one night, i counted the seconds the ones i could hear from my broken wall-clock each tick was one second, and i would tap my fingertips together to count reaching to the hundreds
running to catch a moving train, id lose my train of thought and start again
each tick, every second is the amount of time to dot a page with the tip of a pen to stipple it with ellipses for a quiet read
one night, i counted the silence the ticking between the words i counted the periods, the commas every pause that collected thoughts and i wondered with my jumbled mind on what the amount of time in a person's life is spent on thinking before speaking pondering on what to say til the last second
i think it comes with the fear of stumbling over your words to get tongue-tied and garbled the fear of embarrassment as you pick your sentences up from the floor not knowing what to use in an appropriate manner yet time ticks by, each second dotting the space as you race for a response against looking like a fool and looking like a fool one with words unsaid and one with the wrong thing spoken
one night, i counted the seconds i counted the dots when i would type a reply the three dots of contemplation and the conversation ends.
The mid noon sky bleeds out; it bruises in flames. Arsonists hold their gassers to my face. In their grisly field of vision, I am a delectable vapor, born to flit away. Regard not the orange cones, nor the caution tapes: these gates hold little significance to them.
(Then the other 'a-word' comes to mind: anarchists)
Prior to this, they had presented themselves as chess pieces to fall in love with—little do they know, I've an animus for them. As stupid as I may appear, I know it's a game!
Unzipping out of incognito mode, they have unleashed their razor blade. They whizz their wings. Here they come, coming for me.
Here I go again: counting sheep, blinking for one whole eternity.
Oh doctor! I'm in dire need of your vampiric syringe. Swill my peaking adrenaline— at this rate, I'll go mad. I shall never recuperate.
Mollify my entirety. Teach me to rollick like angels do. I beg you.
A late night trip to the bathroom shows a warped vision of myself through a cracked mirror it tells a story through the dark circles under my eyes. It all tells me to sleep, although that was already made clear by my foggy mind and hazy vision. I go back to bed but when I close my eyes I cannot see sleep in the future. So instead I lay with my eyes open, staring at the white ceiling. It looks back at me, harsh, unforgiving. The storm outside does nothing to help quell the voices in my head.
The voices in my head argue and tell me that everything is either all very clear or a muddled swamp of metaphors. And they have decided my life is all one horrible metaphor for childish infatuations that could never be that turn into a stronger feeling. I tell them to try and be quiet because I’m trying to sleep, but they do not quiet.
They do not quiet, they never do. Quiet is a warm hug and space in my head. Quiet is muted murmurs creeping up stairs and slipping through keyholes. But they do silence. Silence is deafening. It lures and traps me in a cage where I am unable to breathe. It is a force that stops me from being human, it is all consuming. That is why I let them stay, because I prefer the chaotic cacophony of voices to silence. They never stop.
Never stop dreaming is what everyone says but I think I did when I stopped being able to sleep. The clock blinks 4:32 and so maybe it’s more early morning than late night, but is there really a difference? I’ve given up, maybe I’ll sleep tomorrow night instead. And when they all ask if I’m okay, I’ll just tell them it was a late night.
It was a late night, I was kept awake by the voices in my head. They do not quiet, They never stop. It was a late night.
I watch him tapping, from the corner of my eye. Left hand. Pointer to pinkie. Sequentially. Beginning and re-beginning. Defeated, intent, scowling, jubilant. In my imagination he is a poet, counting syllables. Writing haiku in his head, as he waits in traffic for the light to turn green.
‘You've got to be kid- Well, crud, what just happened there? I ran out of syl-‘ - Rick Riordan, The Hidden Oracle