Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Painflower Blossoms

March 20th, 2010

A malevolent bloom, knife-edged petals in my brain,
an unwanted blossom, unfurling, sculpting pain.
How long beneath the surface were you creeping, unseen?
Tension nurtures, hunger feeds you, worry grows you evergreen.
Each day ill-rested that I drag me from my bed,
pull on clothing, pour down coffee, wear my cares upon my head,
each day pushing, each day working at the work to stay alive,
is another day you’re growing, so to cut me as I strive.
Flower of blood, flower of evil, ugly flower of dawning pain,
Growing stronger, cutting deeper, sculpting patterns in my brain.

- Megan Oltman

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Catching Up

June 3rd, 2009

A poem about talking to others about chronic illness.

Catching Up

What’s going on? (pain in my head and struggle every day)
I write and work, children grow and amaze,
I walk the field when I am able and drink in the richness of the world.
Many days my world narrows to this pain in my head, and my struggle:
I must try – help to keep this family afloat, and I haven’t the stamina
or time free from pain
to stay on my feet more than half the day.

Why haven’t I told you?
I could not bear the disappointment in your eyes,
the well-meant advice and suggestions.
This was never who I set out to be.
I did not say I think I will grow up, yes I,
this talented and brilliant child,
I will grow up to be a sick person.
No, this was not my agenda.

Why have I been out of touch?
I could not bear the hope in your voice,
when I have a good day – that now I will be all better,
I could not bear you rushing to me with your cures for the incurable.
I could not bear your pain for me, mirroring my pain for me.
I could not bear my envy of your life.
I have learned lessons costly in the teaching
and too painful for a Christmas letter.

Hope is with me every day. And fourteen years of worsening health,
more Migraines,
I grow older, the future is uncertain.
I have a sensitive system,
I have fought knowing that I have a sensitive system,
and it has cost me.

Now I try acceptance for a change.

What’s new with you?

- Megan Oltman

Writing pen image courtesy of Toshiyuki IMAI.

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Posted in Communicating | Comments (7)

Counting Down to Thunder

May 25th, 2009

In this season of thunderstorms, I am finding my head more and more like a barometer, predicting the electric activity in the atmosphere.  I hope you are enjoying your Memorial Day weekend – mine has had its ups and downs with the weather! I did want to share a poem of mine with you – it won an honorable mention in the Putting our Heads Together Migraine and Headache Poetry Contest this year.

Counting Down to Thunder

Counting down to thunder,
how many miles the storm lurks in the night?
Lightning pierces slumber,
grasp the shattered shards of sleep.

Where the welcome rain?
Where the soothing break in summer’s pain?

Storms without at last pile high upon the storms within -
thunder’s crash inside my skull tore life from many days.
Come tempest wash it clean again.

- Megan

Lightning image courtesy of Ian Boggs.

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Posted in Communicating, Musings | Comments (0)

Great Poetry inspired by Pain

April 28th, 2009

I’m really impressed by the winning poems in this year’s Putting Our Heads Together Migraine and Headache Poetry Contest, over at My Migraine Connection.  I don’t impress that easily when it comes to poetry – these are an exceptionally well written bunch, lyrical, moving, interesting, sometimes funny, sometimes wacky.  I guess it’s only fair to let you know I have an honorable mention in there, but I’m not saying all this to boast.  I’m very happy to be included but I think mine is far from the best.

I’m in the midst of a not very creative Migraine at the moment – some Migraines leave me able to write eloquently and some leave me pretty wordless, you know? I guess it’s a question of which part of my brain the storm is passing over.  I’d love to be able to tell you more about what moves me in these poems, and why, but it’s beyond me right now.  Would you go read some, and come back and share your favorites with me?  I’m particularly fond of the fourth place entry, “Pain Breaks Like Teeth” by Kate Brady, which opens

Pain breaks like teeth into rice cakes all over the floor.  My pieces aren’t swept up because I haven’t cleaned in weeks.


- Megan

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Migraine and Headache Poetry Contest

March 22nd, 2009

The ninth annual Migraine and Headache poetry contest is going on now at MyMigraineConnection.  Teri Robert, patient advocate and Migraine expert on, has kicked off the “Putting Our Heads Together” Poetry Contest. The contest seeks poetry on how Migraine disease and/or headache disorders affects your lives. You can submit up to three poems, in any style, for the contest – the more creative, the better! To enter the “Putting Our Heads Together” poetry contest, visit: Poetry Contest.

As those of us who blog on Migraine can tell you, writing is a one of many creative outlets that can help you cope with this disease. Make art out of pain, and help others find fellowship and understanding. Don’t worry if you think you’re not a poet. Poetry is painting pictures with words – hold your brush lightly, don’t think too hard, don’t force it, let it flow. Rhyme, or don’t rhyme, play with the rhythm and music of the language. I hope to see you in the contest!

- Megan

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Posted in Communicating, Weblogs | Comments (0)

Migraine Haiku – Just for the Fun of it

October 23rd, 2008

We’ve got to laugh, otherwise we’ll cry.  And you know crying is just going to make your head hurt worse, so why do it?  Migraine Chick can always make me laugh, whether the deep belly laugh of recognition, or the delighted giggle of the absurd.  She has published a book collecting her Migraine Haiku, together with her priceless illustrations, which is available at Migraine Chick Cafe Press for $13.95.  I ordered mine.

Would you like your Migraines with or without giggles?  I prefer mine with.  I haven’t yet found the menu with just giggles, no Migraines.

- Megan Oltman

Fluffy chick and migraine haiku image copyright 2008 by Migraine Chick, of course.

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Posted in Books, Silliness | Comments (0)

this time it doesn’t even rhyme

August 30th, 2008

Who’s that trying to remove my brain?

Crack my skull and scoop it out like an egg?
Maybe they’re trying to get me to leave -
If they whack me on the temple a few more times
I might leave town, you never know.

Who’s that trying to remove my brain?
last week they tried grapefruit spoons -
serrated edges scraped my skull – is it sectioned inside like a fruit?

This week blunt instruments are in vogue
I wish they’d learn some anger management.

I wish they’d stop trying to remove my brain.
What did I ever do to them?
Maybe they don’t like silly poetry
Made up by a migraine-addled red-head.
They’re over-reacting, I swear.

There must be someone trying to remove my brain

I know they’re trying to remove my brain.
It hurts like they’re trying to remove my brain -
crack my skull with a nutcracker and pick out the meat
couldn’t just be my own neurons going nuts…
Could it?

- Megan

Coming to you from Migraine Central

Soft-boiled egg image courtesy of Sharon Mollerus; grapefruit image courtesy of x-eyedblonde; walnut image courtesy of Masayoshi Sekimura.

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Posted in Silliness | Comments (2)

Silly Headache Rhymes – Frigraine Edition

August 1st, 2008

Along on Friday afternoon, I started seeing red.

A Migraine came to visit and it smacked me in the head.
It whacked me on the temple; it threw me for a loop.
I almost tossed my cookies as I staggered on the stoop.
I should have slept this morning; I should have slept last night.
I should have been born perfect, and then I could live right!

- Megan Oltman

Frigraine is what I call those sneaky Friday afternoon/evening Migraines – they always come when I’m pushing to get work completed for the week.  Not getting enough sleep Thursday night doesn’t help either.

Migraine hamster image courtesy of Anita Martinz.

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Posted in Silliness | Comments (2)

Silly Headache Rhymes

July 16th, 2008

In honor of the brilliantly funny Migraine Chick who periodically brings us her Bad Migraine Haiku, and maybe just because I am fundamentally a silly person, I bring you installment One of Silly Headache Rhymes:

My head is not too spiffy,
it’s really kinda iffy,
I’d trade it in a jiffy
if I had an extra head!

- Megan Oltman

Two-headed image courtesy of 1024greenstreet.

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Posted in Silliness | Comments (2)

Migraine Poetry

May 7th, 2008

By now, I hope you’ve had a chance to read some of the wonderful poetry at the 2008 Putting Our Heads Together Migraine and Headache Poetry Contest.  Congratulations again to all the winners.  There were an enormous number of excellent entries – I don’t envy the judges!

My own entry was way down the list.  With your indulgence, I reprint it here.

Never Get Used to It

We never got used to the drunk next door
who broke bottles on the stoop past midnight, cussed all
staggered into us as we left the apartment.
He was a feature of the landscape we were glad to leave

when we moved away.

Along with the upstairs landlords
whose children jumped off the couch above my head, all day,
while I napped with my newborn,
who thought 3 a.m. was a good time to install carpeting, KaChunk
KaChunk all night,
who coated the back yard in weed killer, fumes rolling into
our ground floor apartment – they were a feature of the landscape we never got
used to.
So we moved away.

We never got used to the dirty old busybody next door with
his nasty comments.

We never pulled up the blinds or trimmed the hedge on his
side of the house.
We just moved away. Again.

You’d think you’d get used to the pain – it’s a bore. There’s no excitement in pain.
Just the startled moment when it comes again, crashing like
the bottles on the stoop.
Just the deadly hours of enduring, KaChunk, KaChunk,
don’t pull up the blinds and let it look in.
Never get used to the scraping, boring, searing,
Pain management?
I thought pain could recede, a feature of the landscape to
ignore, like the cracks in the pavement.
I never thought this was a landscape I could not move away

No moving van. No
packing boxes.

No new home without the pain.
Open your boxes and find the drunken, staggering,
dirty old busybody pain.

No ear plugs. No gas
masks. No prisoners taken. No quarter given.
Never get used to it.

Respectfully submitted,

Megan Oltman

Broken Bottles image courtesy of Vertigogen Window Blinds image courtesy of Matt Callahan Packing Box image courtesy of Tim Herrick

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Posted in Communicating, Weblogs | Comments (4)

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