Thursday December 31st, 2015

The exercise:

On this, the final day of 2015, let us write about: sleep.

Had fun at the party tonight. The host's son fell asleep watching a movie in his parents room around nine. We took Max home shortly after that and he was tired enough that he was asleep around ten.

I'm not going to last much longer myself, so on with it we go.


I'll sleep when I'm dead
Is the last thing he said.
So I guess he was right,
Though this was not the night
He thought it would come true...
But then, neither did you.


Greg said...

Happy New Year! They say that those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it, but I don't understand that. Have a great 2014 anyway! ;-)
I like the river-like flow your poem has: the rhythm and bounce of the words keeps going and the theme gradually reveals itself to be... quite unfortunate for the last night of the year!

Time enough to sleep when I'm dead! The words kept echoing through her mind as she rode across the pampas. Green and brown ground stretched out flat around her, to the horizon in three directions and towards some lego-block-like buildings to the North, and the vast herd of cattle marched on in front of her. Her horse whickered softly, enjoying the eternally cool breeze across his hot skin, and if she hadn't been so tired, she would have exulted.
She remembered dying: she remembered finally lying in bed in the attic bedroom, where her granddaughters had put her. They told the family they were giving her peace and quiet, but she knew they just wanted her out of the way and were hoping she'd die quickly. Then she'd closed her eyes and seen the light getting closer, and she'd relaxed and felt free to sleep without worrying again.
The the light arrived and there were over a hundred angels, tall, musuclar, frighteningly inhuman, stood around directing what seemed to be never-ending streams of arriving souls. They were as emotionless and efficient as TSA agents wished they could be, and even so their fiery swords seemed to be being wielded a lot. She'd complied with their instructions – she was used to that in life, after all – and they'd put her through a great sorting hall that had, in fact, been a lot like the security checkpoint at an airport. They'd assigned her a job, a title and a position and pointed to another long queue. If there are things you don't understand said an angel with a voice like crushed ice falling into a glass and eyes as uncaring as a serial killer's you may have fifteen minutes of Q&A. She didn't understand anything, so she'd queued again.
There are many more dead souls than living, came the explanation. And there are many, many more animal souls than human souls. To meet your human needs of organisation and activity, to ensure that you're useful until you move on... again... this world is provided. The animal souls like it here and will probably all stay so your time here is spent making this a better place for them.
Was it enough of an explanation? She wasn't sure, but she at least knew why she was herding cattle somewhere in something like Incan South America. And, she hoped, there would be time enough to sleep in the next life.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

I've got a lot going on with this one character I've been working with. I've not had much inspiration to work on much of anything, but there's something to be said for brute-force momentum.
Lucy did not consciously dream these days—the charmed rose helped shield her center from the rest of her mind these days. and even on those few stray days she had slept away from her own bed, whatever sealing and centering techniques she had picked up still kept dreams at bay. she needed to rest, after all.

but that didn’t mean she didn’t dream at all, by no means—her mindscape extended beyond her center of being, after all, in all its memories and thought-forms and cosmic curlicues. of course the usual nightmare or two still prowled through, but those were mostly harmless, as are most things. but there were those bits of memory floating around that she knew she didn’t know, but she knew just as certainly that they were still hers.

they were just from the other side of the seam.

the seam, her name for that great glass wall at the edge of her consciousness, separating herself from some other self. there was no point in trying to figure out how it happened, she had barely noticed it herself until someone else pointed it out. but now that she had been assured that some mindfulness was safe, she crept closer to it on occasion—impossible in scale, all rippled like a shard of obsidian, and with dark smoke churning under the surface. imposing as it was, there was also no denying it was brittle. so while it kept whatever was happening to her other self separate from her current self, there was no doubt that it was going to come down.

but she didn’t worry much about that. she couldn’t worry much about that. she had no idea how bad it was over there—a ruin of a mindscape mostly washed out in caustic light, Light that was harsh and vast and encroaching, and buzzed like the harshest fluorescents and the heart of a twisted star. unbearably void of much of anything, totally unlike the clouds and clusters of the other side, except for books, so charred with ochre and ichor so as to be completely illegible, and strewn about impossibly as they obeyed more Escherian laws of gravity, pulsing uncomfortably for things that ought to be bone dry. she had no clue about that, or about the whispers, or the tiny dark corner with dark blue, half melted glass and porcelain shards that flinched and screamed and flew apart the moment a few of them tried to bump together. she had no clue, and she didn’t want to know any sooner than she had to.

but she didn’t have to worry about that, even in the lonesome quiet of sleep. that charmed rose helped shield her from the rest of her mind these days. she needed to rest, after all.

ivybennet said...

Happy New Year!!


The clock in my drawing room began to ring the time. Ding. Ding. Ding.

The sun would begin to rise in another three hours and, with it, the woman who was supposed to be completely and utterly happy with her life. I had a home; a grand estate with more money in its walls than many in this God forsaken nation would ever hope to see in their lives. But the large house was cold, through and through. I had parents who loved me, if not adored the position I could gain once I married an even richer man. But anything outside of social gain seemed to be too mundane for them to pay attention to. I had a circle of friends who never failed to invite me to their parties and soirees. But that particular group of ladies never failed to speak of me, even when I had left their presence.

And then there were the injustices faced by many in the city. More grave than any lack of attention or superficial friendships, these grave travesties walked around in expensive suits, praying on those who could not afford any help or lacked the understanding to see through the fake smiles and empty promises. There was the backhanded deals and itchy fingers, transferring money from deserving spacious pockets to ones far too full. There were those who took the easy way around the social ladder, stepping on anyone they could to reach a higher rung.

Then there were the murders and the demons lurking behind them. The daylight disguised their cruel intentions, but the moon always showed them for what they truly were.

And I seemed to be the only person who cared to find out exactly what that was and put a stop to it. Each aching muscle, bloodied scratch, and purple bit of flesh was testament to a dedication no one on my rung could attest to. They were badges of my goals in helping those who could not help themselves.

And they were the least of my troubles when it came time to try and escape the world for a few hours each night I spent in bed rather than dodging the streetlamps as the Iron Maiden.

So again, I tried to close my weary eyes and prayed for a few minutes of sleep before I was forced to take the stage once more.

Marc said...

Greg - hah, funny man :)

Fantastic take on the prompt. I love the whole idea here and feel like it could be revisited or expanded upon with some fun and interesting results.

g2 - hey hey hey! Long time no see, hope all has been well with you :)

Fascinating world you've shared with us here. Great possibilities to be found within such a place. I suspect that you'll have great fun exploring them :)

Ivy - and to you as well!

This is a great character you've introduced us to. Her work sounds exhausting but she comes across equally dedicated to it. Would love to have a look at some of her after hours interactions.

FreeWriter said...

Sleep is a get away from reality.
A relaxing drug,which we are hooked at birth.
Our aspirations, ambitions, and passions.
Moments to encounter peaceful dreams.

But also a rude awakening.
The dark,unknown, shadowy figures.
The nightmares.
They can snap you wide awake,
even in the deepest of sleep.

Either flying high or at death's door,
closest experiences to heaven or hell.
Seemingly nothing exists while you dream.
It can be a tragedy or a blessing to forget.
Regardless we all return to reality.

Madison Creasman said...

This is something that I love doing more than anything. When I'm stressed I usually sleep, sick, after a long day, and yes I'm always tired so I pretty much sleep all the time anyways. However thats when I'm alone. When I'm with my friends I live by the quote "I'll sleep when I'm dead". Which is probably the leading role as to why I'm always tired, but like I said. I can sleep when I'm dead.

Olivia Edens said...

Sleep-I think it's almost funny that I spend a good portion of the day feeling tired, but at night when I have the opportunity to sleep I feel wide awake. I read somewhere that the worst way to sleep in on your stomach, so of course in my opinion that's the most comfortable way to sleep. I try to sleep on my back, but I didn't know what to do with my arms, it felt awkward. So, I tired crossing my arms, like the shape on an X across my chest; I realized I must have looked like a Vampire sleeping in their sarcophagus. I finally figured out it I sleep with the television on, it helps silence my thoughts. I envy my dog, she sleeps most of the day and night, to her it is effortless.

Marc said...

Oh dear, looks like I've missed replying to a few comments here. Thank you Olivia for bringing me back!

Better late than never, so here we go...

FreeWriter - really like the contrast between light and dark here. In particular your final stanza is strong and I think it's my favorite of the bunch. Thank you for sharing this :)

Madison - hah, I like your stubbornness :) Also: I have terrible sleep habits, so I'm in no place to judge you!

Olivia - yup, I can relate to this. I'll stay up and stay up... and then I finally go to bed and I'm like, why did I put this off for so long? Sleep good. Morning going to be bad.

And also the sleeping on your back and arms thing. I usually end up sleeping on my side and then my neck and shoulder hates me in the morning...

Anyway! Thanks for sharing this and welcome to the blog :)