sleep: the final frontier

Sleep: The Final Frontier
These are the voyages of a hopeless enterprise
To coldly go where no number of hours
Are ever enough to give me power for my day
To keep me from being sour, my brain
Pulsating against my skull. Sleep for you
May be dull; for me, a challenge from which I cower.

Be it ten o’clock or three, sleep befalls not on me
Like it does normal people. Be it with drink or alcohol-free
Be it with caffeine or camomile tea
Be it an evening of sports or lethargy
Each night the same routine:

Brush my teeth and wash my face
Put on PJs, remove my specs
Turn off the lights, next, get into bed
Between ice-cold sheets and try to sleep.

The clock I’ve pushed across the room
Ticks, it tocks, it mocks; wish I had a rock to lob at it
Just as it drives me batshit, up the wall
Back out of bed I’m forced to crawl
I take the deafening mass of plastic
Wanting to be drastic and cast it into the wastebasket
Instead, I take a breath, and shake it
Rotate it, on its side lay it, pray that
It won’t cry and stay silent.

Frigid feet back to bed they lead
What follows is animal mimicry
I tuck my duvet evenly over me
Like a cocoon, striving for symmetry.

Then like a film, my imagination plays fantasy
Prose flows, unlike reality, lyrically
Difficult situations resolve themselves prettily, magically
My arm’s lost sensation; I’ve been lying on it awkwardly
It, not me, has fallen asleep. I’m still lucid
I’m so tired I swear I’m about to lose it
I turn onto my side, my other side, my back
Head left, right, arms under the pillow, tense, at my side, slack
I’m so exhausted I’m about to crack
What time is it? I’ve lost track
Finally, things go black.

I slip into a dream
Sometimes mundane, but usually extreme:
A nightmare where I’ve no voice, can’t scream
Being chased, my legs won’t run, can’t leave
In public, I’ve no choice, I’m naked
Oversleep, get to work, late, berated
Reoccurs, but it’s still preferred to that one time
My mom died, my best friend raped, I tried
To wake from this hell, my eyes
Won’t comply. At last I pry them wide apart, wake with a start
As I lie, thanking god it’s just my head that’s messed
My pulse I check in my neck and am surprised
My heartbeat’s steady.

I’m sweaty. I try to chide
Myself for these crazy fears. There’s a tear to be dried.
I gather the blanket tighter around me.
Around two or three, inevitably, I have to pee
Shortly later, greyness, day breaks
The base of my head, it throbs, damn it, I’ve again been robbed
Because bed never means rest.
Sleep, you elusive beast, for my sake, please
Please just give me some peace.

© Bill Watterson

checkpoint lütten klein, for persons (not) of a certain colour

The AfD [extreme right political party in the German parliament] had announced it would be setting up  camp in Lütten Klein. I went there to go to ultimate frisbee practice anyway. We were gathered in front of a buddy’s house beforehand. I was about to head off when I realised I’d forgotten my backpack, so I turned back for it. Clara or Swantje had picked it up and put it inside her much larger black backpack and was carrying a third. I reached for mine, but she handed me a green hiking pack instead.

“It’s better if you carry this,” she said grimly.Read More »

cabins. in all the woods.

Browsing Cabin Porn (a photo collection of beautiful cabins) always makes me want to build my own. Living in a cabin is, after all, part of my ‘apple tree‘, which is also supposed to be an ecologically conscionable life. But how sustainable, really, is rural living?

Cities are often accused for being gargantuan consumers of natural resources, devouring energy and wasting food and water literally like there’s no tomorrow. Sometimes these accusations are correct, but too often we forget that cities have the potential to be the most efficient living arrangement possible. This is due solely to economies of scale: where people are packed inside a smaller space resources need flow to only one destination. Public transit and electricity grids service a smaller land area. A greater volume of waste and waste water outputs are collected and treated in the same facility. The efficiency gains of a densely populated, compact city can be enormous.

How efficient is it to live in a cabin in the wilderness?

One NYT blog post reader comments: “One good way to judge the morality or sustainability of a proposed course of action is to ask: “What if everybody did what I propose to do?” At least gives an interesting perspective.”

Another has a similar perspective: “Think of green living like this. What if everybody did or will do it? That is – scattered living whether in the woods or corn field exurban sprawl is bad for the environment, especially when there are 7 billion people on the planet and growing. We all can’t live in the woods – if we did – there wood be no woods.”

These two comments made quite an impact on me. It opened up the debate of rural living to considerations that it is less, not more, sustainable than urban living. That, of course, saddened me. The dream of living on (and off) the land has, I think, established itself deeply in the psyche of Western industrialised nations, where some of us yearn for the romance of simplicity.

But there is no romance in treading heavily on this earth, only guilt. Damn the categorical imperative.