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Phantom Pain is an erasure project of The Phantom of the Opera. The Phantom of the Opera has been adapted across many types of media, including text, stage, and film which this project will work to include. The story portrays Christine, an orphaned woman who becomes the toxic obsession of the Phantom. By selecting and mapping particular words, images, and music from the source texts, this project will rewrite the story from one of love to one of someone overcoming abuse. Phantom Pain is a reclamation for Christine and those who identify with her.


KRISTINE ESSER SLENTZ’S work oftentimes strives to focus on the feminine human experience. In her previous publications, SLENTZ examines the impacts sexuality has on gender and queer perception through the redaction of documentation, experimental poetics, and hybrid artwork. While predominately a poet, she often incorporates other mediums to better communicate these conversations. She wishes to inform and influence these topics to those who seek to know more and those already in these communities with introspective knowledge and positive attributes. 

of me




please promise

once again 

to take 


                                                                       spare me

                                                                    or remember 


stop          think 

                              think the things

seen don’t                         think




silent resigned 

imagine me

too hard

to recall 

look back

             think never

when                                  think 


it seems 

young and 

innocent fade 




please promise




those heavenly amongst us                 – my friends

we promise to burn in a fiery glory –



be weak, hungry, lonely


pain, loss, sorrow


I love

           I love

I love


birth      is about all sorts of things

bonfires             bigger than money 

you know we can afford it


His way, don’t have a bonfire 

want something bad    – pray to Jesus 

kind things, I get them

that's all

talk of forget 

fears               I’m here


harm me 


dry side to guard


say love






shelter safe 

– find fears __

behind always 

~share love~


solitude here



go too


each morning 

I love me 

that’s all 


that’s all.

KRISTINE ESSER SLENTZ is the author of woman, depose (FlowerSong Press 2021) and the forthcoming artist book The Archives (Kintsugi Books 2024). She is originally from northwest Indiana and the Chicagoland area. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) from City College of New York (CCNY) where she is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor. KRISTINE has been a Pushcart Prize nominee, finalist in the Glass Poetry Chapbook Contest, Flash Fiction Contest finalist for F(r)iction, and recipient of a CCNY English Department Teacher-Writer Award, Rifkind Fellowship, and former Poets Afloat resident.

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