Insomnia: A Short Story

The television’s on.

It’s freezing in here.

I should probably be asleep, but I’m not.

It’s 4:53. It’s always 4:53, when, click, the heat turns on.

Now the draft from the window’s competing with the dull heat, which smells like last years dust, pouring through the vent, above the door, which leads to the living room where the TV’s still on.

In about an hour the sun will be up and it will be another morning.

I can’t tell yet whether or not I’ll be excited or scared, but either way, I have to write my grandmother—thanking her for the letter she sent a couple days prior—she used to fill the cards with glitter but doesn’t anymore…

Perhaps there’s a glitter shortage, I don’t know.

I’ve been pulling my beard out again, which I don’t like, but still do. Why? A doctor would probably claim it’s nerves but by this point in life I know better than that.

It’s funny really, thoughts, how they come and go as easily as a hair can be plucked from your chin.

If I had eggs in the fridge I’d probably boil some for breakfast but I don’t have any because yesterday while shopping I’d debated prices in my head for what seemed like too long to be debating prices of eggs, causing an uncomfortable feeling I just couldn’t shake, making me anxious and aware that I’d been standing in the isle for what seemed like eons though was probably only a couple minutes, still, too long to be debating whether or not I wanted to pay 2.39 or 2.99 for a dozen of eggs.

The heat feels good now, while the right side of my face warms up, the left side is still dealing with the draft from the window.

Common sense tells me to close the window though my better judgement says to just let it be. What’s the point, really?

It’s 5:06 now. It’s always 5:06.

The repetitive nature of this statement keeps recurring in my mind as if the idea isn’t fully mine, though I use it anyway.

Perhaps it’s my conscious mind coming back to me? Perhaps it’s programming I just don’t have the strength to deny, either way…whatever.

It’s 8:08 on the East Coast. My mother’s probably pouring coffee, reading the morning news. My brother’s probably already dragged himself from bed and into work. My nephew’s to school. My sister-in-law to her studio where she makes jewelry from metal and her imagination.

Their routine gives me comfort because right now I don’t have one.

This pandemic has us all in a pretty weird state of affairs, though, my affairs have always been pretty weird now that I think about it.

At least I’m writing again. That’s good.

Everything is pretty all right right now—knock on wood.

And what if this is as good as it gets? Hog wash.

At least it’s warm in here, closing the window, watching the sun rise.

My nail beds are long. I’ve always been told that. “You’ve got piano hands,” they said once, go figure, I don’t play—if I did this would probably make for a better story though, well, you know.

Turning off the TV seems irrational as it’ll just get turned on again tonight, unless, unplugging the TV—Ah! That’s better.

Insomnia, it’s the breakfast of champions.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, the letter.

A Song Once Sung To An Infant Under The Gun.

Today the time ran out

just as it had begun—

Hot water fills the tub

you swore you’d never become—

It’s warm and shallow now

cut servings for only one—

The echo down the hall, well

that’s just yesterdays love—

Now it’s all become a song once sung

to an infant under the gun.

Today the moon refused

to trade place with the sun—

Sidewalks full of people

but still you know only one—

It’s an impossible force

that drags you from yourself—

Now it’s all become a song once sung

to an infant under the gun.

I try, you know I do, to balance

fault lines and faith, the surgeons

steel blade, it draws a bridge between both—

It’s a symphony of simple things

that will seem eclipsed by the sun—

Cause it’s all become a song once sung

to an infant under the gun.

California, 2020

Plain clothes

Let’s make this hard demeanor

seem effortless as clothes,

worn to keep you even

keeled, careful and alone, but

we’re not an island, flower petal

rock or sinking stone,

he’ll take the time, reverse the crime

and kill me in plain clothes.

Her love was his compass

Her love
was his compass,
her blessing
his disguise,
in the pale blue light
of moon and
mother night,
her arms, his refuge
from the stormy sky
she spoke to him
like stars,
light years from afar
she held him
as the cosmos
were destined to align

Sanibel Florida

Topanga

Halogen yellow bursts

of light, turn signals

burn bright, through

white lines of Topanga

Morning sunrise, her and I

up all night, we rise

like silhouetted tree

under the belly of LA sky,

gaze upon a sea of fog

clouds, shower faint

hallucinations of

spontaneous future

Travel

October. Topanga Beach

The saint in me is still a sinners son

I look at then

and I see me now

There’s people chanting

standing in a crowd

I wanna join in

try to help them out

But my mouth’s cashed checks

that just seem to bounce

Who be it that you try to believe

Who always turns into a parody

Now brush your teeth and try to behave

They’re all gonna hate you eventually

I look at then

but still see myself

Eyes wide shut

full of fear and doubt

She plucked the fruit

from the apple tree

As I stood staring

still I couldn’t believe

Who be it that you try to become

The saint in me is still a sinners son

Who be it that you try to believe

Now you’re all dressed up living a fantasy

I look at now

like she saw me then

All fed up

fist balled paper and pen

There’s dishes broken

on the kitchen floor

The serpent speaks

in tongues I can’t ignore

Who be it that you thought you saw in me

A break fix and used return policy

Who be it that I thought I saw in you

But what difference does it make there’s an election soon