You are not kept awake by the fires burning down the street. It is not the hard hot stars that make you toss and turn, or the moon where no one lives, or the empty houses beneath it. Somewhere a president is dreaming of a world he will never remember. Som ewhere a king goes to sleep.

No, it is not the waves of traffic coming through your window that keep you from dreams -- they do not remind you of another coast, another highway at another time of year, an ocean at the edge of the world that heaved restless waves while you fell in and out of love. That memory, like love's absence, does not come as strange smells from the street to tease your brain and break your heart, again and again, until the sun rises and you, perfectly broken, finally fall asleep.

(There are men down the street, in dirty alleys, who sleep like this: under cardboard, under the moon, under the chilly pre-dawn air. When they dream, do they call it life? James runs from cops carrying televisions -- "Stop or we'll shoot!" -- and, leaping through a concrete wall, finds himself warm in bed with a woman who looks like his mother. He does not care; she pulls his shirt over his head and takes him in...)

You, however, are wide awake: unbroken by love, held by gravity, staring at the window as if there were a secret encoded in the patterns of streetwalkers and traffic lights; as if watching could unravel the knot that keeps you up; as if you were not staring at own your face.


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