Clare Hill

Insomnia Part II - the Sandman Deserts

It’s 3.27 am.

The drunken brawlers have left

Saturday street behind,

retreating home

to upload their video clips to Youtube.

Next door’s dog has stopped

howling at door slams, taunting cats

and whistling pedestrians.

The but-ones are not having a scream

on their doorstep about

that slapper from accounts.

My mattress is lumpy.

The curry I had earlier

is making wind in the pillows

and the naan bread has wrapped itself

around my middle

like a doughy girdle.

I listen closely to the mould on my wall

spreading maliciously.

Car headlights turn my room

into a stuttering discotheque

with the sound turned down.

A breeze sends paper skittering

on tarmac, emptying recycling boxes.

My clothes hang, polyester skins

waiting to be fleshed out,

worn out, accessorised properly.

God, these pillows are flat.

I try relaxation, breathing techniques.

I end up thinking that, one day,

even respiration will stop.

The night has teeth, sharp angles

made more dangerous

by stumbling around with closed eyes.

Mine stay resolutely open.

I don’t know why I can’t sleep.

Clare Hill © 2008


My hat is not made of tin foil,

that wouldn’t be cool, I’m no turkey.

(Am I, perhaps, a little chicken?)

In twenty-eighty metallic will be all the rage

but I’ll be Lucy in the Sky by then.

My cap has no name emblazoned on it,

no triumph of advertising vision here,

just a peak that limits eyesight.

It protects me from strangers, aeroplanes,

and stops the sky from falling in.

I don’t have to look at what scares me,


A chin strap would be nice, just in case

the wind tried to wrench it from me

or a pigeon took a fancy to black cord.

Sod it, I’ll stay inside, become a hermit,

order groceries online,

accept substitutes for out-of-stock items

and real life.

I’ll wear my hat, exist virtually in a world

where nothing can hurt me

(except for modem trouble.)

I want a bubble,

impermeable, keeping the outside out.

I have a hat,

the dye runs when it rains.

I stay inside to keep it dry,

I have to look after it,

to avoid damage,



She smiles at me

you can’t see her

she is beneath my skin

her mouth a pale scar

keloid on my arm

she speaks to me

you can’t hear her

she whispers my name

her tone bewitching

hate bitch you are shit

she laughs at me

you prefer her

she is sexy

I am as nothing

compared to her

she compels me

a serrated blade

drawn across my skin

setting her free.

Leaving me trapped.

Clare Hill © 2008