Binge and Mud: Poems of Invisible Illness

Ever since I was a child, I have divulged my deepest, darkest selves through poetry. Most of the time, it was terrible poetry, but the effect was the same. Writing poetry is therapy, a form of catharsis, a way to break down the world around me and inside me into digestible, if not unsavory, pieces.

With these original poems of invisible illness, I aim to pull back the sheets and explore the agony, ecstasy, and tedium of living with Chronic Migraine. They’re raw and real and I make no promises that they aren’t terrible:


On distraction
On medicine
On love
Drinking deeply half a dozen
Of everything that tastes good,
Everything that brings a twinge of pleasure
(how much more is needed to drown pain?)

My physical body is equally lustful
Every sensation
Every ray of light
Every ripple of sound
Taken into pain

Can you blame me
for my feasts?
Do you understand
My invisible burden,
My Grinding yet innocent wants,
(what could be more innocent
Than the simple desire for relief?)
life without the constant glow of pain?

I feel betrayed,
But by whom?

poems of invisible illness
Photo: Ryan Alonzo.


I collect steps, the cries of gulls,
The wing beats of swans
The taste of salt.
I slide through mud,
Past cowpies and sagebrush
Newly uncovered by the spring melt

I am here
I say to the Earth and no one
I am strong. I have worth. Like you.
I am here

my soft places ache
It’s neurobiological
Biological – yes – but neuro too
The sting of the neurotic still potent
Soft nerves
Fragile female
Pass the smelling salts

There is mud on my shoes again
a trophy to me
a symbol of another day lived

Most days my shoes are dry

The weight of disease makes my shoulders ache
Like a remnant twin,
a gall engorged in bark,
a wooden t grown heavier

Migraine plucks my nerves raw and
sinks thumbs into eyeballs
It rams sharp elbows in my gut and
Grates my skin
those soft places they tell you to aim for
In the event of an attack –

A stranger attack,
An attack by a man.
there is no fighting back during a Migraine attack
No skin to claw at or balls to crush

Nothing to do really
But draw the shades,
Close your eyes
and take it

My feet pound the soft water logged Earth
And she pushes me up gently
Here, here, here
My feet, my heart,
My temples thud
Here, here, here
Is the reply
Another day lived
Another day still intact,
If not badly frayed
And caked in mud.


Want to share your poems of invisible illness, Migraine, mental illness, or chronic pain?

Email me: (or use the contact form on this blog)

Unless otherwise stated, images belong to author

4 thoughts on “Binge and Mud: Poems of Invisible Illness

  1. I can see a lot of my self in your emotional journey through the devastation of living with migraines. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Diana, for reading and commenting. I’m glad I was able to give your experience some words, although, for both our sakes, I wish they were more positive. Life with Migraine is intense and painful and crappy a lot of the time. But those good days….bliss! Hang in there.


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