poem 142* Insomnia; or, something to do while sleepless. Insomnia my friend, and so we meet again, Timey, weathered, well-worn, a wispy widow’s shawl Gnarled, knotted, nettled, webbed – here, try it on. Drape it Round my shoulders, see how the netting falls, feel how It clings, it stings, it drives me up the walls. Perhaps It tingles just a bit, legs cannot help but twitch, The flesh falls away from the vigor with which I Scratch the itch. The shawl has fallen cross my face and Now that itches too, but no movement’s possible Because the black lace sequined shawl, worsted nightscape, Tulle and leather, a spider’s web, a python’s cool Embrace, a hell-bent living thing entwined in death Entangled limbs, can’t flee, can’t move, breaking free and Falling fast, full body jolt…. What the hell was that? Those dogs again. What time is it? Oh lord, give me A break. Everything hurts; this must be some stranger’s Body, racing heart, shallow breath, joints aching like And old man…. If I don’t get some sleep, what about Tomorrow? There are a million things to do, I Have to get to work by two, I have a deadline Due, and it’s already six days late. I must, I Absolutely have to get to sleep this very Minute…. NOW WHAT? Those goddamn dogs again, and what’s This? The playboy of the Western world is coming Home at – what time is it? – oh for god’s sake. Who do You think you are? I’m getting just a wee bit pissed, I’m getting tireder and tireder of this, I ought To go down and give him a sharp shard of my mind. “I don’t know about you but some of us have to Work in the morning and can’t sleep all day. ” But of Course I won’t. It would take time and energy I Don’t have, get me all worked up, and take much longer Than it takes to half-dream fantasize – time during Which I would not sleep, lethargy grows faster than Universal entropy. Sooner would I weep. Staggering to the bathroom, wobbling back to bed, Stare straight into the darkness, got to clear my head. Let things settle down. Think some pleasant thoughts. (Not too Pleasant, they’ll keep you up all night too.) Think of where I’d rather be, the Pyramids or Zuiderzee. Forget about the money, forget about the Time, forget about the knots in every muscle. Easier said than done. Those frogs are so loud, leaves Rustle with the bustle of a riot-driven Crowd, dogs bark sporadically, distant horns blow Erratically and startle me each time I Deign to doze…, so help me if I hear one more of Those…. That’s it. SHUT UP AND I MEAN NOW! Out of the Window, for all the neighborhood to hear. But what? Silence? Dogs and crickets and late night reveler Finally in his bed? Even the leaves in the wind, As if taken aback, as if to wonder “What The hell was that?” The sheets give comfort now, cooler, Not the tentacled beast with which I struggle each Night. But the attention span of a pre-dawn world Is notoriously short. Here we go again. A far off conversation drifts through the window, Shouting, distant laughter at this god-awful hour, Birds begin to tune up for the day, the ever Discreet sanitation engineers announce their Garbage can sonata, Mozart played on a trash Compactor, the fanfare building toward crescendo At my curb. The clock that counted down this night says “You’re up in an hour,” I labor harder for sleep Than a peon on a pyramid. Angry, stressed, Trying with great effort to relax. Cookware clangs Nearby. Calm down. There’s eternity to sleep, a Billion undisturbed years; what’s a night or two here And there, a week, a month? And so it comes down to Serenity before the inevitable. She comes calling in the early hours, visiting A sick friend. We play endless games of solitaire Which we never finish; I cheat, but she doesn’t Seem to mind. We carry on silent dialogues That somehow I can’t recall when I look back on Them, except occasional sagacious advice Which has never led me wrong. I regard her as A loyal friend with nice legs, someone who cares. No Doubt mere vanity makes me think she wants me. Deep Inside something ardent bends to her, seduced, and Longs to leave with her each time she departs, as it Were, in a blink, from the corner of an eye, as Nature plays the morning music, as dawn perches On my sill, and sleep, ironically, beckons.
Posted on: Sat, 29 Mar 2014 14:02:29 +0000
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