John DiFelice
Jul 17 · 2 min read

Empty bottles

Empty tires

Swinging from a pepper tree

A can of gas that didn’t last

A trifle now the engine’s seized

A dusty road that leads you back

To the place you tried to leave

The Lord’s Prayer that left you there

With a sack of dying seeds

Steady streams of blackened thoughts

You pulled out of the fire

Then tried them on, before too long

The cold made them expire

So shut your eyes and shut the blinds

Pull down hard upon the cord

Until it snaps, the last synapse

With madness knocking at your door

Try to sleep

Shallow or deep

But you’ve been counting

Wolves as sheep

The ravenous beasts

Devour sleep

And nevermore calls you on the cheap

And makes you start to wonder when

You’ll ever rest your head again

And ever sleep again

The answer comes,

Never again

Thanks to all who felt something when they read this poem. I wrote it during a five-week bout of insomnia as I roamed my neighborhood at 4 am because I couldn’t stay inside. I wrote thirty poems in total before the sleeplessness broke, and I am sure that writing them was the only way I survived it.

If you feel like sharing, how have you survived insomnia?


Invisible Illness

We don't talk enough about mental health.

John DiFelice

Written by

I write about art, science, technology, and psychology. I also write about writing because I’m meta.

Invisible Illness

We don't talk enough about mental health.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade