My Pain Hurts (Part One)
The Secret Diaries of Henry Rollins
Published August 2, 1999 in Dirt

See: My Pain Hurts: Part Two
My Pain Hurts: Part Three

See also...
... in the Dirt section
... from August 2, 1999

The horror. The pain. The unconquerable loneliness, the unbearable heaviness of being. But, that's Denny's for you. I need coffee, black no cream. Cream is the saccharine lightener that spreads its foul hope through the darkness of my soul. Cream is the lie at the root of this tragedy we call existence. Cream is for wheat, farina, not men.

This is day # 87 of my twenty-third world tour, the one that started on Easter Island for the Tortoise Festival. In my years on the road I've eaten roasted slug on the barren Serengeti, dined on marsupial stew in the murky swamps of the Australian Outback, and picnicked on brie and baguettes in the shadow of L' Arc de Triomphe. But you just can't beat a Denny's Grand Slam Breakfast.

Eggs: hard like life, bacon: crispy not tender (never tender), and toast: white like me. I open a magazine. It's lies, all lies. They say I'm playing tonight, but I never play. They call it a show, but I don't put on shows. They call me Rollins. Okay, I guess some of it's true.

The waitress brings me five raw eggs and a milk shake glass. No one understands.

Did the concert on a treadmill last night. I figure to hell with a sound system, what about my cardiovascular system? Saw some spindly-legged rock critics taking notes by the side of the stage, made a mental note to buy toothpicks.

Took a look behind me, saw four guys with big wooden objects hovering. Survival instincts kicked in. I kneed one in the solar plexus, speared another with a sharpened mic stand. Chaos, smelled fear like a dead dog, slashed the third guy with a broken Gatorade bottle and the last one took off running for his life. Total silence all around me.

Realized later it was my band. Does anyone know who's in it anymore? Made another mental note.

Girls can be so confusing. I met one at the show last night who said I had "nice pecs." Sometimes the stupidity and shallowness of the female animal really amazes me.

I've played 385 shows this year. I exercise, weight-train, eat right and take vitamin supplements every half an hour. I practice a martial art so deadly they couldn't even think of a name for it. I'm lobbying for "Hank Chung."

I'm on a mission here, a quest. I write books and make records and ride the endless night like a shock trooper of rock. My Art is my Life, my Life is my Art. I have become an Art machine. I have been to the mountain top and I've scraped the bottom of the barrel just hunting for something honest, something real in the murk and decay and all she can say is I have "nice pecs"?

Actually, her pecs were kind of nice, too. I'm sorry I slugged her so hard.

In the van later, reading Dante's "Inferno," ruminating on the concept of death. I'm against it. No place to work out.

Audience screaming for the old songs again. Nostalgia makes me want to yak. Wrote a song today while changing a tire on the bus.

Angry, the twisted hand of fate

Replaced the upper plate

In my head now I'm dead

Angry, the sun is shining black

It's hungry like the yak

The kids are all on crack and I'm

Angry, yes indeed, the mountains are

Big don't bleed

They're all I ever really need I'm

Angry, I hear the words

We can not fly we are not birds

The Bosnians, the Croats, the Serbs they're


I'm thinking about calling it "Perturbed." On second thought, I don't like it anymore. It rhymes.

See: My Pain Hurts: Part Two


By Junior Downey
Junior Downey is the author of
Greedy Media: The Blind Leading the Retarded and a past recipient of the PEN/Faulkner award for bad writing.