Blank stare, or: Unmade choices

A piece of Tanka Prose

supine form in bed
motionless, but for deep breaths
eyelids flutter rapidly
unmade choices lived again
blank stare up at white ceiling

I don’t take care of myself very well. My sleep schedule is ridiculously inconsistent; some nights I only sleep three hours; other nights, I may sleep for ten. Also, I consume much too much caffeine, to the point that I cannot function well without it. These behaviors affect my health adversely.

The dreams I recall upon waking are always disturbing, often inspired by regrets and insecurities of mine. I believe they are caused by my unhealthy lifestyle choices, certainly in part. Those that are most vivid, those that stay with me, tend to visit in the hours of early morning… sometimes not long after I’ve gone to bed.


The above piece of Tanka Prose was written for Colleen M. Chesebro’s ‘Tanka Prose Poetry Contest’, on the theme of ‘Dreams’. The three winning entries are amazing – I highly recommend that you head over there to check them out!

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

27 thoughts on “Blank stare, or: Unmade choices”

  1. A great poem reliable for sure and a double edge sword.
    Awareness is everything.
    Slay the dragon with a small step…. and then there are those nights.
    I’ve learned to not fret them either way as rest comes or not. 4 babies and no sleep taught me that.
    hugs and love,
    p.s. sharing with my son.. he sleeps best on the floor if and when he sleeps 😂😎🙈

  2. I waste about forty-five minutes before going to bed which I could utilize in sleep. But I agree, David, me time is so bliss. Aaaaahhhhhhh……… 🙂

  3. Ah. To be young again…. I now have a close and loving connection to my pillow and treasure my sleep time and my afternoon naps! This is of course only possible since I gave up (gasp!) caffeine.

  4. I used to also neglect sleep for time alone, so I understand that need very well. I could never function on only three hours of sleep, though I spent years getting only 5 or 6 every single night. I don’t sleep any better now though I do sleep more.

    I really like your entry. I suspect there were many good ones that were not chosen. (K)

  5. 💞🖋Your poem was 👌beautiful and relatable. I struggle with this same problem and stress affects my sleep and causes me depression which makes my insomnia 🥱🛏worst. You’re right I should make better choices too. I will try to do what’s best for me instead of trying to please others who don’t seem to ever be pleased with me. 😒no matter what I do. I am glad to know that you are a kindred spirit and I am not alone in this struggle, I feel tied up inside with my emotions sometimes. I wish you a peaceful✌️ rest, dearest David.🥰😘💋

  6. I’m sorry to read about your battles with sleep. It would be silly to suggest a remedy because I’m sure you’ve tried them all.
    But you know what when you feel you need to sleep as in NOW, then do that with clothing and all.
    Going into the supine position may not be helpful at all, then all those thoughts fall…. unmade, is also a decision. Rest my friend, rest, you are doing well.
    And count the lovely wooly sheep..
    Who knows the old woman tales may just work.

    Wishing you a sweet sleep David.

    1. The truest, best remedy would be for me to be responsible… but I just value my quiet, alone time too much… I just love the silence of the night.

      Thanks so much, Abi. ❤

      1. You know yourself best and that is true. Rest is best for you, no matter how youthful you are.

        Yet, I totally get you writers and the silence of the night, there you bring out your light.

        You are welcome, still rest. ❤

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