Dana Gioia

(24 December 1950 / Hawthorne, California)

Insomnia


Now you hear what the house has to say.
Pipes clanking, water running in the dark,
the mortgaged walls shifting in discomfort,
and voices mounting in an endless drone
of small complaints like the sounds of a family
that year by year you've learned how to ignore.

But now you must listen to the things you own,
all that you've worked for these past years,
the murmur of property, of things in disrepair,
the moving parts about to come undone,
and twisting in the sheets remember all
the faces you could not bring yourself to love.

How many voices have escaped you until now,
the venting furnace, the floorboards underfoot,
the steady accusations of the clock
numbering the minutes no one will mark.
The terrible clarity this moment brings,
the useless insight, the unbroken dark.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Rookie Tom J. Mariani (10/24/2007 11:31:00 PM)

    Having read Gioia's book 'Can Poetry Matter' and through his workshops while he taught at Sonoma State near where I live in California, I don't think this poem is just about houshold deferred maintenance. What keeps one awake at night; neglect, regrets, voices that have escaped you until now? Got me thinking; as most of his poems do. (Report) Reply

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