I would point to your impermanence, but you already know that you will die. Truly, such an obvious fact isn’t worth mentioning. Nor should we dwell on the futility of material satisfaction. Even God admits that it’s fleeting. Even He, the enemy of man, admits that all things are sand between starved fingers (all the more reason to pursue material possessions more vigorously, happy one! Everyone knows that if you sift enough sand, it will stop falling through your fingers and simply swallow you whole). These tired and weary testimonies to human misery have been called to the front lines too often. They swoon with exhaustion and cannot lift the battle standards any longer. They lack the force of proof.
But did you know that you are in pain? Yes, even now. Close your eyes for a moment. Breathe in and out evenly, holding each breath for a few seconds. Don’t count the seconds, or you will focus on the numbers and blur the sensations of your body. Breathe and still your mind until your thoughts quieten and the letters signifying them glow gently against the crimson backdrop of your eyelids. They are golden, these signifiers, wafting in your mind like swollen corpses in a pond. Now, imagine your internal organs, sacks of bloody tissue reclining in the cradle of your skeleton. If you remove them from their designated areas and hold them aloft, they sag with the damp weight of blood and waste, sliding from palm to palm like an unruly jellyfish. They yearn for their skeletal cage of sharp edges, although each edge is enough to tear the external tissue and splatter the internal contents like vomit against a sidewalk. Your stomach trembles in your bloody hand. You hoist it above your shoulders, and with all your might, you sling it back into your eviscerated abdomen. It snags on a rib and bruises before resting against your firm liver. A thin, orange substance seasoned with blood leaks from the punctured sac and spreads across your small intestines. Do you feel the abdominal burning? Do you notice the throbbing knot in the pit of your being? The offending rib is to be punished. Grasp it between your slippery hands and snap it off. White hot agony blackens your brain. Sink the jagged end into your intestine. A new flavor of pain, deep and throbbing, demands attention. Blood leaks from your anus. Convulsions are near. Resist the temptation of shock. Immerse yourself in the sensations. These pains are forever merely inches away, right beneath the flesh, closer to you than the coffee cup by your hand, more real than this book. Pain is the only thing in this world that is truly immanent.
-C. M. Bartolomeo