Friday, 9 April 2010

ode to imsomnia

each small wrinkle on the bedsheet
bites into my skin
my fingers imprint on my face
I see flickering light in the dark
behind my tightly shut eyes
an itch starts somewhere
spreads all over
I try to scratch it away
the vicarious dreams
have turned to nightmares
each subsequent one
more demonic than the former
I rock myself but to no avail
on the first light, I sit up
railroads of steamy tears on my cheeks
make a nice pattern.

"don't you wish for that design to be knitted into a scarf?


  1. Those threads may leave you if someone would make a scarf...I wish it for you,
    ps Kathy who visits me is awesome at knitting feelings ...;)
    What a poet you are!

    Word Verifc is predr, short term for predator...well it sounds like it to me!

  2. loved "railroads of steamy tears"
    not done any visiting for a long time - ironic that omne of my first ports of call is another insomniac :)

  3. I think you want to say "to no avail" (L. 13), and I'm not sure in what sense you're using "vicarious." The dreams are your own, aren't they?

    You've caught how it feels, though.

    sleepless . . .
    the changing rhythms
    of the rain

  4. world has been demolished during the dark hours,
    and remade again during the daylight,
    by the single breadth of one tear,
    repeated over and over,
    and multiplied by billions of times.
    every night it is deconstructed
    but every dawn the rebuilding starts.

  5. Nice poem of lament and sorrow for which I pray you relief -- very moving Gautami...
    Image & Verse

  6. Nice touch with the last couple of times - I wish I had something so distractingly simple to take my mind off sleeples nights.

  7. Makes insomnia come so horrifically alive (hopefully I'll never be affected by it!).

    Please note (don't want to be teacherish, just point out):

    an itch
    but to no avail

    One night in Addis Abeba

  8. Hi Gautami,

    I see your vicarious dreams as all the things you might have done, lives you might have lived. Loved the ideas of the creases in the sheet biting into your skin, and the all-consuming itch.

  9. It seems like every little wrinkle, noise, or thought can be annoying when we cannot sleep.

  10. That's an excellent last line.

  11. Oh I have soooo been there. You describe it perfectly. The biting wrinkles, the flashes of not-light... all of it.

  12. Well, I really wish it could be knitted into a scarf. Enjoyed this one

  13. I am glad to say, i have never suffered from such insomnia! :D

    Good work here.

  14. Tami, I would be afraid that scarf would be a remind me of my tears.
    Unless that is, I needed a reminder. Then the scarf I'd wear as a reminder of the worst of times and how somehow, perhaps by the grace of God, I got through.

    I've not done odes for their form so I can't judge yours on form.
    But your poem certainly is wonderful and one to which I can relate very much. Thank you.

  15. i like your use of vicarious
    sometimes even our own lives can feel that way, like we are watching.
    Such an interesting poem, thank you.

  16. I totally relate. ^_^ Wonderful metaphors and images throughout this one, a clever way of taking on the prompt!

  17. Phew, I don't know a thing about sleepless nights, I sleep like a log. But I do like the bit about the railroads of steamy tears!

    <3 Andy

  18. I guess, I wouldn't wish...when it's all sorrows and pain?

    And those vivid dreams frighten me a lot, though I had some also, I would wake up catching my breath and too frightened to sleep without lights anymore!

  19. Ouch. Insomnia is rough - you've portrayed it well.

  20. You nailed it with this one. Just thinking of the wrinkles of the sheets and the times I have remade my bed only to try again. Insomnia leaves me lonely and frustrated.