Day 20 NaPoWriMo – Insomnia

April 20, 2013


The house is quiet

….so quiet

My senses stretch

….searching in vain

for a hint of heartbeat

….of life.

I’ve had my shower

….read my book.

Worked on Sudoku

….till I can’t see.

Played computer games

….my mind is blank.

Time to head for bed

….I drag my feet.

Emptiness overwhelms me

….but I’m so tired.

I slide between cool sheets

….lay down my head.


It starts slowly

the spinning








of my mind.

I lay there

as it speeds up







I hold onto the bed



to stop

to slow

to break

the momentum

No use

I lay there

tears leaking


wetting the pillow


but too tired

to move

A century later

I sit up

while dirvish thoughts

chase themselves

through the labrinth

in my head

I drag

through the echoing

dead stillness

to the kitchen.

the spinning has slowed

I want tea

but have no energy

so I sit


why I’m still here

Thirty-eight hours

of awake

it’s a long way

to the door

1000 miles to the bed

my heart is hammering

I struggle to stand

slide my feet along

so slowly

like walking

through porridge

The bed approaches

creeping nearer


I observe from afar


as I fall into it

My eyes close

and my thoughts

start to swirl





Once upon a time it was easy to fall asleep. In fact, long ago I fell asleep on a motorcycle and almost tumbled off when the driver turned a corner. In my defense, I had been on the motorcycle for almost 9 hours with only a gas station break, was jammed between the driver and an enormous duffle bag, couldn’t see around his back, and all I could hear was the rumble of the motor. Fortunately, he grabbed me as I started to slide off and woke me up. Unfortunately, he pulled over and yelled at me for 15 minutes.DSCF2371b

We rolled into the next rest area—empty at 2:00 am—where I lay down on the pavement with my head on the curb and fell asleep for the 20 minutes it took him to find the bathroom in the dark and make it back to the parking lot. It’s probably a good thing I couldn’t see what I was laying in.

At that time my hair was waist-length and after that trip it took almost two hours to get all the tangles out. I don’t think it’s recovered to this day, and that was over 40 years ago. I’ve never had much of a desire to go motorcycle riding ever since.

Where am I going with this?? Oh yes, I give this story as an example of my past ability to sleep anywhere and anywhen. As you can guess from the title of this posting, there have been times when that is not the case. Situations change, lifestyles change, hormones imbalance, comfort level rolls over a hill, stress level climbs a mountain, friends go back to their lives, family is 2000 miles away, you find yourself suddenly alone after 30+ years of companionship…etc.


6 Responses to “Day 20 NaPoWriMo – Insomnia”

  1. m33s66vr said

    I like how your poem captures that ‘state of insomnia’. It’s so well written, it makes me feel tired reading it!…
    As a regular practitioner of sleep deprivation, I am tempted to share MY ‘secret’ for temporarily setting aside the “purgatory of thoughts”, so as to get off to sleep. It works for me, but I don’t want to presume it would work for anyone else…
    You’ll have to ‘pry’ it out of me…

    • kayuk said

      More people than I suspected have at least experienced insomnia. Some of my ‘tricks’ are:
      1. stay up until the verge of total collapse, then try to make it to the bed;
      2. play mindless computer games until you can’t hold your eyes open; (sometimes this works pretty fast)
      3. lay in bed playing Sudoku until my mind numbs out and I fall asleep; (if all else fails, this will at least keep the mind from spinning)
      and last, but still an occasional option,
      4. spend the night cleaning house and just stay up the next day (after this usually #1 will work).

      • m33s66vr said

        If you’re legitimately tired, then you ARE ready to sleep. Further efforts to fatigue your mind and/or body to get to sleep might not be healthy, and could make matters worse…
        My ‘secret’ involves sending my mind ‘on a vacation’ when my head hits the pillow. I allow myself to daydream about being the ‘hero’ in a given scenario (recent news events are often my source for a scene). Whether it’s a cruise ship sinking, a terrorist attack, a horrible weather calamity or Timmy’s simply fallen down the well, I’m the hero who ‘saves the day’. Fortunately, I’m sound asleep before the President of the United States can award me my medal for bravery, and reality does return when I wake up in the morning…
        I guess what I’m suggesting is, rather than trying to make your mind (or body) even more numb, in the hopes of ‘crashing to sleep’, it might be healthier to find a way to send your mind on a vacation. I believe some people refer to it as ‘going to your happy place’…

    • kayuk said

      If it didn’t make me sick to my stomach and give me really gross morning breath I’d drink some Fockin Triple Sec and just pass out. LOL!

  2. kayuk said

    You understand completely. 😉

  3. floridaborne said

    I resemble that poem. You put into words the frustration of being so very, very tired yet when you try to sleep your mind races at you with a purgatory of thoughts.

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