Slightly Drunk, with a Blurred Voice

So. Here I am again. Insomnia returns like a past lover. Calls up in the middle of the night, slightly drunk, with a blurred voice in the phone. Wants to talk about what actually went wrong.


Basho would more than likely use this opportunity to compose a psychological-intense verse. Me? I begin to rant like an irritated old man. That old song and dance. Yes. Well.

Trying to remember the last time this happened. The sleeplessness, I mean. It has been quite a long time ago... maybe even more than a year... yet now, for the last three nights in a row I have awakened after only an hour's rest, the mind slowly re-emerging into the waking world. After maybe five or ten minutes, then full consciousness, signaling sleep has left the building. And then the anger sets in— maybe bitterness is better word. And resentment. A review of failed goals, broken ideals. Again: bullshit. Fight the cynicism.

Spent Saturday revising lectures on Thomas Jefferson, Phillis Wheatley, and Benjamin Rush— so, even now the trio sit in my head having a discourse on American slavery, race issues, and definitions of poetry. The academic mind interrupting the creative writing mind; at the moment an early Kronos Quartet recording murmurs from the stereo: Monk Suite. A CD purchased when living with Bob in Minneapolis, one of the worst winter's on record, and me walking to work in a small arts supply chain in the middle of downtown, spending more money than I could possibly earn in a year. Often I would drink gallons of coffee, paint expressive abstractions all night, or write elaborate modern verse for later use. The cold temperatures would drift under the windows, brush against the arms and hands— You see? Yes, those old ghosts again. Funny how we develop patterns within patterns, the older we get. Is this the catalyst of my insomnia? Regrets of Minneapolis, twenty years later?

Trying to fall into the mindset for haiku—

For my short series on the coat check clerk at the Mid-America night club:

08 b/ Tonight he daydreams arms on the counter, he daydreams Head in hand, the coats dissolve into a cloud of blackbirds.

08 c/ When no one notices, With no one around, he inhales leather musk of the patron's jackets.

08 d/ With no one around, he buries his face within each leather (winter?) jacket.

—or the longer tanka forms; the Brendan poems: the scene plays out in my head but refuses to fall on to the page— metaphorically, at this stage, the poet-speaker is an older man wearing the mask of a ghost-fox, but he cannot take it off— so he sits in his wilderness ruminating in his multi-fold robes of orange-red, fires and ashes, ruminating, seeking closure. But then the sound of a flute in the distance. Brendan playing a flute to the grackle.

The head is tilting forward slightly now; eyes a little more sluggish... first sign that sleep is trying to return. Perhaps it is time to turn off the system and lie down again? Perhaps the demons were cast out once more.


  1. That old insomnia returns like a lost lover: what a brilliant description for something as unwelcome as sleeplessness, David-Glen. I know the way that wakefulness invites anger and resentment, and for me add a dose of anxiety.

    Nights are the worst for paranoia. Things tend to look better by day, But if your insomnia helps to produce such brilliant writing as here in this post, such wonderful haiku, then maybe from time to time it's worth revisiting.

  2. Anxiety can be horrible too, yes. When my boy gets older I'll be anticipating that element in my life.

    And you are right... Need to make the time profitable in itself. Thanks for your words.

  3. Yes, D-G - insomnia's consuming embrace still does not manage to dull your light. There are so many things in your experiences of 20 yrs ago which are yet to find their voice I think?
    Here, I have turned day into night. Finding sleep at 3 amd 4am - waking to a day almost done. I return to work this week and a thousand policy changes and developments...this sleep pattern of mine's will make for interesting times.

  4. Yvonne--I was going to ask how your sleep patterns these days. After that Fellini-like party a few days ago I do not think my habitual rhythms would be restored until Feburary. :)

  5. Haha! Fellini-like!

    It was bacchanalian that's for sure! And has left me with a craving for more parties!!

    Who needs sleep, eh! We should simply party instead!


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