by PÄLVI PURO RANTALA
by Pälvi Puro Rantala
I lie in my bed
it's night and I
should be asleep
I lie in my bed
towards the world
towards my body
towards my mind
There they are again, the voices
Prolonged sleep deprivation is linked to strokes. Did you know that?
Yes, I knew that, thank you very much.
And insomnia has been shown to have an adverse effect on cardiac
Knew that, too.
There is strong evidence that sleep disorders are linked to a risk of
developing cancer. And diabetes.
Would you please just shut up! This doesn't help me
Too little sleep can cause considerable weight gain over a short time period.
IT'S ALREADY HAPPENING AND YOU'RE A LIVING PROOF OF IT!! HA HA HA YOU FAT COW!
You should not stay in bed if you can't fall asleep.
I know. I know.
I rise from the bed
open the window
Very good! Fresh air is good for sleep, many experts say. The ideal
temperature for the bedroom should be no more than 15 degrees.
Wow, where did you dig that up? There is no way I
could sleep at that temperature... Is your advice from
The city around me, never silent
The wind is always there, singing, shouting
And the radiator, hiss, hiss, how can it be so loud?
Dust flies, I can hear its silent noise
My spouse snores in our bed
deep in his sleep
in a world I cannot reach
Did you know that the faces of people suffering from a sleep disorder
are rated as less attractive by other people than the faces of
people who had a good night's sleep?
SO, YOU'RE NOT ONLY A TIRED FATTIE
BUT AN UGLY ONE, TOO!
Tiredness weakens social relations.
Tell me something I don't know.
NOBODY LIKES YOU!! EVERYONE HATES
YOU ANYWAY SO WHY BOTHER!!
I lie on the sofa
in my own staying-awakeness
And the border between me and the world
is so weak
Ei hätää. Ei haittaa. Nuku vain.
Kaikki on ihan hyvin.
In my bed again, the night is silent and still
My body is tight, it's creaking
Relax your muscles. It helps you to sleep.
I know! I know! I just can't!
It is only a matter of learning. Human beings need to sleep. All
creatures are able to sleep.
YOU STRESSED-OUT BITCH YOU CANNOT
EVEN SLEEP HA HAHA HAHHAHAHA
Please. Could you leave me alone. It's not a matter of
trying. I know trying doesn't help, at all.
YOU'RE LOUSY EVEN AT SLEEPING!!
Breathe in. Breathe out. Remember what you did in the yoga class.
Now concentrate on your breathing. Iiiiiiinhale. Eeeeeeeeexhale.
My ears are humming
knees snapping when I change position,
at the same time
billions of microbes whispering and crying
Do microbes sleep?
WHO CARES IF MICROBES SLEEP OR NOT!
ONLY A CRAZY LUNATIC WEIRDO WOULD
THINK ABOUT SUCH THINGS!!
But I cannot stop thinking about the ever-vigilant microbes,
running and rushing in me
Singing in a choir, a sweet song about staying awake
I lie in my bed, once again
it's night and I
should be asleep
You should sleep eight hours a night. That is the norm. That is
healthy, according to the statistics. There are many, many studies. As
I am not the norm! I am me!
Night is the proper time for sleep. The only proper time.
Lack of sleep hinders your efficiency and ability to concentrate.
Thus, it causes economical loss to your employer.
Stop bringing this up all the time.
BAD BAD BAD! LOUSY WORKER! THE
COMING WORKDAY IS ALREADY LOST!
It is the duty of every good citizen to take care of their own well-
being. Sleeping is a crucial part of it.
BAD BAD BAD! LOUSY CITIZEN!! YOUR
IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR ---
Could you just let me be!
Ei hätää. Ei haittaa. Kaikki on
ihan hyvin. Kaikki järjestyy.
Älä huolehdi. Nuku vain.
HA HA HA DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT
Maybe I could try to count sheep
It never made a difference but I could give it a try anyway, right?
Many people have experienced counting of sheep as helpful.
OK. Let's start, then.
white white white gray (three, four, five, six)
Then: a long pause
There are no sheep coming, where are they?
But suddenly: a rush
Is it the rush hour of sheep, or what the heck is happening here?
BAAAA, BAAAA, BAAAAA, BAAAAAAA
The sheep are yelling without pause, my ears ache
They all have so many things to say!
Please be quiet! Please. Would. You. Be. Quiet.
Finally, a silence.
Well I knew it wouldn't work
YOU CANNOT EVEN COUNT SHEEP
PROPERLY!!! YOU'RE NOT ONLY
SLEEPLESS, BUT SHEEPLESS TOO,
It is not a matter of counting. I just think it is a cultural
You could have a glass of milk. Or a banana.
I don't like milk.
Also, light exercise before bedtime would be good for you.
That's what I do already.
NO YOU DON'T YOU LAZY BITCH!!
And a regular daily rhythm. Especially during the evenings. Routines.
I have a regular rhythm in my evenings.
REGULAR MY ASS!!!!!
You should avoid drinking coffee in the evenings. And alcohol.
YEAH RIGHT. YOU LIAR!
You should close all electronic devices two hours before going to sleep.
I do that!
Yes, that's what I do.
YOU'RE ON DENIAL. ADDICT.
Whale song is soothing and has brought relief to many people with
That sounds creepy.
Or some relaxing music.
Yeah, that I could try.
I put the headphones on
and fall into a weak slumber
the music runs into me
this chord finds a place in my right elbow
the next one in the left
the chorus pulsates in my stomach
the melody travels into my legs
reaches the toes and
turns back again
The song makes its nest in my chest
The music in my veins
turns into bright yellow
I listen to all the voices from the sky
the air is whispering
Forgotten voices of the past
All the sleepless
I'm not the first one!
They used to stay awake
or listening for omens
to honour God, any gods
So many reasons not to sleep!
My skin writes in itself, on itself
the voices of all bad sleepers
Yep. And now it's time for you to shut up!
If I touch my skin, my cheek
elbow, arm, knee
my skin sings the songs of the sleepless
and the border exists no more
I forget to be worried
I forget to be afraid of being awake
My spouse is snoring in our bed
I touch his back, feel the sound
warm and soft
I stay there, find the same rhythm
Nuku vain. Olet turvassa.
Good night. Sleep well.
Hyvää yötä. Nuku hyvin.
Selection of photographs made Ella Vihervuori in response to the poem.