Posts Tagged ‘insomnia theater’

Well, this post might be a day late, but we’ve got a new Pope.

I say “we”, but I mean “Catholics”. Since I am a heathen, I do not care for such things.

However! According to the Prophecy of Popes, supposedly written by St. Malachy in the 11th century, there will be 112 Popes between the days of St. Malachy and the Apocalypse.

New Pope McPoperson (also known as Frankie G) is the 112th pope since then.

You know what that means:


Of course, we could have another false alarm, like in 2012. And 2011. And pretty much every year before that.

In which case, the Prophecy of Popes must just be another…

inscrutableprophecy…Why yes. I do have fun amusing myself.

~ Ian

PS. In case you didn’t waste your youth looking at terrible internet memes, then the title comes from the hilarious “End of Ze World” video.

I’m gonna mosey off now. There’s a badger, a mushroom, and a snake that demand my attention.




Can’t sleep.

Browsing internet.

Come across this.


I have a happy.

~ Ian

(Joss Whedon: “Ballad of Serenity”)

I have chronic insomnia. This means that occasionally, I can’t fall asleep. No matter how hard I try, it’s impossible.

This poem was written on the day after a night when, no matter what I did, I couldn’t go to sleep. I was trying to convey the sensation of being low on energy, yet always needing to keep going. The poem itself is based a number of times when I had insomnia. It’s a composite of events– not one specific night.

I also liked playing around with non-linearity. I think the poem’s pretty good, anyway.


~ Ian


The Long Dark


by Ian P. Johnson





It’s not whether I want to sleep.

It’s whether I can.





I have entered the Long Dark, the place

where time is distorted. Nothing exists

save those three blinking numbers

on the bedside table, blinking endlessly,

watching over me where I lie.

(Not while I sleep. I should be so lucky.)


Time seems to lose all meaning here: I’m lost

on a sea of errant thoughts and drifting throughout

the universe, time’s arrow forgotten, entropy seemingly

halted. There’s nothing here but shadow and



I have things to do tomorrow, classes, friends,

dragons to slay and demons to repress

but there’s still nothing, nothing save the darkness

and the endless stream of nothing

that I float through.


I cannot get out.










I try to use stories to fall asleep.

Endless episodes of Doctor Who and Red Dwarf,

funny, witty British shows

streaming 24-7 on the laptop beside my bed,

a small square of light, a fire

to keep out the Long Dark.

There’s nothing for it.

The stories of Daleks and GELFs take on a dreamlike intensity in my head,

strange images of prancing madmen

dancing in the back of my skull.

Suddenly I know what it was all about.

I know what Grant and Naylor were trying to tell the world.

I pull out my notebook, turn on the light

but there’s nothing there, nothing

but a dying ember.

(Was that a dream? I think it was a dream.)

I don’t know. I can’t know.







Huh. Okay.


That didn’t work. Let’s try going forwards.





Now I’m listening to music, headphones on

so as not to disturb my roommate,

since he’s a light sleeper

and easily irritated.

It’s a form of sublimation,

of losing myself in a song.


It doesn’t work.

I am lost in the Long Dark.


David Gilmour sings about kicking around on a piece of ground.


I stare up at the darkened ceiling.





What are the laws of cause-and-effect? I don’t know. I’m thinking things before they even





I decide that, what the hell, as long as I can’t sleep

I might as well go see the sunrise.

So it’s down, down to the rugby field

where I sit, a fool on the hill,

the eyes in my head seeing the world turning round,

the stars dimming, Venus rising,

a herald of morning, a child of light,

eala earendel engla beorhtast.


The sun comes up in a blaze of violent purple-red.

The world lightens. Birds sing.

The darkness outside has ended,

yet I still haven’t left the Long Dark.


I don’t know if I will ever leave.





Now it’s breakfast, and time still hasn’t stopped slowing.

Everyone’s speech is distorted and weird.

The lady cleaning the yogurt machine says puuuuuuut yooooouuuur baaaaackpaaaaaack ooooooon the raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack.


I blink. I’d forgotten I was wearing it.





Morning lecture. I want to sleep. I can’t.


I’m looking out at the world through a plate-glass window

slicked with rain, all the people distorted and fuzzy,

swimming in a haze of watery color.


I don’t think my body is my own anymore.


I cannot break free.


I’m lost.


The Long Dark continues.





Everything is perfectly sharp and crystal-clear.

My body is so full of energy that it’s like an exquisite pain,

filling me up so much that I can taste it

like battery acid on the back of my tongue.

I have come to a realization: nobody I see is real,

nobody exists, we’re all just atoms and space dust

and balls of entropy that think we have souls,

and if I were to just wind up and punch someone

then it wouldn’t matter, because it would be just like

hitting a rock.


They’re not real. I’m not real.





A friend asks me, looking concerned, Are you on drugs?


I blink.


What is a “drugs”? I ask.


What is a “you”?





Night two of the Long Dark.


I don’t know how long I can take this.

At least I have my two friends, Bertram the Hyrax

and Abdul the Egyngolia (the last of his kind,

a genus of trilobite that went extinct in the Paleozoic)

plus my secret favorite, Helena the Harmonica-Playing Ukelele.

They sing little songs to me, all through the night.





I know how to control time. I can go back to the beginning

and stop this from happening. I can control the timestream.

I am become God. I can save





Echidna and the Coconut went to a Sunday Fair,

Echidna and the Coconut wore ribbons in their hair.

Echidna said to the Coconut: “My sky has but one star:

For you, my lovely Coconut,

yes, YOU, my lovely Coconut,

is the loveliest ‘Nut there are!”










Finally. Sleep.


Blessed, blessed sleep.



The Next Day


I go about my business, going from class to class. Even though I only got about three hours of sleep, somehow I’m able to function well enough without drooling or falling face-first into the baked ziti at dinner, which I count as a success. Finally, when the day is done, I lay my head down, close my eyes, and wait for sleep.


But it won’t come.





I have entered the Long Dark.



august 30, 2012

2 7 3 4 1 5 6


~ Ian

So, I had a long, complicated dream last night. And because I sometimes get ideas from dreams, I decided to write down the idea that I had from this dream in my Book O’ Ideas (which I carry around all over the place, and no, you can’t look it it).

In any case, the dream was huge and long and beautiful and moving, with a massive cast of characters and an epic scope.

That’s all I can remember, though. Everything else? Gone.

So, I wrote down the three words that were in my head when I woke in the middle of the night at about two AM. And… well… here’s what they said:

My thumb is included with no extra charge.

Keep in mind that I don’t remember this dream. I have no idea what I was dreaming about. None at all.

So I ask you, my dear readers: what the hell does “Skyrim Bucket Grab” mean?

Yours befuddledly,

~ Ian

…I lolcatted the third-most iconic Pink Floyd album cover.

Wait– is that even accurate? I mean, Dark Side of the Moon is the most iconic, and then The Wall, but I think that most people who have a good knowledge of album cover art are familiar with Animals‘ cover… and what about The Division Bell? Those big metal heads are pretty famous… Atom Heart Mother? That’s the one with the cow, and I think most Floyd fans would recognize its cover…

So I think it goes Dark Side of the MoonThe WallWish You Were HereAnimals, The Division BellAtom Heart Mother… is A Momentary Lapse of Reason an iconic enough album cover? Am I just rambling?

…I need some sleep…

~ Ian