I hope to smile as I sit up
in bed from another night of sleep.
Real sleep, not the toss and turn,
the clusters of one-eyed
the bedclothes-shifting kick-flips
of the nocturnal 5000-meter
medley swimmer in the sheets.
I won’t be sad when
I sink to the bottom five minutes
after I dove under the covers,
as long as I don’t awaken
with a gasp and snort of a man
who really DID sink to the bottom
of a pool on his way to swimming out of
That guy doesn’t smile when dawn
slaps him like a walrus flipper
with that long arousal called
But that smile’s just a dream,
and we who don’t sleep
the good sleep tend not to dream.
And dreaming would be a dream come true.
Then dawn would break open
with a smile for me..and you…
The light that glowed on my days so brightly
has grown so dim I grope to find my way.
So the trail I leave behind’s unsightly,
full of debris, no longer smooth highway.
When you hang your life on a single speck
of illumination, a lodestar hook,
should others’ clouds cross your bow, you might wreck,
in the wake of the blind passage they took.
I suppose my best hope to find my course
would be to rely on dead reckoning.
Instead of moping in doldrums, I’ll force
ahead on my own path come beckoning.
So with faith as my guide, and eyes wide shut
I’ll sail with hope and rely on my gut.
Illustration from The Dream of Aengus, by Ted Nasmith
It’s a world I cannot find
when my eyes, like day’s,
close in the darkness.
I wish to see that face,
hear the stories she can tell,
follow it where its may lead.
But I only lie in silence,
with an eye-blink, lids down
and snapping back open,
seemingly in a slice of a second,
yet six hours passing.
In that speck of time perceived,
she my forebears called Caer Ibormeith
never appears, doesn’t invite me
to her realm, and I awaken
with my mind’s hands empty
of what you take for granted
yet I never grasp…
Sleep and lust once shared
with me this bed where I lay.
They were my youth’s balm,
my refuge, bedmate and love.
Now we are estranged,
Nights are but numbed-over Days.
reflecting dark dawn’s light
on old eyes that see
how Night and I have wasted
each other again.
Went back to the origins of my poetic life, writing of my wretched sleepless or fitful nights in links of haiku-like lines of five and seven syllables. Restful sleep has once again become my obsession and unattainable treasure. And whatever facilities I have to speak to you suffer from this loss. With this numbness I grow more mute and isolated by the day.
“If a story is in you … It has to come out.” ~ William Faulkner
I woke at 4:03 this morning,
a not uncommon fact of middle-aged life.
But what rousted me from slumber
wasn’t the siren call of
the porcelain throne.
Inspiration nudged me for snoring
my muse kicked me for stealing
my gut, like an old dog, woke me
to let it out for a walk
to the notebook.
This is the mid-night urge
to relieve myself of a poem
or story that can’t wait until
morning reveille to turn from
night dream to written reverie.
And I never hit that snooze button
when I hear that call.
Wrote this while dinner was cooking tonight, in response to Annie Fuller’s Writing Outside the Lines prompt from this past week. It’s that quote from Faulkner. I’ve been a little tied up with writing something or other a day April and May, but I try like hell to get Annie’s challenge in.
Outside, the ground simmered,
or maybe sizzled,
as pouring rain pocked
the horizon-wide puddles
whenever chains of lightning
strobed one after another.
A surreal scene, yet natural
as gravity that drew
heavy drops earthward
to splash as if the ground
had reached boiling point,
so hot no one ventured
standing in the middle
of this stormy Spring griddle.
As daybreak nudged the
darkness away, prodding
the storm out ahead in
its march to Tuesday,
I cracked open my curtains
and revealed a landscape lush
with greens and obsidian
roadways, and streams chiming
morning prayers like hundreds
of church bells.
Night holds her mysteries close,
within the folds of her velvet cloak.
This is the garment in which she intends
to wrap you, to transform you into
another of her secret children she holds
so snug you can hear her heartbeat.
Perhaps you’ve perceived her wordless
poem in iambic meter, the soft something
that goes buh-bump buh-bump in night,
as you enfold yourself within her embrace,
full of hope to escape the blinding realities
of day, where you’re but a speck of dust
among its billions of souls, rather than
night’s only child there in your bed.
Alone, even if you’re lying close enough
to another you can hear their version
of night’s mysterious limping lullaby.
Buh-bump, buh-bump, buh-bump, until you’re
a castaway floating alone in the soft, black
embrace of another of night’s passages
Day 17’s NaPoWriMo poem, in the form of a nocturne, a musical composition meant to be played at night, usually for piano, and with a tender and melancholy sort of sound.