My achilles heel, insomnia

I suffer with jetlag. Badly. Add my usual requirement of one day’s recovery for each hour’s time difference, to the fact that I have a humdinger of a headcold, to my general exhaustion after an intercontinental move in my 50’s and my old friend insomnia has become my bedfellow once or twice a week.

When I can’t sleep, I read, and have just read the wonderful, marvellous, inspiring, delicious The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The way he puts words together in an unexpected way is both shocking and stunning. I had to read with a pen in my hand to underline the good bits. There are lots of good bits. Anyway, inspired by Zusak and the occasional blackness in my life of insomnia, I wrote the following:


Transparent with tiredness,

crunched under hot sheets,

my cheek seeks cool cotton,


those colours of limbo.

I long to sink

into oblivion’s pictureshow,

to drown before dawn shoves

bony fingers beneath the blinds,

inveigling hope to turn on its heel.

Fear confiscates dreams.

Thoughts popcorn ,

worry bears down on my chest,

it suffocates then

bites mouthfuls from this needed rest

to spew them over morning,

gobs of self-pity slide down shoulders

that show a permanent stain.

This vomiting infant, hungry, howling,

refuses to grow up

and has now grown old, and tired, like me.

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