4.45 am

Am I alive?
lying at the edge of darkness
awaiting the slow death of night
that surrenders to the rebirth of day
feeling the involuntary rise of my diaphragm
filling with gases of life
contracting to expel the unwanted
my ear pressed against Egyptian cotton
my arrhythmic pulse amplified
by my awareness
as I await my return to the realm of subconscious refuge
to rejoin the slumber of my neighbourhood
those not under siege
by the rambling thoughts of insomnia.

Medically living,
vital signs of respiration and coronary activity
no need for medical attention
my body turns on my bed of unrest
my mind unable to close the door against
the flood of thoughts
marching like an invasion
battalions of memories
armed with weapons of fear and self doubt
setting off explosions of anxiety
that rip through the logic and reason
the marching columns stomping over the last vestiges of resistance
laying down again to the dark forces
while awaiting the cavalry of sleep that never rides.

I am not dead
not yet oxygenated blood pumps through my arteries
allowing the thoughts to manifest
a never ending series of Big Bang theories
that formulate by a self replicating genesis
of uncontrolled experiments
evolving to evoke emotions then drifting like vapour
to make way for the next theory of chaos
to be filled with relativity of my own making
light existing in my mind battling with the dark army of thoughts
casting shadows in which I seek refuge
where I exist in unreality.

I survive
a resistance fighter
waiting for the battle to end,
neither victory nor defeat,
but a ceasefire,
an accord,
so that I can emerge
to declare a temporary peace.

Ciaran Burke