Saturday, November 7, 2015

November 6: Infinitude of Possibilities, Sleepless Nights, Robert Hass, "Assassin," Off the Top of My Head

It was in fact a blessing.  An ability to sleep more easily and deeply had come to him during the past few years.  Where he used to toss and turn and drive his wife crazy at night, no sooner would he now lay his head upon the pillow than he would fall asleep.  But not into that sleep of old age, but into the sleep of a child, an infinitude of possibilities swaddling him.

After his son's death, Ives doesn't sleep well.  For years, he suffers from nightmares that cause him to scratch his arms bloody and wake up screaming.  It is only in his old age, after finding peace of mind and soul, that Ives can finally rest.  The sleep of child.  Innocent.  Filled with an eternity of hope.

Friday nights are sleepy for me.  Darkness comes early now.  As I left work at 4:30 this afternoon, the sun was well on its way to dusk.  There is cold and snow in the forecast tonight.  Nothing that I will have to shovel, mind you.  But it's a reminder that winter is just around the corner.

I, generally, haven't been sleeping well this fall.  I think it's a combination of factors.  Grief.  Work.  Teaching.  Finances.  Take your pick.  It all boils down to lots of late nights, early mornings, and fitful slumber.  When I wake up in the morning, my jaw aches because I've been grinding my teeth while I sleep.

The only night that I sleep pretty soundly comes on Friday.  I'm more relaxed when I get home.  Don't have to worry about lesson plans or patients.  I can sit on my couch, turn on PBS, and watch a special on Chita Revera or the music of Danny Elfman.  I don't really do anything at all, and I think that's why I sleep so well on Friday nights.  A complete lack of responsibility.

I am thankful for Friday, for the span of Saturday and Sunday stretching out before me.  Three days of rest, an infinitude of possibilities swaddling me.

Once upon a time there lived an insomniac named Yakob.  Yakob never slept well.  At most, he got around two hours of rest a night.

One night, Yakob drank some wine and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzlkjljzhasfjzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

And Saint Marty lived happily ever after.


by:  Robert Hass

In Arcata, California
north on the fog-and-clapboard coast
the bronze statue of McKinley
stands, empty-handed, in the village square.
His green corroded arms outstretched
it is not clear whether the former President
embraces the Pacific or weeps
that there are no more distances
a man can thrust a railroad through.
Here in Buffalo the body of his assassin lies,
humus dreaming of life after death
and the green republic.  Ring-necked
pheasants peck about his grave
in the old pastoral cemetery.
Their dark eyes gleam
as light, dying,
refracts in the polluted air.

Off the Top of My Head

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