“Twilight Sleep”

 

This awakening

is the second bounce of a

dead cat.

 

Slick prick, chthonic

poke to put you asleep again.

 

Tugging to the sheets, a

pulley, trusting you won’t tumble

out of sight as

 

the softness slides up

your legs, your fingertips –

a dullard Socrates

 

waiting for the soft stroke

to reach the brain.

 

 

“Twilight sleep” is a peculiar effect of certain sedatives, resulting in insensibility to pain without any loss of consciousness. I initially wrote this as the final poem in an anthology called “The Party”, whereby the various guests’ adventures result in a series of climaxes and tragedies. This is the unsettling final poem for one of the more unfortunate characters who, after falling in with entirely the wrong crowd, makes the most foolish and final mistake of his life.

Inspired, thematically and otherwise, by Sylvia Plath, Sean O’Brien, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and many more besides.

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