18 May, 2017

Verse—"Bedtime Rituals"

"Bedtime Rituals"

You put a leg in your pajamas, NO—.
First (as things go) you must
divest that leg of previous attire, and
the other, and arms, too, and belly/neck/
chest—to prepare for pajamafication.
But why? Do dreams have a dress code? Does
sleep come quicker to the clothed? I confess
to scant preparations for sleeping, as such, just
what I was already wearing or some
soft cotton shift or nothing at all, but
the ritual changing-of-the-clothes is a con-
cept completely lost on the likes of me. On
my dislikes, too.

Perhaps it is closer to a custom—some-
thing you do because it is something
you do—or propriety—something you
do because if you don't, people or God or
whoever blah blah will think etc. It is
probably much more mundane, about
laundry or the likelihood of lice, which
not at all alters my perception of the

Though maybe less a lack of point than
radical redundancy. Flannel, plaid, or painted
silk, these adult accoutrements of
retiring for the day exist solely for-the-
sake-of, and for this reason remain
ridiculous and unforgivable.  Meant for
children, they bear magical marks to
transform a sickly 6-year-old into a seeker,
soothsayer, underood vigilante and
slumbering hero. And so we're taught:
undress to dress, dot your Is, cross your
Ts, or maybe it's cross your eyes and
dump your tea—in the damn
harbor—yeeeah, that's the place
where I was raised, not an L.L. Bean or
otherwise perpetual Christmas catalogue, not
some misplaced Protestant fear of
touching someone in the dark, or—worse—

I will, I concede, bend over the warmth
of a watery basin, scrub and suds and
smearing flesh to more immediate ex-
pectations. I will wash the cascade range
of bony plinths jutting from the seams of my jaw
to erase the day's evidence of
coffee consumption. I will worship at gates of
the lady palace, imbibe hundreds or
thousands in tinctures or serums or multi-
peptide forumlae that mask my humanity, but,
by all that fails to be sacred in
this world, pajamas pull draw-
strings on a final threshold
I will not cross.

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