City Dweller

I am bad at being on holiday

Perhaps it’s the lack of purpose

At home, at work, I have routine

Things to achieve, means of measuring

The worth of my own time and how

I have chosen to spend it.  Here?

Not so much.  I measure the days

In bug bites, crumbs, accumulating

From unhealthy breakfasts in odd corners.

By gas miles trying to locate a bin

That takes mixed recycling.

I am stumped by the lack of a

Sewing needle to mend favourite

Shirts and skirts town by errant handles

On rented bathroom doors

Skilled fingers itch in their impotence

Requiring a shopping trip – my own

Personal hell – to a mall where

Every single security gate is triggered

By my keys, the zipper on my purse,

Or some such similar nonsense.

I am forced to empty my pockets

Try to explain in broken sentences

Of a language I do not pretend to speak

While you accompany our child

Whose toilet training seems to err

In the climate, to a gendered bathroom

With me staring down a twenty-something

Minimum wager with an axe to grind

On a Thursday afternoon.

Nothing to find – too bad!

Better luck catching the

Next middle-aged mom

Who may feel some sort of

Vicarious thrill swiping fifty cent

Plastic merchandise – none of which

Can easily be concealed

In a purse or a pocket.

I hate holidays.  This kind of crap

Doesn’t find me at home.

In an environment that I can

Kid myself remains

Within my control.

I sweat, try not to scratch

At my bites, my sunburn,

Recall I had to borrow

Your deodorant

As mine had failed

To cope with the local temperatures.

We keep being promised rain.

But such a luxury

Fails to materialise.

Night after sleepless night

Trying to ignore the free concert

The rooster and pack of dogs that feel

Some need to duet at the crack of dawn.

My eye twitching at the

Unwelcome whine of a mosquito

Hovering in the tepid darkness

Waiting to feed on this

Overheated foreign delicacy

Reaching for pharmaceutical reassurance

That the never-ending irritation

Will have an expiry date.

Insomniac

I stayed up hanging on the line last night
My eyeballs were putting up a terrible fight
With my lids defiant and the screen too bright
Skin so itchy in pyjamas, something wasn’t right

With the tablet scrolling, tapping black on grey
Skimming lousy fan fiction ‘til the break of day
Guilty pleasures to distract me from this state of play
Knowing all too well what he would have to say

I’ve been lounging round in bubble baths to help me snooze
With late night meditating, self-hypnosis, pills and booze
Relaxation seems an ever more elusive muse
Necking Nytol, chugging camomile but no good news

Been a long time now since I couldn’t sleep
Keeping busy, feeling dizzy ‘til the clock goes beep
Waking dreams so crammed with thoughts that slither dark and deep
Just keep walking through the daylight feeling ready to weep

When your brain won’t slow and your ears won’t close
And you’re feeling sort of coldy from your head to your toes
No hot toddy makes you noddy, as the restless grows
Squirming prone beneath the duvet in your sleeping clothes

But the minute you stretch to find your feet again
He starts complaining in his sleep and clutching at your hem
As his snoring fills your senses and you pray for REM
You’re still stuck playing teddy while you count to ten

Sick of sheep that wander wooly through your neural net
As you lie caught between ‘it’s bed-time’ and ‘not-breakfast-yet’
Swearing blue streaks in the curtains trying to forget
It’s been an hour since you last visited the cabinet

Essential oils to make you sleepy getting in your face
With the stink of lavender all over the place
Singing whales offend the cat but buy you no more grace
He steals the pillow, sprawling fur in every inch of space

When the sun comes sneaking through the soggy dawn
You’ve given up on any rest; just put your knickers on
Stumble downstairs grumbling looking pale and wan
Bag grabbed, you’re lurching to the bus stop with the zombie throng