Seven poems for a single day

  1. Insomnia
  2. Oh baby, I know you can’t sleep
    It’s 2.55 am and you’ve got work tomorrow
    Don’t worry
    You can still smell the fried chicken you ate for lunch
    And there’s not enough milk for breakfast tomorrow
    Not entirely sure what to wear
    No dog food either
    Too much unresolved action
    Too much left undone
    It’s time to sleep and dream of being famous
    Dream of fancy parties and glamorous inner city living
    Witty conversation and television interviews
    Biographies and the holiday home on the Queensland coast
    It’s 3am and you still can’t sleep
    Don’t worry baby, you’ve got work tomorrow

  3. Dreaming
  4. The sheets should be changed, but instead they carry the comforting fragrance of the self
    The air is cool and still and stark, a night bird’s song drags my soul out, through my back and out the window, into the air and across the darkened sky
    Dreaming is what we do when we are not happy with the world
    The contented do not dream
    I dream that I fly over all of humanity and I feel them beneath me, billions of electric cells, each one dreaming of a better world
    Because in my dreams, people aren’t satisfied with the cruelty of our world
    The night bird’s song releases me, and the great electric sea recedes into the darkness
    and I am swept up in the gentle grace of rest.

  5. Morning
  6. The alarm glares at me, and I glare back.
    I have been visited by the late night possum, the one who comes along in our rest and shits within our mouths as we sleep.
    Strong coffee and toothpaste are a partial cure, time will fix the rest.
    No amount of hot water will give you back the vigor of youth, but each morning you will try.
    There is no milk, someone got to it before you could. Again.
    An abundance of fried chicken from the night before sits like a snake about to strike at your digestive tract.
    Close the fridge.
    There is coffee enough at work, and pulling on a shirt that you have neglected to iron, you lie to yourself and say “It’s a cotton poly blend, the wrinkles will fall right out”.
    They do not.
    You begin the march into the bright glare of a new day.

  7. Children
  8. They run because they are free,
    Like the howling wind they gust about the playground gathering leaves and paper and empty wrappers,
    They are wild eyed dervishes caring not for the past or the future, and we lumber through them like ancient stones, and like the wind they shall wear us down,
    We shall be made smooth and bright by the process, we know this and we do not regret it, some welcome it with open ancient arms,
    The wind is untamed, unlike our dancing dust devils, a bell and then music; each gale sorts itself and breezes into their allocated rooms to carry on their turbulent way.

  9. Meetings
  10. Leave nothing to chance, leave nothing to chance, leave nothing to chance.
    Have you checked it? Have you signed it? Have you put it in the pigeon hole?
    Late meeting, important meeting, another meeting.
    How late? Very late! Always late, like the phantom pregnancy of progress.
    Things to resolve, suggest, vote upon and recommend.
    People to meet, stakeholders, humans, important people, squeaky wheels, insufferable prats who get voted onto these things again and again and again.
    What is it we do again? Besides the process? Must consult, must include, even if it means no one wins, because then everyone wins, or something.
    The night bird is calling, the night bird is calling, the night bird is here.

  11. Homeward
  12. “Go home love.”
    A fellow soldier smiles at the mirrored wounds of a long day.
    Silence is the intruder now, space is conspicuous by its presence.
    You undo your path and walk on home,
    You are still surprised to discover your house has not burnt down, your house will never burn down, but that doesn’t stop you from suspecting that the instant you lay eyes upon your home, that you will gaze upon charred ruins.
    We have been known to catastrophise.
    The light is low and the house is still.
    An ancient deaf dog does not stir, you watch her breathe to make sure she’s alive.
    Silence for her, and space for you.
    Day old fried chicken for you both.

  13. The apparition of rest
  14. An unmade bed opens its arms like a slutty lover
    Wrinkled sheets and stains of sweat and misguided pudding
    The wasps of thought raid the hive of sleep
    No honey for the restless
    A fevered fit in the darkness that makes you turn against yourself, finding no comfort in your disheveled lover’s arms
    Eyes rolling back in sockets that will not rest or dream
    A million daylight wasps driving back the gentle night
    There is naught to do ‘cept wait
    The night bird is calling, the night bird is calling, the night bird is here.


Author: Joseph

Writer, educator, and bon vivant.