There was a period of time when I would look at a clock
and it was always 12:34.
It wasn’t a broken clock, I just never bothered to look
at other points during the day
and when I’d finally look after hours of wasted time
or diurnal hunger
I’d sneak a peek and it’d be 12:34
and I started giving significance to that coincidence
it had to mean something—like I knew I would eventually die exactly at 12:34—
and the fact that the numbers were sequential added a layer of deeper meaning
like the golden ratio or 420
and then I started forcing myself to see it
if it was only 12:31 or 9:15 I’d keep looking and looking so that I would be looking
when it was 12:34 like an idiot’s idea of destiny masking an evident confirmation bias
and really all it ever meant was that it was lunchtime
or that I should go the fuck to sleep.
I’m not sleeping, I’m extended blinking.
In bed I like to lift my legs up straight, lifting the blanket, and then tuck the blanket under my feet, wrapping them tightly, and then roll all around to do the same tucking on the sides until my lower half is a perfect mummy. Right before I do it, I turn to my wife and say, ‘Time to mummy up.’
She hates when I do that.
A wasted Sunday gets in your brain. You question the point of existence and the imminently liberal use of 2nd person. You recline in your bed with plans to go to sleep early, but you tire yourself awake. You read a paperback, web surf, play with your pubes at length, feeling the coarseness, pulling at tufts like weeds, trying to discern if this one is longer than that one, checking your junk for oddities, taking in pleasure in the meditative act of blind, platonic fondling. No boners (or female equivalents) here. It’s your body, your mind. You lay so long you feel as if your limbs are frozen and movement of any sudden sort, while inevitable, will inevitably cause some tendon to snap. Visions of surgery, traction, sweaty-browed rehab. You remember shaking a leg out hokey-pokey style earlier in the day, wondering whether the unexpected noise that sprouted from the joint was the sound of severe ligament damage or a nearby car crash. You shook it again to be sure, it was seemingly intact, no harm done, but you know that’s false certainty. The damage is done indeed, like listening to music at rock concert levels as a kid, the hidden debilitation is biding its time to go into effect. Like dementia or impotence. You think humans should probably only have a 50-year lifespan, but what about all that’s been achieved by people after age 50. Maybe your best is yet to come. Selfish. Pathetic. Just another excuse to be lazy, waiting for the gravy train. Enough indulging. You move. It hurts, like hell for a long second, but nothing breaks, nothing’s broken. The subtle tears can heal. You’re not done, you’ve got more left in the tank, which reminds you, the car needs gas, and you’re out of eggs, people are dying, Wednesday’s going to be nice, a friend left a random voicemail, you pet a dog’s soft fur, you wipe your ass, you tire yourself asleep. You wake up.
It’s always after midnight when the first thought of sleep even creeps into my mind. The previous day’s hours had appeared and disappeared steadily like passing streetlights on a drive towards darkness. When it arrives, I cast it aside and face the fullness of night, wondering, thoughts wandering, guilty of squandering, not ready to give up.