by Rick Brown
was a short period of time in my life where I walked in my sleep.
I’ll call it that for lack of a better explanation. I
was in my mid to late 30’s I believe ... a regular runner
and generally obsessive exerciser. Whether that had anything
to do with it I can’t say. But it was the late 80’s
... the end of the Reagan years ... and I approached narcissism
just like most of the other people around me. Although I would
like to think I kept a little humility back then. Not that we
were as bad as the late 70’s disco thing. But that’s
a story for a different day.
Actually I didn’t really walk in my sleep so much as wake
up doing irrational things. (Perhaps it was the bourbon I was
fond of drinking back then.) Like trying to climb out the bedroom
window. Or walking into my wife’s closet at 4 am, knocking
clothes off their hangers and waking her up. Then there was
the time I waltzed into the bathroom and lifted the top of the
clothes hamper thinking it was the toilet seat. Yvonne is a
very sound sleeper. Yet she has this “take care of my
stupid husband” radar that is impeccably psychic and accurate.
I could write volumes about her saving my ass in the nick of
time. But hey ... that’s for our 50th wedding anniversary
and/or my funeral. Suffice it to say she managed that night
to keep the dirty clothes from getting any dirtier.
Speaking of anniversaries ... one time ... I forget the year
... we got ourselves a room downtown in a very nice hotel to
celebrate such a calendar event. The two of us went out for
a wonderful dinner where we ate and drank lots of wine and laughed
and loved each other’s company. Then we went back to our
room where we drank lots of champagne and laughed and reveled
in marital bliss and talked and drank more champagne. And laughed.
And drank even more champagne. We eventually retired to the
giant king sized bed and dozed off together ... both au natural
Sometime in the wee hours of the darkness ... as is my customary
nightly routine ... I got out of bed to relieve myself. I didn’t
need to go badly ... just enough to kick the sleepwalking thing
into action. While my head was still euphoric from the champagne,
I was barely conscious of my activity. I mean ... I knew I was
up but wasn’t cognizant of where ... what time
it was ... what day it was ... what year it
was ... where I was. This is not an unpleasant feeling.
Now that I have retired it is a daily occurrence ... albeit
a more conscious state of being.
Soon I walked through what I either did or didn’t believe
to be the bathroom door. It slammed behind me. I turned left
and began trekking down a long, long well lit hallway. There
were doors to my right and left identical to the one that just
slammed behind me. And somehow I didn’t find this at all
curious. I continued to walk down the hallway ... zombie like
... until I got to a small lobby. There were elevators on either
side of the room. And like most hotel floor elevator lobbies
there was a table in between with a phone on it and a very large
It was at this point in time reality started seeping back into
my brain. I looked and saw my reflection in the mirror. My nude
reflection. I was without a stitch of clothing ... naked
as ... as ... naked as a sunfish!! This didn’t particularly
strike me. In fact I thought, “All this running and working
out has got me looking pretty good!” Yet I figured
I had better hot foot it back to the room before I ran into
some other sleepwalker. I glanced at the phone and thought,
“I should call the room really. Tell Yvonne where I am.
She might be worried.” (I’m a good husband about
such things ... even when I am naked.)
But what room? What was the room number? What
was that number again? I decided to head in the right
direction hoping the sight of the correct number might bring
it all back to me. 714? 785? I strolled for what seemed an eternity
... 774? ... worrying about the number not coming to me when
... all of a sudden ... a door opened slightly. An arm thrust
itself out and pulled me inside. It was Yvonne and her radar
Then we had this discussion ... or something very close to it.
“What were you doing out there?”
“I thought I was going to the bathroom.”
“In the hallway? You unlocked the door
and walked down the hallway? You thought you were going
to the bathroom?”
“Well ... yeah ... I guess.”
“Did anyone see you?”
“I gotta pee.”
Some marriages do not survive exploits such as these. No one
did see me ... not that in my state of mind I would have cared.
But the hotel dick could have arrested me I suppose ... dragged
me down to the main lobby naked. But that didn’t happen.
And once again ... Yvonne’s radar saved the day ... er
by Ted Kane
At last Ohio
has voted, no more must we
hear of Huckabee
part one million and 1
by jessy kendall
the fluid dream gets nearer, snaking
out of donnie darko's chest, bulges the dance floor
with super calm eyes. iconic pages ripped when flipped,
the dream glows about them through hand sparks
from all time.
the dream like blackbirds in their thousands storming
making my eyes cross; a fluttering trail into the darkening sky
i can't see the end of.
Complied by Dan Eley
On Light Pollution
by Patrick O'Malley
7 - October 2002
Your Head on this Pillow
C. Mehrl Bennett
the time that I sleep
my mind child in dreams so sweet steeps
out come the thoughts buried so deep
and images disjointed
Thoughts often pointed
in unconsciousness piling together the unrelated
wakeful mind full
The night a recess; time enough to mull
The ideas bubble up, some the Sandman will cull
the images are dark
or the outlook honest and stark
Other times the fires of creativity spark
on the ideas whisper, "Let's play!"
I am hidden away all day
Let me lead you where I may
Muse, My Muse
during the day, reality can so confuse
but the night, my blocks, my control - I lose
to run about
the mind child is out
Sweet freedom she shouts
dawn comes upon me.
Free in my dreams, she can be.
For my mind's eyes alone to see.
Tabloid: the Musical
Easton Town Center
* * * * 1/2
enjoy a good baseball game ... the summer weather ... the cold
beer ... the crack of the bat. And I’ve always wanted to
catch a foul ball ... or a home run. But considering my career
as a ballplayer when I was a boy, my more realistic goal is merely
to get a baseball ... pick it up off the floor ... out of a seat
... after it has eluded everyone else in the near vicinity.
I played (and I use the verb very loosely) in what was known as
Summer League in my hometown. Unlike the official Little
League, no one was cut. Every boy had to play the field two full
innings and bat at least once to constitute a fair, authentic
game. Fair – yes. Equitable – hardly. I might have
had a happier childhood had I been cut from the team ... or merely
sat on the bench the entire nine innings. My first season I went
all summer without a hit ... or a catch for that matter. 0 for
1000 perhaps. The pitchers were so bad too. I struck out, walked,
or got hit with the ball. When a kindly coach had the brilliant
plan to develop me into a left handed hitter due to my bad left
eye, I got hit in the head with enough fastballs that I begged
him to let me strike out from the right side of the plate where
I was comfortable at sucking.
I was no better in the field. Bad players were put at second base
with the intention of the shortstop hogging grounders hit anywhere
near second base. Really bad players were banished to
right field and everyone on the team ... including myself ...
prayed to God Almighty no one would hit it out there. This is
when I began doubting the existence of God ... the first time
a screaming line drive was hit at me. My well intentioned coach
tried his hardest to get me to conquer my fear. “What’s
uh matter Brownie? You ‘fraid the ball is gonna hit you
in the face or sumthin’?”
“Why yes ... yes I am sir.”
I fared a little better in football ... at least on defense. But
when the starting quarterback came up to me and said, “Brown,
you run great patterns. Better than anybody on the team. But you
never catch the goddamned ball!!” I decided
my artistic ability was probably going to be my mainstay after
that comment and promptly quit the team ... which regardless of
what a lot of men will tell you ... is quite a liberating experience.
So finding a baseball has always been my goal. Trouble is this
can be a vicious scene. I’ve witnessed young boys knock
down a gimpy old man, racing to get a ball bouncing around the
empty seats of old Cleveland Municipal Stadium. I’ve watched
my buddy Karl turn into a crazed orangutan, leap in front of me,
and gobble up a foul ball as if his life depended on it. The closest
I have ever come was in a smaller minor league park when a ball
jettisoned back towards me and hit the pole to my immediate right.
So almost getting killed by a line drive foul is my nearest accomplishment.
My wife’s company has season tickets for the Columbus Blue
Jackets (what a ridiculous name for a hockey team) and the other
night four of us were treated to the seats. Now these are not
your ordinary sporting event seats. These are right down on the
glass where it’s so cold you keep your (blue) jacket on.
They are aisle seats. Sitting this close one gets to see a lot
of smooshed hockey player faces as they smash each other relentlessly
into the Plexiglas. It’s really cool ... even if ... like
myself ... you couldn’t give a rat’s ass about hockey.
Sometime in the third period I catch a disturbance to my immediate
left ... like a mini-riot or something. These incredibly large
(I’m being nice here) men dressed in hockey jerseys (which
do not have any slimming effect at all) are trying desperately
to rise out of their seats, to bend over, to reach out. And they
are grunting and caterwauling. Suddenly ... to my amazement ...
I see a small black circular thing pop out from under the fray
and begin to roll ... ever so gingerly ... but with seemingly
purposeful intent ... across the aisle step towards me. Like Shakepseare’s
muse this Puck did glide in my direction as the crowd on my left
groaned and grunted in their cramped immobility. With a nonchalant
confidence I have rarely known, my left hand reached down, snatched
the cold black treasure from its exhilarated escape and thrust
it in the air for all to see! Like a trophy from the gods I held
it high! I then bit Puck..as if it made from solid gold ... just
to make sure the moment had actually occurred. Because, as you
see, this was the very first ... and possibly the final ... athletic
play I had ever made. In an effort to salve the pain of the large,
yet mere mortals to my left, I tried in vain to contain my pride.
And although it is not a baseball ... this Puck ... my
Puck ... makes for one hell of a paperweight.
by Rick Brown
glance at the clock. 3:45 a.m. At my side is my wife ... snoring
serenely in her delicious slumber, as if serenading her co-hibernating
husband. I envy her inert unawareness.
Soon my mind is swimming ... almost drowning in thoughts. Like
popping kernels of cerebellum they explode into my consciousness
... as if my head was the office microwave. Salted into these
sometimes creative ideas are always the petty worthless worries.
What time is it now? How many hours will I get if I fall
asleep right now? Dinner tomorrow? The front door? The
back door? The waitress? The car? The washing machine’s
Oh sure ... I’ve tried all the relaxation exercises people
talk about ... the Zen of falling asleep from sleeplessness. Count
sheep. Concentrate on your breathing. In ... out ... in ... out.
Iiiiiiin ... ooooout. POP! Didn’t I just do this
with the dog all evening? In ... out? And the green light of calm
... beginning at the toes ... slowly climbing my body ... mellowing
myself in intentional increments. Still ... as usual ... by mid-shin
... approaching the creaky knees ... the green goes POP!!! In
my brain. Idea alert!!! Write this down! Others experience this
right?!! No ... wait ... sleep ... morning ... won’t I forget?
I will ... no ... I won’t.
Plan two ... the new position. Right side. Left side. Back. Pillow
fluff. My poor little dog accommodates my tossing/turning ballet
with devoted assimilation. Curl up close ... followed by two poochie
snorts and a doggie sigh. On the last maneuver he patiently adjusts
... does his routine ... then rolls on his back in submission
... passing what small alpha he can muster in the middle of the
night to me with an implied, “Please. No more."
And finally I feel drowsiness returning. My eyelids relent. The
popping thoughts slow. With my family surrounding me I have one
Life is good.
NO WAIT!!! JUST ... ONE MORE THING!!!
Man ... am I gonna be tired tomorrow.