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insomnia Archives - Amanda SledzAmanda Sledz

09
Jan 13

Excerpt from Channel Insomnia: 1996

Everything in Channel Insomnia has been written with fewer than five hours of sleep. I did this today, working with a whopping three.

1996

My boss is wearing leather pants. She and her husband are sharing what most would call a midlife crisis, and what she calls remaining attractive. It hadn’t occurred to me to remain attractive post fifty; I figured as soon as your skin started sliding the best course of action was surrender.

 

Those two have something worked out, and it involves shopping at stores with exclamations for names alongside teenagers trying too hard. There’s something delightful about this, like the garments are finally being assigned their appropriate owners instead of stumbling into someone for more of the same. No adolescent body can own such accents; either there’s too much insecurity crossing arms over chest and slouching posture, or it’s all on display and the vultures are circling. Even a legit complement must be chased with another layer of something colored and bottled and chemical filled applied to hide what isn’t even there to conceal.

 

Really, adolescence is simmering, and everyone young should know it. High school is prescribed to vacuum the intelligence and beauty from your being and 19 is set to restore it.

 

And really, like my boss I’d say, you gotta be grown to own it.

 

She in turn doesn’t say anything about the transparent clothing I wear without even noticing, and the unclassified insect infecting my eyes. This is a new world, one where I’m suddenly eating food with ingredients I can pronounce that arrives hot and aromatic and without foil covering.  When a sound like a shot rings out it probably isn’t one. There’s a reason for going outside, other than to get to your car and to summon new complaints. There’s nothing to buy and I don’t miss it. Still, the startled expression translates to action and people with faces I can’t immediately read are trying to dissect what’s hidden. That’s mine. It’s in this place that I first consider snakes, as the sounds of coyotes bounce from hill to hill, chased by the returned cries of humans.

 

Her eyes track my descent, and fear of seeing one dim in my direction makes me a weaver of ladders.

 

My boss, she’s got scrolls of stories to unfurl. How she’s seen ‘O Brother Where Are Thou?’ too many times and is still going again next weekend. How the Kent State Massacre was a something that slid all over the country and made for strange days in Ohio. Boiling grief over the ongoing mass sacrifice of young men caramelized into a single incident. Being young then, boasting a body able to haul 50 pound bags of grain. Now she just wants someone to sexually harass her for God’s sake. She wants to retire with working heart and limbs. She’ll leave the work force before it leaves everyone else.

 

I wonder if the exclamation stores still find her. If her blackberry pie is still the best of them. If she knows it would still strip my insides to disappoint her, and that my clothes are soon slated for leather.

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31
Aug 10

Insomniacs

Oh lookity look, it’s you, delicious you, all sparkle-eyed smiling and up to no good and you’re wondering about coming in (of course) and sure it’s later than I thought it would be but when some come there’s no thoughts of sleeping (and lately I’m never sleeping) and the interruption of nothing with something is sigh and smile and relief. Head and heart operate in full agreement that star chart spells churn from waking fingers, which means sleep has to go, and since when did it need more of me than three?

you say tonight you’ve been wandering too long with nowhere to go, thinking to follow bliss before the script flipped and your star was left stone suffocated. then you tracked the moon on the hunt for her tail or at least some uncharted chunk of cheese debris, and after circling and wandering there was nothing but midnight then more walking and head-scratching and suddenly me. Sounds alright. Half-asleep, restless, brain gurgeldy-blurgey, can’t think of a better blather banterer than me.

in this dumb we say everything obvious, these are fingers my fingers your fingers twenty fingers, these are your eyes my eyes twenty eyes between us. We draw new constellations from leg bruises, you ask questions about angry faeries and phantoms with poor communication skills and worry that I really want to marry you. I tell you no one ever says what they mean, and when they do the listener never believes them, and that’s why the knot in my throat is coal-to-diamond and resurfaces no matter the mining.

And no, I don’t want to marry you.

All around us a chorus of spirits dance and exchange wise cracks and high-fives and drunken obscene gestures, all flicking tongues and crossed eyes and uncovered erections. even the demons who duck behind books with bad titles and pull cat tails and faeries who only slow the bus down for chewing gum manage to get in on the action, making faces at my eight active eyes, teasing me with what to them is obvious: you can’t see them. Nyah nyah.

and then it’s all dish smashing sheet tugging art tearing confetti throwing paper burning lifemare, let it all fall away let it all fall apart, what exactly is there to be afraid of anymore? shouldn’t we be more afraid of death than love, shouldn’t we not be afraid of death at all when it operates as entry to where we’ve already been? why the fuck do we ruin our lives and wonder about curtains and fences when we could be all eyes and laughter and layers of scent? Why do you fear me most when I’m fenceless?

crying. door swinging technology tickle. fingers evolve to wires.

3AM. no one invited. everyone shows.

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26
Jul 10

Drinking Games of the Future Part 2: This is Not Awake

In the future we’ll name our children for colors and other things we used to know before everything greyed to ash.

We’ll throw invisible spears at visible gods asking why nothing was done to stop the burning of sea turtles back when all our gods were idols and our cars were filled with gods.

In the future tomorrow we’ll spend decades crafting time catapults to hurl unclaimed corpses back to good old days, because if we want anything in the now it’s the old good.

Fuck it. Let me stop trying. Stop sickle-mining underwater when this word shit begs for flame.

I’ve glued my chairs to the ceiling and glued bodies to the chairs and I’m Lord of the Flies sharp-stick pointing and screaming, “Pinata!”

Sour. I’m not sleeping anymore. Experiment unplanned. Efforts were made to exit awake, the assumption of a horizontal position, generous time spent on the tuck-in, a salutation to invading spirits that have their own ideas about chairs and glue. This, prior to ceiling stares with no reward, just aggravation from anticipation of dreams growing feet and pushing me up trees before dropping me back bark-covered. Instead I’m basket tossed (awake), scribbling tirades against an army of cats clawing new entries with loud single-tone language. Evolve. Grow thumbs.

In the no-sleep the now is Real, lost minutes tick-tock on metronome clocks I pretend not to watch or memorize each morning before flipping double middle fingers to my anime pop rocking dark-circled (and laughing) mirror selves.

In the soothing hum of pseudo awake shaved heads are beautiful, designed to activate human purr and every nerve ending from fingertip to clit until eyes turn fire mid flutter.

Pseudo awake I’m more than adored, shit-fit marinating bile dark into love and loving.

Pseudo awake he is the inhaled breath of a-ha, eel-eyed green pilgrim of the ocean’s ocean, alien device buried in a hand pretty enough to distract inspection and howl-spark me the adored. His hovering others may never land. He’s never landed either.

In the pseudo awake the War of the Worlds reading ends a bit different. A nation duped by a shot-charged radio reading isn’t duped twice by those eager to convince them they fell face over fist into processed panic. You know, like made up and put on the radio. That wasn’t real or anything. Ahem.

Silk static transmissions slide down walls, stumble over the philosopher’s knots of my word-angry hands, future fall apart escalated to giggle-splattered red-eyed now.

In the soothing hum of pseudo-awake Pan has no ick. He’s glued to a chair, and underwater.

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