One theme. One poet. One memoirist.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


This week's theme: Forgiveness

I struggle with insomnia and have for most of my life. When I say I struggle with insomnia, I don't mean that I have occasional sleepless nights. I mean that there is at least one and more often three or four nights a week that I don't sleep more than three hours. It's not because I've napped during the day, exercised too late or too little, or had caffeine after 3:00 PM. I've managed to teach myself to avoid all of these things in my quest for better sleep. I am simply sleepless. When I do manage to sleep, I sleepwalk all over the house or have dreams from which I wake unable to differentiate between what was going on in my dream world and what is happening in reality.

All of these make it difficult for me to share a bed or a room with someone. This is to say nothing of the nightmares I have; the talking I do in my sleep; the fact that I steal all of the covers; don't like to be touched unexpectedly; and when I'm particularly exhausted, sleep with my mouth open and drool all over everything. I think its better when someone stays over to have one of us sleep on the futon, despite the fact that my room is warmer and my bed more comfortable. I'm unwilling to keep them awake all night or show the kind of vulnerability that it takes to drool all over yourself while unconscious and trust that the other person won't wake up, see you, and find you repugnant.

I hope that someday I'll get to the point where I'm comfortable and happy to share my sleep and my vulnerability with someone. For the time being, I'll keep extra blankets and pillows on the futon.



I don't love lying awake and watching you sleep. Forgive me, but I don't even love sleeping next to you. Your mouth is almost always open and you drool all over everything--your hand tucked under your cheek, the book you brought to bed with you, my pillow, your pillow. You steal all the blankets and then kick them to the floor in the middle of the night. Then there's the insomnia. The tossing and turning until 4:00 in the goddamn morning. I have to go to bed hours before you to get half a night's sleep. There's the talking and crying out in your sleep. Sometimes your legs move like a dog dreaming of chasing a car. There are those night though, usually Fridays, where you come to bed early and fall asleep immediately. Mouth closed, blankets shared, utterly silent and still all night. In the morning, after I've slipped downstairs to get coffee and the paper, I'll return to find you curled on my side of the bed, only half awake. "How'd you sleep?" I'll ask handing you your coffee and the Arts section. "How can it possibly matter," you'll reply, reaching instead for my scruffy face. "When I get to wake up to this?'

1 comment:

  1. GIven what you first sent me, this was not at all the poem I expected. As always, the concreteness of your images are wonderful. You raise an issue about sleep that I find intriguing: vulnerability. But that's to explore another day.

    I do like your use of perspective here, that you're getting inside the head of the person sleeping next to you.