Sep 09


I can’t sleep.

What a simple complaint.
It’s what a child says in the depth of a restless night,
What one friend texts another at one a.m., when it’s pitch black.

I haven’t said it in a while, but it’s true for me.

And I feel the tiniest bit foolish writing this,
Because, as aforementioned,
It’s a simple complaint.

For some people.

For me, the phrase captures a not-so-nice place usually described as dark and fiery.
Quite perfectly, really,
Because every night,
I lay for hours
With my mind doing its best impersonation of a race car for me
And I try to fall asleep,
But it won’t let me.

And so I stay trapped.

And the next morning, I feel it,
And I move through my days a rather irritable zombie,
Until that night,
When my mind begins to race again.

It tells me things.
Things I usually don’t want to know.
Sometimes the things are about me.
When they are, they’re never good.
Or nice, or kind, or any of those things my mother told me I should always strive to be.
Sometimes I wish I had a pencil, to write the things down.
Sometimes I write them on my skin.
They’re always confusing the next day.
They don’t belong in the daylight,
But they make perfect sense in the dark.

Most nights, I lay begging my mind to stop tormenting me.
It turns out my mind is not a very good listener.
So I lay in silence,
Watching strange shapes move across the wall,
As it talks to me.

Sometimes people appear
I don’t much like them.
They range from mildly disturbing to quite horrifying.
usually, they're closer to the latter.

Some nights I want to cry or scream.
I usually don’t.
Neither helps, but if done improperly, both will wake up my family.
It usually isn’t worth the risk.

My mother once said
That not allowing people to sleep
Can actually be a form of torture.
I think that makes sense--there’s nothing more tortuous than being exhausted and trapped in wakefulness.
If that’s true, that makes me both the torturer and torturee, if that’s a word.
But I talk to myself all the time, and have no trouble accepting that.
I don’t think she understood why I liked the fact so much when she said it.

There are a few nights,
Not many, mind you,
Where I do fall asleep,
And during those nights,
My mind gets revenge on me for slipping away from its clutches,
And shows me horrors to make me regret it.
I always do.

So now,
I suppose,
We’re back at the beginning,
And I just wanted to let you know,

I can’t sleep.