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lua Aug 6
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.
Andrew Rueter Oct 2022
They told me never to count my chickens before they hatch
but I just never count my chickens ever
because chicken salad always looks like chicken ****
when I’m obsessing over nuggets.
Sammi Yamashiro Apr 2021
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.
iris Aug 2020

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
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.
annh May 2020
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
Amanda Kay Burke Mar 2020
Do not stay up waiting for me
You should get some sleep
Lie down and try counting our kisses
Instead of counting sheep
Something I do every once in awhile when I can't sleep
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