Sleep sometimes eludes me. I feel it getting nearer, but it fails to fully express itself. Only scraps of sleep find me, pushing me into a state of semi-consciousness but refusing to fully embrace me. Dreams enter my semi-conscious state during these inadequate periods of rest, torturing me with fragments of fantasies and incomplete thoughts that slam me against hard surfaces. I awake covered in imaginary scrapes and scratches and bruises, as if I had been pushed from a speeding car. But how do I know how it feels to have been shoved from a car? How can my imagination fill in the awful gaps between feeling the road rash form on my cheeks and hearing the pieces of gravel dig into my skin?

Anxiety, purely a psychological sensation, feels physiological. It feels just as physical as the abrupt removal of a partially healed scab, emphatically expressed by an alcohol bath. There’s a reason we think of anxiety as a form of pain; because it is. Anxiety gnaws at the synapses  just as surely as does the edge of a sharp piece of torn, rusted steel rips into sensitive skin. Unlike a physical cut, though, anxiety carries with it a sense of responsibility and blame, as if the pain could have been avoided with the right combination of mental strength and stamina. Anxiety feels like an affliction of the weak, a condition affecting only the feeble or insecure. The more anxious one feels, the less one feels in control.


When I took the small, friendly dog out for his morning romp, the high humidity tricked my skin into believing the day was starting warmer than its actual 72°F temperature. Humidity misleads us into feeling sticky and sweaty and clammy, despite cool and comfortable temperatures. Returning to a much warmer, but less humid, house, 77°F feels almost chilly, as if my body were in the midst of adjusting to a new climate. I suppose that’s exactly what happens; the climate inside the house approximates Oahu, while outside the house it attempts to recreate New Orleans during a rare September cold snap. We can travel great distances simply by opening and closing doors, provided we properly tend to our microclimate machinery. The sun, alone, powers it all. Some claim that we rely on petroleum products for comfort and transportation and eternal forms of pollution, but I know better. We can trace it all back to the sun. The sun, ultimately, is responsible for hydrocarbons and oxygen and water and the flesh of plants and animals we consume as fuel. I blame the sun for all our troubles and the solutions thereto. If I were to worship a god, I would worship Ra or Aten or Aton or Atonu or Itn or Apollo or Nanahuatzin or the same god who goes by any number of other names. Only he, and his female companions, whose power exceeds all the impotent frailties humans claim as their own, warrants my unending adoration. Well, there’s someone else who merits my unwavering adoration, but that’s a conversation for another time.


I am unable to think this morning. At least not clearly. My mind is a jumble of broken pieces of tomorrow, littered with scraps of yesterday. For some reason, I remember more of my childhood this morning that I ever did before. I remember moments that, heretofore, have eluded me. I do not have time for this. I have people to be and things to see. But I should record those recollections on magnetic media so those memories do not disappear into the mist. The mist is waiting to claim them, too. Enough of this pointless endeavor. I should attempt to sleep, but I won’t. I think I may indulge myself in leftover spaghetti this morning. Or I may not.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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