Insomniac Free Write

I’m sixty years old, and I should be past this, but when I even casually go through any of my favorite social media, the overriding impression I come away with, regardless of the type of video I watching or picture I’m viewing, is that I lost life’s genetic lottery.

For some reason I cannot fathom now, when much of our entertainment focus moved from Hollywood to locally produced videos, I thought I’d be bombarded less with perfect faces and bodies of people who seem to live lives without financial (or any other) constraints. I could not have been more wrong.

For example, I watch an excellent Book Reviewer on YouTube named Merphy Napier. In a recent video, she and her husband are spending two weeks in Puerto Rico on exotic beaches doing exhilarating things while they both look amazing. She manages to read several books and manga while she is there and does her usual flawlessly professional job of reviewing them, but what strikes me more is their sort of casually perfect life.

Meanwhile, here, my wife had knee replacement surgery last week, and I’ve been helping her with what she needs, getting her back and forth to therapy, picking my grandchildren up from school and pre-school, walking around with my (usually sunny) 6-month-old granddaughter trying to get her to stop crying, working on huge projects at work (while running back and forth between working at an office and at home), and having my heart broken at work by seeing friends of mine in the organization being casually thrown away by people who don’t appreciate their work. I don’t really sleep much, unless I take over-the-counter sleeping aids, and I look more-and-more like an exhausted Santa Claus — if he really let himself go.

Meanwhile, back on YouTube, here are perfect looking people changing costumes, performing amazing athletic feats, and aging into even more flawless sex symbols — even the ones whose channels are strictly about intellectual pursuits. My body looks like it was made from Play-dough, then beaten with a baseball bat.

If you look at the picture of the insomniac woman I attached to the beginning of this essay, you see the modern view of insomnia: sad, desolate, tired — but still perfect looking. Neither Hollywood nor modern social media can conceive of people who look like I do, unless the plot requires someone to ridicule.

When you see what (and who) people spend all of their free time watching, whether in movies, television, or on social media, and you realize that you have none of the desirable qualities people apparently crave, it can get pretty depressing. For any of you out there who think that only women think this way — that is, that they feel unworthy given that they don’t meet the physical ideal they see around them — think again.

In summary: insomnia sucks, knee replacement surgery is horrible, being homely is no fun whatsoever, and it’s my own damn fault I watch good-looking people on YouTube — I mean, podcasts arguably exist specifically so we don’t have to look at the people speaking.

Hope you all are sleeping better than I am.

somewhat afield

comes sunrise in the trembling mist: 
the dewdrops on the flattening grass, 
the sky in streaks of orange-blue, 
and scents of someplace long ago 
that shake the mind alive -- 

the instant, everything: 
a life is made of moments felt, 
all stitched together in the mind 
that sees connections, everywhere, 
yet feels so 


Wayward Thoughts

Memories aren’t sepia, but fading photos make it seem that way.

My dream: to go an entire day without being criticized.

Integrity means being the same person wherever you go (says a man writing under a pseudonym).

My diet is terrible, but I’ve been making up for it with lack of exercise.

There is no time like the present, although a few seconds ago was pretty similar.

If you haven’t spoken to people at least once in the last week while on mute, what are you really doing?

It’s as important to take life humorously as to take it seriously, and it should probably be about 50% each.

The difference between politicians and black mold is that you can, with extreme effort, get rid of black mold.

Love is the answer. Unfortunately, the question appears to be “What should we never display in public discourse?”

For You I Can Be

WHEN THE DAY presses down like a barbell on a rack, 
Like an iron on a shirt, like sharp noise upon the ears, 
Come to me, and I will soothe your nerves, 
I'll be a place to rest, and you can feel the pressure 
Slowly start to lift 

Maybe nothing takes the pain away, and nothing ever could, 
But you at least don't need the tension of the bracing for the pain, 
You can give up or just give in with me, it's safe here by my side, 
And you can take from me this simple, easy gift 

Let the sun rain down like Saturday, the winter hide its face; 
Let the world go back into its angry corner -- 
Come to me, and I will be for you the quiet that you need, 
One small place to turn the chaos into order

the past was not a rehearsal

my friend, go live and know 
that none of what you've known 
needs be. 
it's neither fate 
nor necessity: 
it's just the way things were. 

my friend, you've far to go. 
the markers along
your destiny 
will show you the hidden ways 
you've missed: 
the glances soft, and 
the moments kissed. 
it all may seem a blur -- 

the past was not a rehearsal 
for what the future will bring: 
take only what you choose with you. 
perhaps some little thing 

that ties you to the strength inside. 
you are not cursed, or hexed: 
just leave the past where it belongs 
and head towards

what's next