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

Alone, together

Where are we

but forever

Alone, together

in the cosmos

of our love.

Austin’s Iced, 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.

The time between collision and capsizing

There is something very scary

about imagining a life without flaw,

as if insecurities were a sin

you could merely pray away?

There’s something cynical in that,

something dangerous.

Something I haven’t the heart to feel,

it’s something impervious.

Because with great peril comes

an even greater awakening, an awakening

which floods the veins with frozen certainty

as the waters eating the Titanic.

It’s the time between collision

and capsizing, which we find ourselves

relieved of our blind faith, knowing

with grave admiration, the life

we’re living, is all we have.

July Reflection, 2020

The boy who cried gently to the wolf.

You can sense it you know,

yourself shutting down—again

with the change of scenery, again

with the change of heart.

It’s like trying to stop a freight train

running yourself empty, till

all there is is but to explode.

It’s a very empty place to be living.

It’s a very empty place to be born.

It’s a beautiful fall day, though, isn’t it?

Isn’t it beautiful, this

in depth exhibition of yourself—

without the guts, with all the answers

and nothing all that good say.

Again, another Fall. 2020

Regardless of the election.

There’s a sewer pipe

in the dark, by the L.A. river

like a grave in the ground

where people sleep

by the highway, by the neighborhood

where pumpkins soon

will be replaced by

feasts of Turkey, stuffing, corn

and carefully locked doors,

then to be replaced by balsams and fern

white lights and tender eyes

of Christmas morning,

regardless of the hole by the L.A. river

where people sleep

live, and love—and pray, regardless

of the election, regardless

of the president

I still weep.

Do you?

LA River. Nov 7, 2020

whether or not

Every morning

theres’s a woman

pruning bush, or

a bush pruning

woman, whether or not

either is real to me

it’s real to her,

that rose bush

pruned, green grass

now rising wet

in the morning dew

of chimney’s now

smoking, standing

in line at the DMV

with the DUI

unpaid, scratching lotto

old men lifting hats

scratching heads,

wondering like children

where all that hair

goes when it falls out

and if there’ll be

enough water

for the grass, in

the coming July drought,

no matter, still

does the woman prune

as the old me croon—

each mourning.

Victims

But there are no victims here,

just prisoners of choice,

who wear recycled smiles,

and boil inside.

Somewhere between 2011-2013

You just have to live.

Being sober’s

as overrated

as being drunk—

nobody wins.

You just have to live.