La poesie vit d’insomnie perpetuelle
—René CharThere’s a sickness in me. Duringthe night I wake up & it’s broughta stain into my mouth, as ifan ocean has risen & left backa stink on the rocks of my teeth.I stink. My mouth is ugly, humanstink. A color like rustis in me. I can’t get rid of it.It rises after Ibrush my teeth, a tastelike iron. In thenight, left like a dream,a caustic lightwashing over the insides of me.*What to do with my arms? Theycoil out of my bodylike snakes.They branch & spit.I want to shake myselfuntil they fall like witheredroots; untilthey bend the right way—until I fit in them,or they in me.I have to lay them down ascarefully as an old wedding dress,I have to fold themlike the arms of someone dead.The house is quiet; allnight I struggle. Allbecause of my arms,which have no peace!*I’m a martyr, a girl who’s been deadtwo thousand years. I turnon my left side, like one comfortableafter a long, hard death.The angels look downtenderly. “She’s sleeping,” they say& pass me by. Butall night, I am passingin & out of my bodyon my naked feet.*I’m awake when I’m sleeping & I’msleeping when I’m awake, & no oneknows, not even me, for my eyesare closed to myself.I think I am thinking I seea man beside me, & he thinksin his sleep that I’m awakewriting. I hear a pen scratcha paper. There is some ideaI think is clever: I want tocapture myself in a book.*I have to make aplace for my body inmy body. I’m like adog pawing a blanketon the floor. I have toturn & twist myselflike a rag until Ican smell myself in myself.I’m sweating; the water ispouring out of melike silver. I put my headin the crook of my armlike a brilliant moon.*The bones of my left footare too heavy on the bonesof my right. Theylie still for a little while,sleeping, but soon theybruise each other likeangry twins. Thenthe bones of my right footcommand the bones of my leftto climb down.