and there are objects that knock and are never answered and a ceaseless movement and a confused name. — Pablo Neruda o, for the old unconscious days when i hopped out of bed at 7 A.M. not knowing how glad i was to be repressed, to be unaware of my miserable marriage, how glad to be lonely but out of touch with myself. o, those great busy times when i was young and woke without memory of a dream, no traces of the inner shipwreck — no debris, no drowned animals, no ark torn to pieces by the powerful storms of night. could anyone have told me then of the nights i would spend, all these years, haunted by opaque dreams, an obscure and heavy darkness? and yet, here we are, old, tender insomnia, beyond acquaintanceship, friends now, watching middle-of-the-night tv together, susceptible to ordering strange items from infomercials, hoping this, finally, will aid our sleep. but possibly we don’t want to sleep anymore, not the old way. we want to wake up for real, or at least to dream the clear vibrating images that struggle upward from the depths — dreams with stallions and who knows what else. but no, that sounds too dramatic. it’s more mundane than that. we have our job to do now. we have an ocean to empty bucket by bucket, to find the bottom and the old ark and all those dead two-by-two animals in need of decent burial. yes, that’s insomnia. it’s being the last surviving animal of your kind. so get up and stumble through the dark and pee and sort through your e-mail and eat something and possibly masturbate and then remember your original task and get your bucket and see if you can empty the ocean and find another of your kind down there, even a dead one. no. that’s just an odd, feeble joke. we’re not laughing tonight. there’s no strange animal down there. it’s a small boy flailing his arms in the huge surf of the dark. he’s waiting for me, and I barely recognize him. anyway, he hasn’t given up, and the waves lift and suck him under, over and over, and that’s it.