Freeform Poetry: Insomnia Musings 1–5

Photo by Debby Hudson

Insomnia #1

I never sleep so neither does the cat. Mostly she just curls up wherever I am, as if I’m a comfy blanket or a warm heater. She stares at me a lot, I wonder what she sees. I wonder if she sees something whole, or the broken bits I feel like I am. Everyday I step on glass just to see if I can feel something. Everyday I read Kaveh Akbar and Ada Limon and all of the others by the moonlight in my room. I’m bleeding from all crevices. I don’t even know if I’m alive. The cat mewls from her spot in the corner, scratches at something invisible on the wall. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s a spirit. I don’t know if I’ve ever been close to the spiritual realm but sometimes I like to believe, because sometimes I need to believe in something. I ran out of wine approximately 13 hours ago. I’m not an alcoholic except when I am. I don’t know what judgment creeps in this room, this singular room, this place where I scream my name and it splatters on the walls Jackson Pollock style. Once I went to Las Vegas and I drank a bottle of champagne on the dance floor, the insides of me bubbling up. I am glitter when I rain, and I am dirt the rest of the time. The cat is watching a bug, perhaps a feather. The cat is watching me, and I am watching the cat. This poem is useless, just like I am useless, just like the moon doesn’t shine here in Fort Lee, just like I’m reading in the dark, my eyes straining over and over until your words are all carved into the deepest recesses of myself.

Insomnia #2

I blew my nose until I blew blood, little blood bubbles that pop silently in the bathroom. I hide in here a lot, I like the feeling of the tile on my ankles. Now, renting a room, now I am confined to the spot next to the bed and the window, confined to the floor. I am not a person, I am a ghost in the dark. When someone else moves in they will hear my nightmares twinkling in the summer sun. There’s a cement owl outside of my window that watches over the parking lot, a stagnant god, watching over a kingdom of old cars and torn up scarves. People leave their lives everywhere; they abandon little bits of themselves everywhere they go. I wonder where I left myself when I closed my eyes and spun, and why I can’t think of that place any longer, and why I can’t find myself. I wonder why I google I want to kill myself and then paste a smile on my face the next day, and nobody sees it, but they’re all wearing fake pasted smiles themselves. I wonder if this is a poem, or what a poem is, or what counts as art instead of the raving madness of a girl who hasn’t been able to fall asleep for days for fear of the people that keep filling up her dreams.

Insomnia #3

For the fifth day in a row I wonder if I’ll dream about drowning. All of my dreams start off straightforward — somewhere nice with nice people and nice clothes and nice furniture. Then the dream changes; I don’t even know if I feel it, I don’t even know if I recognize it. I’m scared, I’m running. There are gunshots, sometimes, or men with grabbing hands. One time I was running from a bullet and there were men floating on gold flakes in the air, above a pool. One time I hung out with my favorite reality star at a party, before she disappeared into the purple shadows. One time I hid from gossips in the quiet of a covered porch. The water starts slowly, a gentle lapping, like fire against my ears. Then before I know it we are submerged; the water is blue crystal, we all talk through it, like bugs in amber.

Insomnia #4

I dream about being in love. I sit, touch-starved, my skin burnished gold. My sheets lay crumpled on my floor; for days, I have slept with the ragged baby blank woven around my legs. I am nothing if not something, as if I even know what that means anymore. Some days I want to give up. I want to break up. I want to make up. I want to be touched. It’s all about finding something more than this existence. Poetry talks about the beauty and the starved — I don’t know which category I fit into. I read and I read and I read. The words melt into the page. They are champagne and caviar. They are a talisman. They are the only things I remember when I’m running along the beach at midnight, letting the waves lick at my feet. Most days I feel like I am going to die. Some days I wonder how I’ll do it.

Insomnia #5

It’s all dark and disturbing. People say they never know how it got to this point: He was never like this. She was never suicidal. I know it, I swear. As if their ruminations were public nature, as if we all spread the inner pain like butter across the dining table in the morning. Here is my hurt. Here is my hate. We’d pick them up and examine them like fine jewels. The Crystal Craze of contemporary America — we’d string the emotions on chains and wear them around our necks. We’d stash them in our wallets, in our pockets, in the inside of our shoes. We’d step until we felt blood and step some more. All in the name of love, we’d declare, all in the name of activating the deepest recesses of the universe to come and support us. Some nights I get drunk and I touch a knife to my skin and I watch it glint and glitter. Some nights it means nothing, some nights it is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. We wear our pain like charms; who can have the most brilliant, the largest, the most present? Instead of feeling hurt we rub it in each other’s faces: Look at what you’ll never have. As if we’d want it. As if we care.