One of the worst things to experience is not being able to do some simple human act that everyone else seems to take for granted. For me, it’s sleeping. I’ve been struggling with mild insomnia for years, but lately, in the past month or so, it’s become especially bad. On five or six nights recently, I’ve gone to bed at the normal time, and just lay there in the dark, the faint hum of electricity buzzing in me, keeping me wide awake all night long – all night, from 11 p.m. until the dreaded sunrise – unable to stave off my silent inner vibrations, unable to drive away the wild thoughts pouring in and out of my head, just lying there in the crazy darkness as the hours trickle away, as dawn inches closer. I can usually fall asleep for a little while after the sun comes up but end up getting only three or four hours in total, and not good sleep. Nevertheless – and this is the strangest part – it often suffices for the next day. One piece of chocolate and a couple cups of coffee and I’m feeling great, wide awake for the next 20 hours.
A Room Forever
Lying in an almost palpable silence,
the only thing he can hear is the blood
pulsing softly round his ears
and the thin voice that roused him from his sleep,
a voice like a wet vibrating
powerline or an overturned automobile
on a pre-dawn highway,
its wheels spinning like silk.
He rolls over on his side,
faces the empty wall.
He can almost hear the furniture breathing.
He can almost feel the silence pressing into his soul.
He can almost taste the fragrant trembling air.
He’s been awake in this room for years,
for years, his mind
with electricity, the voice inside him
going out of him, anxious to become
a lever-shaped door
an airplane carried off by the clouds,
a fallen petal returning to the branch.
He lay there listening as the coral-pink
light of dawn bleeds
through the underside of the curtains.