"...but the worst of all is to get no sleep either night or day; for it follows from this symptom that the insomnolency is connected with sorrow and pains, or that he is about to become delirious." – Hippocrates
Brought to you by Weeknight Sound Track and your own troubled mind.
Perhaps you live nearby a large old-fashioned chiming church clock. Or you don't and your nights are uninterrupted stretches of quiet, with only the backdrop of the cars whizzing by outside of your windows. But for the purpose of right here and now, let us assume for a time that you do live near that ancient stained church with the yellowing clock because outside of your bedroom, in the chilled quiet air, that clock just sang out two A.M. and it's a Wednesday.
Me and the Stars, Fretblanket
Your eyes are thankfully still closed. And you're awake, still, even after hours of lying very quietly in the thick darkness. But without seeing, the hour is relative only to how much time you’ve actually felt pass you by. In the land behind your eyelids, you were never really awake this night and sleep washed over you easily. A slight flicker of consciousness, followed by almost instant recognition and comfortable acceptance of the surroundings – this is all that is occurring. Or if it is a dream then the clock's red glow has no meaning so, you wonder, what reason is there to peek? None at all.
Disappointed, The Frames
Out of a sense of what should be, you reach out to your lover for that sleepwarm kiss that would send you back into that doze that never was. Forgotten hours later, a touch of soft skin, fingers brushing something soft, scented sweetly, this, you know would send you into oblivion. Here it begins, really begins, for making contact with nothing but cool, unwrinkled sheets reminds you that you are alone. Not in any deep, profound way, just solitary in your bed too big for one on a night that is growing darker by the hour.
My Parent's House, Hayden
An adult lullaby: (when followed as directed should soothe like a parent’s storybook voice) Erasing the world via mental regression. You are sixteen years old again, wiping pink frozen hands on clean white snow to wash away the scent of stolen Camel Lights. When he told you that he preferred to sleep alone, you came back with a real zinger that took five years to uncover. You are, in order, a king, the last man left on Earth, a real smooth talker, fighting sixteen orcs, an Olympic class gymnast and very tired. Two of the most beautiful words, as predicted, shuttled in on a cloudy imagined river. Sleep, glorious, sleep, delicious insomuch as it tastes of everything at once. You are it, sleep, and it is becoming you.
My Best Friend, Magnapop
There, you have it and it's yours like the orgasm that you wanted so badly but then brought about with despicable fantasies that you'd be too embarrassed to relate. Did it make the waves of hot sweetness any less valid, or this, finally, so you've stopped pretending that you’ve been asleep all night. Feet, hands, arms, legs and at long last, the head. Sweetness, bleep beep, the time rhyme, grey haze has descended and we are cleared for shut eye. Beat one. Beat two. EYES OPEN, SLEEPYHEAD! This ain't no Disney film, and so with no songs or fanfare you are all at once whipped back into life with a capital L.
Objective: In the next five minutes, you will discover all that you did wrong in a certain social exchange that occurred this afternoon. You will glance at the telephone four times, willing it to ring but not admitting that to yourself. You will turn over and then turn your pillow over, gripping the corners. Patterned happenings: The clock will continue to be a draw, to the point that you fancy that you can feel the numbers turning over. The two gracefully shifting into a three, thereby adding illumination to your colorless room. All cats look grey in the dark, repeat. Your first inclination is to turn on the light until realizing that it would be counter-productive to add splash to the world you’re ignoring as best you can.
Burning Clutch, Land of the Loops
Taking two, you play the number games that serve as the intellectuals' sheep enumerations. Counting backwards from five hundred saying your name in place of all instances of the number seven sounds promising until you come to understand the concentration needed to do this. Concentration, of course, leads to worry. And worry leads to nothing but larger versions of itself, fruitless but so compelling, especially for a mind teeming with unused synaptic energies, such as your own. Pick something: cell phones cause cancer; you may be hit by a car tomorrow; right now your grandma could be gasping for breath, alone like you, but physically much more fragile; etc. and etc.
I Woke Up In Love This Morning, David Cassidy with The Partridge Family
The fun part about this game is that you get to chose your very own worry, like make your own sundae or pizza! So insert your own irrational, back-of-the-mind worries here. And then strike sleep from your mind because frankly, the liquor ran out at around nine and you're just drunk on the quiet, lonely and dark. Halfway into the hour and no lover to turn over to, it strikes you that out of all the sleeping little twenty-somethings in this city, you might just be the most pathetic. And tomorrow won't be any better. Where are they isn’t a question that bears asking, because the only answer is "not here" which is not helping. HAHAHA! And leave no stone unthrown.
You try your silly ersatz life situations again, running through your mind like a private film showing where you are always the star quarterback and the one who gets the girl. Forgetting: ("All my sleep has fled because of the bitterness of my soul"—Isaiah 38). Up and down, through vines and busy streets and maybe even the Congo, the silence finally getting to you somewhere during that fateful hour when the President shakes your hand because you have finally discovered close to light speed technology while taking a break from your tenth novel (the old meaningful tale about racial prejudice retold as a space adventure). Your lids are so weighty that you have to climb back down into the bed you never left.
The Inner Light Theme, Star Trek: the Next Generation
Sweet relief means settle in, the smell of lead candle wicks now gone but the comfort of a bright point of light is no less real, even when you’ve created your own. The first moonrise, yes, it’s that peaceful and so at first nonsensical. Did the late night travelers all choose routes that detoured away from your walls? There they go, feet, hands, arms, legs and then the trunk, all falling into sleep, numb so long as you keep still. Ignore the itches and twitches of being alive a little longer and this cockamamie plan just might work. Five minutes, then six, or so you’ve estimated and it can't be much longer. No, not much time at all before something happens one way or the other but peace. Enjoy the peace, please.
Captain Feathersword Fell Asleep on His Pirate Ship, The Wiggles
Like some child's birthday eve, tucked into bed to sleep until another year older and thus obviously so much bigger, he doesn’t know what he'll get and neither do you, but like the little boy, elation, strange and sudden comes upon you and you can’t help kicking out your legs and wriggling under the covers. But still sleepy, it has made little difference. Fine, good, and then the mad rush of ideas insinuates itself, horridly unasked, into your front brain. Moneymakers. Plots for the stories that drive the world. H-O-P-E is EVERYWHERE! If you'll just be so kind as to reach for a pen and a bit of paper, please. Up, no paper, no pens, but now you're sitting tall, what a decidedly hateful turn of events!
Pelo Negro, Tosca Tango Orchestra
And away! Because as soon as the happiness comes, it fades just. Like. That. You know the ideas that inspired you to sit up and forget the land of dreams that you were hoping to visit tonight: they are not grand or important. Surprise! They stink and you stink and everything you’ve ever done probably stinks, too, or would, but since you’ve never done anything...having made the conscious decision to languish in mediocrity, why try? To keep going would be some pointless exercise, never increasing anything. Go to sleep now only do go again in fourteen hours? Eat to never be satisfied, another last long fuck and all that. Really high to really low, it's called entropy. Wanna die? Wanna.
What You Wish For, Guster
One wrong move. Another wrong move, really, if you count thinking. Your father was right. About everything. A telescoping douche applicator gun? What the fuck were you thinking about that time? When you peeled off your clothing and slid under the cool sheets this was not what you expected. An insane lecture from an absentee common sense coupled with the universe trying its best to make you want to die. Monsters are real and they’re under the bed. You are going to die but today is the not the day and somehow that is even worse. Close those eyes, baby, to keep the tears in. It, the thing you want so bad it hurts, isn’t coming and all the people behind those dark windows out there don’t know their lives are small.
The Great Society, Elf Power
Luckily the rational mind can be quick to return when the only thing keeping it at bay is a night. Wanna? Don’t know anymore because you’re not sure about much and that is a good sign. Perspective tells you that the first rays of morning light have not started warming the curtains, the clock is approximately thirteen feet away and dead-on accurate, but not malicious. One night is certainly not going to make a difference, so if it's (the world compressed into a word) all a pointless linear string of meaningless time, who the fuck cares? You're tired, admit it. You're sleepless under a soft featherbed and you can call her tomorrow.
All Tomorrow’s Parties, The Velvet Underground
The next best thing is usually not. Not the same with slight differences, but something completely in opposition labeled sufficient by one party or another. And so you sniff the pillow that last cradled your lover’s pretty little head, even though you wouldn't do that in daylight, not in a million years, and you would never, ever tell. What is soon? Not the morning, thank god, that is still thousands of years away and while it might come as another sort of blessed relief, there is nothing wrong with waiting. Because, for now, with nothing from earlier reconciled, you would swear that her perfume is still there. And you're going to hold on and think that soon is whatever you want it to mean.
I Confess, Land of the Loops
Thoughts, there are none. Sweet morning sex transports you to that waiting room where darkness spreads over your peripheral vision like ink in water. So swirly! Next destination, the scent of that perfume, peacefully real, but again, only a rest stop. Dreams are reality and reality is leading to this dream, one of those that feels like what it is, fake and light. What if you had big biker boots, what if you had a horse, what if, what if, the hypotheticals are endless. Another yawn, though you can only vaguely remember that last one that hit your face at around two eighteen and felt more like a grimace than anything else. Let in the air, now you are going to sing because good fucking Lord, nothing else makes sense, either.
Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel), Billy Joel
There, make up the words as you go along, because when you've almost fallen, it's not the substance that matters, it's the feeling. Another forced night that doesn't feel like that when it happens – orgasms, sleep, friendships, whatever. Sing yourself to sleep. Sleep, coveted by millions, narrated by media, you know you want it, even unadvertised. The waiting game became your bitch somewhere in the hour and secretly the absent ones are holding you anyhow. So can't sing? Then hum. A kiss, a hug and a tuck and it's all over; there are no monsters under the bed any more and when the clock strikes three, you’re not going to hear it.
To the beginning
To the end