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Punching the clock [work in progress]

March 4, 2011

What is it about 3 a.m.? My internal clock seems to know when the hour has arrived, regardless of the time I climbed into bed or when I need to start my day the next morning. And suddenly I’m awake, thinking of everything from practical worries to—of all things—whether I’m happy with the latest revision of this poem. I’d like to say this piece is finished, but I know better than to be so definite. So let’s just say I hope this is its final form. You can listen to me read this piece here.

3 a.m.

sleep eludes me
flutters my eyelids
teases me into bed
then sits heavily
knocking Annie Dillard from my loose grasp

but behind eyelash curtains
sleep melts out into goose down
revealing cold words
that circle through my mind
words I should not have said
the ones I left unspoken
words you refused to set free
the ones that poured from you
spinning like an unbroken record
refusing to pause or leave a breath
for sleep to slip through

I begin to count words
like sheep jumping tightly strung barbwire
and discover just how many
conversations, sleepless nights
they represent
until minutes grow into hours
and I wake
to concrete-colored dawn

—Julie Laing

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2012 9:23 pm

    I think it’s done, but you of course, are the only one to know.

    Great as it stands, from my point of view. I love the images–the sleep knocking the book out of the hand, the eyelash curtains, the sleep melting into the goose down, and the concrete dawn. So hard to let go sometimes, especially when words fill your head, and if there have been difficult ones between you and someone important to you, all that much harder to settle. All so well written and communicated in the poem.

    You can find my rally entry at:
    http://elainedanforth.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/light-was-not-always/

    Like

    • August 15, 2012 8:55 am

      Thanks, Elaine and Mariam. This piece has been through a couple of rewrites and several public readings, so I also think it may done. But somehow it’s always hard to be sure when a piece is complete.

      Like

  2. August 11, 2012 10:30 am

    Enjoyed the Annie Dillard detail!

    Like

  3. March 16, 2011 5:19 pm

    Hi there,

    I’m passing on the Versatile Blogger award to you

    Like

  4. March 11, 2011 6:55 am

    I love this poem, especially as this was my night last night. You made everything resonate with me through your imagery.

    Like

    • March 12, 2010 10:04 am

      So sorry to hear you went through this last night–hopefully things looked better the other side of 3 a.m. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  5. March 8, 2011 9:55 am

    Magic in your words….wonderful poem .Sometimes a poet can say his worrying beautifully in a poem..you did!

    Like

    • March 12, 2010 10:03 am

      I’m happy it touched you; your feedback certainly touched me. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  6. March 6, 2011 10:44 pm

    Ah yes, the 3 am mid fit. Much like a child, it needs attention to at times. Great piece, makes me dread this time all of the sudden!

    Like

  7. March 6, 2011 1:46 pm

    This is absolutely beautiful. There is something very drawing about 3 am I must say. I often find myself writing at this ungodly hour.

    Like

    • March 12, 2010 10:01 am

      Thanks for reading! I look forward to some of your work that comes out of the 3 a.m. slot. 🙂

      Like

  8. Silvertongue permalink
    March 6, 2011 6:28 am

    Wow, you write amazingly specially since you do it in the wee hours of the morning. Wonderful imagery. 🙂

    Like

  9. March 6, 2011 12:44 am

    poignant and deep. great imagery and beautiful lines.loved it

    Like

  10. March 5, 2011 7:06 pm

    “revealing cold words
    that circle through my mind
    words I should not have said
    the ones I left unspoken
    words you refused to set free
    the ones that poured from you
    spinning like an unbroken record…”

    Been there, done that! Absolutely wonderful, poem chockablock with feeling and spirit!

    Like

  11. March 4, 2011 6:36 pm

    nice poem !!

    Like

  12. March 4, 2011 6:26 pm

    Wow too early but look what a beautiful flow of words it can make! 🙂

    Like

  13. March 4, 2011 2:08 pm

    all I can really do here is exhale… whew

    thanks for this piece

    Like

  14. March 4, 2011 12:54 pm

    Very nice!

    Like

  15. March 4, 2011 12:13 pm

    but behind eyelash curtains
    sleep melts out into goose down
    revealing cold words
    that circle through my mind..

    welcome back, ,love the imagery your words describe, linked this to blogger account via linkz for you, you may want to check it out….thanks for the lovely contribution.
    🙂

    Like

    • March 6, 2011 10:39 am

      Thanks, Jingle. I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. Is the blogspot page the place I should be submitting my link to and reading from for future rallies?

      Like

Trackbacks

  1. Performance jitters [poem: Stepping Up] « The JulieBook
  2. A little light reading… « The JulieBook

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