I need some help tricking my body back into sleeping. Nothing so severe as drugs or listening to recordings of my college professors reading my poems about heartbreak while ocean waves recede in the background. I do not need enough help to emit a shrill cry. Consider this a late night murmur. A secret you sort of wish you heard but not enough that you lose sleep over it. I do not want Your sleep. I want mine back. And, yes, I know what my sleep looks like. I've had doctors who must have firmly believed my sleep had run away for good, try to pawn off someone else's sleep on me. Dreams about bicycles and jellyfish. All those strands of al dente fettuccine tying themselves into knots to push the pedals forward faster than any human could, with no need for the ridiculous miner helmets I have to wear in the city. Bioluminescent privilege. Those were not my dreams. Even my resting brain is more practical. Lovers I forgot to pick up at the grocery store, even though they were clearly on my list. My laundry folding itself into human form and rolling my sleeping body to the laundromat to get the stains of my desire out. Maybe hem some of my supposedly reasonable expectations.
My roommate took some old photographs of my sleeping down to Staples, printed out some flyers, and posted them to the sexiest telephone poles in Camberville. I'm sure you saw them. What else are telephone poles good for in this future where everyone uses mobile phones and wifi.
Electricity? Why do we call them telephone poles if they're all burdened with power and cable now? Let's call them what they are: cylindrical wooden billboards. Homes for poorly xeroxed copies of missing pets and my sleep.
My boss suggested I post something on Craigslist. Like technology and the internet stopped in 2006 and people are still willing to contend with text based websites where sex traffickers and murderers have to guess if your photograph, if you've provided one, is real. He's a hoot. But not a hootenanny.
You remember my sleep, though, right? All those mornings you saw it splayed out on your couch when it missed the last bus home. How it used to massage my neck at work, tilt my head to the window on the train, and then hide behind the refrigerator when I wanted it in my bed?
This is getting as bad as the summer I took the job working the opening shift at my uncle's coffeehouse and I had to pretend I was always oversleeping so that no one would suspect that I lost the keys the very first week.
My mother sent me my childhood exhaustion via UPS. Like it would still fit me. Like I am not a foot and a half taller, and four times as heavy. Ok, sure, I tried it on when I was the only one home, but I could tell it looked ridiculous on me, like a sixty year old in a cheerleader outfit or a proctologist with a smile. I put it in the rolling tupperware under my bed. I'll probably forget it until the next move.
My dog's therapist recommended I jog or run with Sebastard at night. Who can sleep with a racing heart? Or a winded and flatulent Mexican Hairless? I'm going to need to find Sebastard an analyst with a better understanding of human physiology and dog psychology. I'm pretty sure "Doctor" Yolanda has some sort of deal with Petsmart, as Sebastard never plays with any of the toys she suggests might help him come to terms with his Resting Yuckface, and the doggy Prozac hasn't calmed either of us.
I've tried all the supposedly calming teas my father swears by. I just spend more time getting up to pee.
Yesterday, I was convinced I saw my sleep waving at me from my next door neighbor's roof but it turned out to be some guy attaching solar panels. Once I realized it was a stranger, I imagined that he wasn't so much waving at me as trying to ward off a swarm of hornets. Judging by his brief bursts of disgusted eye contact, I figured out that he was expressing displeasure that I was standing nude at the window, staring at him. Like I'm the one who told him to climb up on a roof at nine o'clock in the morning and look into nearby windows.
When I was a baby and couldn't sleep, my mother would drive me in circles around the neighborhood until I finally quieted. I don't know whether I should take a trip to the house where I grew up and see if my sleep went there, or if I should start checking the windows of passing cars.
Before you bother asking, of course I've tried masturbation. I've tried waiting to start projects right before deadline. I've tried counting sheens jumping over fences, drinking warm whiskey, calling my sleep and leaving a series of alternatingly calm or desperate voicemails. Nothing has worked. My methods are unemployable.
I read somewhere that the effects of three days without sleep is similar to doing LSD. This is well-rested propaganda. I haven't slept in over a week, and the only bright, pulsating colors I've seen have been the reflection of my neighbor's Christmas lights, which they put up before their pumpin rotted. Their rotten pumpkin is, of course, still there. Maybe they are hoping that their solar panels can bring it back to life.
For me, the effects of a week without sleep is merely boredom. I've run out of 80s sitcoms to bingewatch. I find myself rereading the same paragraphs in the same books I always read. Not because I don't understand them but because I'm hoping their familiarity will rock me into coma.
If you find my sleep while I am not at home, please lock it into Sebastard's cage. Leave a post-it note with the name of the person you would like rewarded (if you, personally, wish to remain anonymous). When I If I wake up after My Sleep and I wrestle our long communion, I will send that person half of whatever they feel they are most lacking in life. Be it money, scallop shells, or enough votes to get to the next level of whatever awful music show is currently popular on network television. I will very nearly be there for them.
If you don't find my sleep, please don't call or text me, asking if I've found it. You'll know, by galoshes, because you won't hear anything from me for weeks.
What Is This All About?
This page is where the content from previous poetry blogs have been condensed. It's not on the menu, since most of these projects are over, or on hiatus, but the posts are still here to peruse.