Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sting



Sting



I never knew I slept 
because so many times 
I don't, with the rocks
hot hard icy, but
I woke to find
you'd left in the night
and taken the water.

I put a stone in my mouth
at noon, when my lips
had already split,
when I had no more spit,
when my tongue swelled
 fat-
 tight to palate
as mackerel in a can,

but it wasn't much good,
and the cowskull hat
left behind by the dead
I thought might shade my head
only put the red bite
of ants in my hair.

So I spat out the stone,
lay down with the scorpions,
waiting waking
for the long
cold night,
for the black starcrash
of sleep that comes
after
the sting.



~November 2013,

revised March 2014












posted for    real toads
Words Count With Mama Zen: Challenge: Insomnia
Be sure to check out Mama Zen's interview with Oklahoma's current Poet Laureate, Nathan Brown, at the link above.
EDIT:The challenge asks for a poem in 60 words or less--I completely missed that line, and apologize to everyone, especially Mama Zen, for blowing the guidelines so thoroughly.








Images:Top: Scorpion Glow, by Howard Dickins on flick'r
Shared under a Creative Commons License
Footer: From The far Away Near, 1938, Georgia O'Keefe
May be protected by copyright. Posted under fair use guidelines via wikipaintings.org




18 comments:

  1. Wow, Hedge! This is brilliant! You take the sleepless theme to surreal heights - very fearful. I get the sense that dreams,or nocturnal thoughts may overwhelm like plague insects, and we have no recourse but to learn to lie down with them.

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  2. Insomnia is this! So close to the 'real' episode it gave me a sleepless night in the reading. Sleep deprivation is the worst form of torture and anyone who disagrees with this hasn't suffered the hell of insomnia. although after many years of sleeplessness you either have to own insanity or as you slip between worlds you have to make friends with the semi-sate of nightmare. This poem is it in a nocturnal nutshell and the ending is enough to keep me awake for another 10 years: until I get something so good in conclusion.

    for the black starcrash
    of sleep that comes
    after
    the sting.

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  3. I agree with Kerry and Arron. You've captured insomnia in all of its awful weirdness. Even when one does finally get to sleep, it seems "off" somehow, as you've portrayed it in your ending. I don't often have insomnia and now I'm reminded to be very glad of that.

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  4. The Hell you describe I would not want in dreams or in wakefulness, in movies or in books. The third stanza is especially creepy. I'm going to wash my hair now.

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  5. You have an amazing way with words which blows me away each time I visit here. Love that last stanza and the black starcrash of sleep that comes with the sting.

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  6. Insomnia, dreams, nightmares - this poem has it all. Some great wrod combination as well

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  7. "only put the red bite
    of ants in my hair."

    That is so vivid to me. This is surreal and all too real at the same time. Very cool, Hedge.

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  8. WOW. This is stunning, and needed writing. Glad you spilled over the 60 rule. ;)

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  9. Brilliant as always...your ending "the black starcrash of sleep" is one I know too well

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  10. damn. hard life....death by dehydration i think would be worse than the kiss of the sting...i could be wrong but certainly better than death by ant bite...frig...that would suck....the black starcrash would be a relief to me...

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  11. First, I love your tags--bitter, who's bitter--being a favorite. (Note comma.) This is so terribly realistic, yet also, well, metaphoric--the realistic details though definitely are pretty scary. For me, what's somewhat ironic is what should be a relief--sleep--is what brought around the problem--and that's why we don't sleep, right? Except the starcrashed one. Also-can't help thinking about oh death where is thy sting? (Right here.) k.

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    1. Laughin @ the subtly introduced comma--I couldn't use it, because commas are some html mumbo jumbo that they use to separate the tags, thus it would have been a schizoid, dissociated set of two instead of one. I did try, but it was ugly. :_) Thanks, k, for reading, and also adding the class of Shakespeare to the mix.

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  12. That half in/half out of dream state spiral of surreal...excellent Hedge, truly.

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  13. you left and took all the water? sheesh. i like that line, that idea.

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  14. You must have fallen asleep watching Survivorman....:-)

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  15. Word count or not, you've got a great poem here. Very vivid descriptions.

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  16. Here the infernal deprivation that comes from insomnia is both personified -- as if the absent paramour was the thief -- and become the desert landscape we die of thirst in. There's so much discomfiture in this poem but my fave is the tongue swelled up like a mackeral in a can. The eloquence is, ah, quite learned.

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    1. Learned? You must be misled by what is probably my usual pomposity. Thanks for reading, B.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg