2010s · Poetry · The Unnamed Algorithm

Not Sleeping

I can't keep
not sleeping at night
I can't keep
letting all those
        open cupboard doors
pull my shoulder blades
I can't keep
hoping for that miracle
        change black tea
        into coffee and cream
I can't keep 
recycling those words
        said and unsaid
replies and responses
never meet resolution
I can't keep
my head full of bees
whispering why
        it doesn't matter
        it never matters
I can't keep
eating the edges of my cuticles
it won't grow flat
I can't keep
my ear to my gut
it's holding on to a secret
        I'm listening
        it's not telling
I can't keep
waiting by the phone
waiting for that email
        to make it right
it will never be right
I can't keep
saying I don't mind
I get it-I understand
        I don't
I can't keep
not surrendering to anything
since the switch flipped
        it got broke
        I can't switch it back
I can't keep
a single person as ideal
as I have loved them
        stop idealizing
I can't keep
all the names off my lips
they push out daily
        hourly I form them
        my mouth aches
I can't keep
this pencil moving
        its eraser is shrinking
there's more mistakes to make
I can't keep
presuming the road's closed
my feet are swelling
        until it hurts to walk
        but I walk anyway
I can't keep
listening to the air in my lungs
rub against my nostrils
        I hear myself living
        I need to be sleeping
First Published in Something’s Brewing, Kind of a Hurricane Press (April 2014)

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