Tuesday, March 20, 2012

the aftermath of insomnia

not easily absorbed into darkness
i turn my legs into ladders across blankets
where the long muscle of my flank
quivers like a horse's wet eye.
darling you have no idea.
whatever comes of this, cannot
be told to generations, it tumbles
skeletal and light from the box
like thousands of dried bumblebees,

stingers pulled smartly each and every one.
all day i tell myself what to say, how to move my arm
and fingers, how to curve my lips to smile avoid snarl
lock eyes if necessary but do not flinch or sweat.
these instructions call for attention, care-
i am vastly less than what i hoped to be
i had hoped, for instance, to be A World Famous.
it was not grace i longed for, but the expansive.
the ability to fill a room with soul, or my beauty.
the sleep-long sing-song crawl of the insomniac
took my tiger eye and made kitten, took my lion eyes
and made puppy, took my poison and made ether
where did i go when i went there, and did i ever

come back? Dad said ' be all that you can be '
and he took this seriously. his craziness was expansive.
his roar lion. his tiger eye straight. his poison lethal.
i took it and took it and took it, and what a sleep.
afterward the years came on arthritic and cold
and i lay wide awake for ten years, thinking about that sleep.
how wide. how cold. how deep.
i woke for dreams and dreamed to wake, breath
warm and sweet like honeysuckle. toss, turn.
in the hours of darkness and dawn the earth spun
beneath my hands like glass, smooth and crystalline.
i was awake, inside a dream.

moss underfoot. the bed tosses on oceans of hours,
messed up like waves in my hair. i stared at the hands
my hands, the ones that did, or did not. and minutes
were lives of thought. he was the ocean, i slip fish never caught.
Annie said...

Hi Maggie,

I've read three times to catch the rhythm and the sense. This is a great poem, powerful read aloud, or read to self. I'm riveted as I read, identifying or surmising, absorbed by the honesty and the sensitivity. The second stanza is my favorite, but this is not a "lines that stand alone kind of poem." It is what I've learned to term "organic," and it works beautifully in ways that are both unsettling and profound; and the meaning is just enough elusive, integrated with that sense of insomnia and of something not quite realized.

However, I believe you have that tiger eye, and that expansive; but the kitten and the puppy, you have that, too, and that is what is essential to filling a room with soul. You fill hearts and minds with your soul and with your beauty.

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