was something 
out of my worst nightmares. 
A time when I would scream in pain when touched, 
daily ice baths for 103 plus degree fevers, 
long car rides to get me to sleep, 
my father blaming my mother for everything 
and doctors of every type running tests of every kind 
diagnosing me wrongly with all types of diseases 
from leukemia to multiple sclerosis.  
In the end it was arthritis. 
The reason for my pain. 
The reason for my poetry. 

Since then half of my life has been spent within 

the sterile white walls of a hospital, 
stuck with thousands of needles, 
given hundreds of toxic poisons called medications 
and told time after time that if only I pushed myself harder, 
thought more positively 
and did every single thing the doctors said 
I wouldn’t be like I am now.  

But it doesn’t matter; this is how my life was meant to be. 

All of this, every single thing I’ve gone through, is MY normal. 
These words are here because of it.
My life, what I view as my normal, IS my poetry. 
So the next time you grab a pen and piece of paper
or sit down in front of your computer 
show the world how your normal life is poetry too.

My Letter To You (Arthritis)

I always feel you there within me,

that unforgiving itch I can’t scratch.
Each attempt to rid myself of you
grows more useless.
It dilutes the feeble whisper of happiness 
just under my faked public happy thoughts
you are the voice from the nothingness 
tempting me to give in, embrace you,
Stockholm syndrome for the corrosive entity inside.
I stand firm every time my skin is pierced
just to prove that I am not weak
but to you, me, them?
As days pass, forever, one after another
I am here and will always be
you along for the ride
and it is no choice of mine.
You live in this cell with me,
never getting out,
never escaping
I’ll sit here
you and I chained together
and chained to this cell.
and no matter how weak you make me
I will keep searching for the strength to simply

Closer (Images In A Mirror)

The mirror spoke to him in words unspoken.
An infinite number of truths growing day by day, 
every breath he inhaled led to another scar.    
that passed by unseen by his vision, his soul,
only another checkmark on every bully's list of fulfilled tortures.
Even as the checks appeared, check one, two, three,
the whips cracked and gashed his soul
leaving permanent tattoos as reminders of his pain.

He still stared at the mirror in front of him
as it rambled loveless melodies on and on
with an image that said it all.
No smile.
No one cares about him.
No one notices him until he's gone
and when they do he's remembered 
for one short moment in time
when he was true to himself
But to others what seems to be a triviality,
something that is nothing,
just words to him and only to him
and his wrists become like his heart, sliced by each syllable,
nouns and verbs cut deep
cut by cut by intentional cut,
he bleeds until he no longer can bleed anymore.
As the words become sentences,
sentences become razor blades, Xanax and shot gun shells
and continue to cut,
to swallow,
to pull the trigger.

Eventually it all begins to fade,
getting darker as painful shadows
get closer and closer.
Drifting, thinking of what others have said
what they have done and continue to do.
What will I do?
What have I done?

They say they understood him
but they didn't.
They wonder why he would hurt himself,
they had no clue.
Objects in mirrors often appear closer
than they actually are.


  1. Man I can feel your pain. I'm busy with my pain but not too busy to empathize.

  2. Pain is special to each person, one of a kind. We can either choose to give in to it or use it to strengthen us.

    Craig Firsdon

  3. I really, really like "Normal."

    --Marisol Cortez