Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Insomniami

The neon burns a hole in the night
and the Freon burns a hole in the sky
            —Dessa

All night darkness
constructs its unquestioning citadel
of intrusive thoughts

*

if you listen closely
you can hear
the rising waters whispers

if you cover your ears
you’ll hear it too

*

trapped in the seashell of night

*

chase the echo
to its origin

*

a useless lullaby
a rythme replacing
the unticking
digital clocks
counting my sleeplessness
in silence

*

the shapelessness of waves
a watery sleep paralysis
gripping the city

*

the high water mark
is reaching for the sky
and getting there

*

new high rises rise
every day like shark teeth

a fire sale

get it while it’s hot
get that land
while it’s still land

*

the world is burning you know

*

all night you can hear them
building another goddamn stadium
while tearing down the house
around you as you sleep

*

enough empty seats
for the displaced

an uncheering home crowd
longing for home

*

enough hollow condos
for everyone
but it’s important
that they stay empty
they won’t say why

*

hurricanes come through
like tourists
and suddenly
there are less homeless people

their names lost
to the larger one
of christened chaos

*

night is a rosary of unanswered hours

*

count them
count them
count them

*

sometimes I’m grateful
for the light pollution

the smug stars
think they know everything

but their slow knowledge
is always late with its light

*

still

I consult the disdainful
horoscope to see what
they promise to promise

*

Miami is obviously
a leo
(look it up)

*

a drowning fire sign

pride pretending everything
is fine

I mean come on

*

a backwards place

you can’t blame everything
on the Bermuda Triangle
but you can try

*

swimming birds
and flying fish
burrowing owls

night sky
reflected in the water

becoming confused

a broth of clouds and corals

*

octopus conspire against us
limbed-brains learning
from our mistakes

our heirs
come too soon

*

certainly
they’ll do better
with this city
than we did

*

this city
with its history of hurricanes
and fraud

*

one day
the neon
will burn out

and then what

*

sun rises
like rent

*

sun rises
like a flag

*

sun rises
like the ocean

*

I can't sleep
but the city I love
can’t wake up

Credit


Copyright © 2021 by Ariel Francisco. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 24, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


“‘Insomniami’ is a combination of ‘insomnia’ and ‘Miami.’ It’s made up of all the lines, images, and thoughts I ended up cutting out of what turned into my last book, A Sinking Ship is Still a Ship. The fragmented nature of it ended up being a useful form for the tiredness and frustration I felt towards living in a place so harshly affected by climate change and yet so neglected by the powers that be.”
Ariel Francisco

Judges’ Citation by Camille T. Dungy and Dr. Katharine K. Wilkinson

“The vivid observations of ‘Insomniami’ manage to express outrage, panic, humour, despair, complicity, and ideas for action all at the same time. It asks that we confront the insanity of our present, while refusing to give up our future. We were impressed by the freshness of voice and the conviction of vision in these taut and bright stanzas.” 

Author


Ariel Francisco

Ariel Francisco is the author of Under Capitalism If Your Head Aches They Just Yank Off Your Head (Flowersong Press, 2022), A Sinking Ship is Still a Ship (Burrow Press, 2020), and All My Heroes Are Broke (C&R Press, 2017).

Date Published: 2021-04-24

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/insomniami