by Adam Smith

This was one of the first poems I wrote following my resurgence into writing again last year, and it was inspired by the countless nights I spent unable to sleep due to my overactive thoughts and feelings. The poem tries to put those confused, anxious thoughts into images and ideas – something I hope translates well to you all!

Sleep well!

My mind is so restless, I wrestle people and problems with no faces.
I attempt space travel with crews but no spaceships.
It’s like this life’s without a wrist and I’m the bracelet,
incapable of stasis, I only truly feel at home in undiscovered places but
I’m the doormat and this life’s a million filthy paces across dusty desert plains,
getting my just desserts with indigestion and stomach pains, neurological traffic jams and migraines,
I’m a body builder without the gains except my muscle is my brains and I’m benching 50k
27 hours a day
for less than minimum wage
and every single sleepless, starless, startless night’s the same:

I rage,
start scribbling another page, not sure when it began or if it’ll
stop – it’s hard to gauge – but
now the musty curtains gape and
I’m centre stage, house lights fade and I’m the carnival queen of this moonlit parade
where mimes scuffle with soliloquies like
children with scuffed knees not daring to look down in case they bleed,
not daring to back down or concede that the audience may never applaud or reward
their miraculous deed, this most daring and brave conceit
where the head runs ahead without
the feet,
tripping and snipping syllables like raw meat,
dripping blood like sour milk from a teat long unappreciated, unsuckled in defeat
since there’s nothing left to nurture on these forsaken, heartless streets.

There’s only beggars here and moneyless pockets.
Imaginationless children with their fingers in plug sockets in dire need of a thrill, of a spark;
and there’s me, this foodless supermarket,
now sold out of dreams and
all that remains is this carcass,
my shell,
where I swat away flies as a pastime using rolled up old poems in the darkness,
wafting words around in boundless, soundless arches
never sure if I’m hitting the mark or if I’m just wasting parchment:
a rusty locked door in a keyless apartment.
Knock knock, who’s there?
Knock knock, who cares?
I’m knocked out in Round 1,
a silent film with the sound on,
a eunuch with a hard-on and
a church house with a guard dog. My bark is worse than my bite,
all gloves and no fight,
all wind with no kite,
and not a cloud in the sky but it’s raining down here.

Yes: my mind is still restless, except it’s not still at all, it crawls on limblessly
across these grey, enormous floors
wanting to climb out of the windows, to defenestrate and fall,
to finally find something concrete at the bottom, something sure,
something that’s not nothing, nothing that’s not pure,
assuredly pacing forwards and always wanting more,
wanting all ways to lead to shore where the boats are brought to moor before
they set sail for the somethingness where there’s so much to explore and
not a moment goes to waste –
I long,
I ache,
to reach that place and to stretch my legs,
to dip my iambic feet and toes in its silver lakes and to feel the fish and fissures
frolicking at the progress that I make,
no longer sulking in my sulci, no longer skulking as I walk by,
forget walking now I’m running
soaring so high and
as the universe rushes by me like the days of my life that are past,
I can shut my sore eyes and drift off, restful in sleep  
at last.

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