Tag Archives: slumber parties

NaPoWriMo 2015, Day 2: Stars


Sometimes, on an Indian blanket spread on the night-dewed grass, I became aware of them.
They were always there waiting in the ever-clear South Dakota nights.
Anything could have happened on a night like that,
Reclining with no ceiling over us,
Silence split by crickets, frogs, the chipped barks of dogs.

ummertime freed us to the great outdoors.
Traitors to our beds, we chose the long-grass cushioned backyard.
Attacks by neighborhood boys an exciting possibility,
Rescues by my bellowing dad, in jockey shorts, standing on the back porch.
Sleep not on our agenda for hours afterwards.

Slumber parties meant for anything but slumber.
Taking a walk at midnight and crossing the path of no one.
Air in the night a different elixir
Returning to roll in the grass in shortie pajamas—that pre-sexual thrill.
Stars of our own summer, we strutted our stage until the wee hours.

Something in the night freeing something in us.
Taken by the stars to other selves, far above us.
Aware of the mysteries laid out like a path in front of us.
Returning reluctantly to our pre-teen lives,
Safe beneath the dangerous stars.

The WordPress prompt today was to write about texting, but Since I have never texted anyone in my life, thought I’d tell you what life was like in a pre-text world. And here’s a picture to go with both the subject of texting (old-time style) and the above poem:


Lush Night

Lush Night

Remember that delicious
walking, arms linked,
down the middle
of the gravel road
in your pajamas
at five in the morning
when you were twelve?
That first slumber party
in your safe small town
when you all stayed up all night
for the first time in your lives?
That eerie first sight
of the sun coming up
when your head had never hit a pillow
since it went down?

And then you knew for the first time
the delicious pleasures
of being a night owl—
of finding time
that everyone else was wasting
through dreams.

And you have been
an aficionado of night
ever since.
All of your term papers
and exams studied for
at the last minute,
all night long.
Books written, poems written
mostly in the dark
while towns and cities around you slept.
That power of having all of your time for yourself
with not a chance of phones ringing.
Some magic happening
once you had the world to yourself
so ever afterwards
you have survived
on as little sleep as possible.

During your party years,
dancing and drinking till three,
then going for breakfast with the single crowd
and driving straight to school at six.
You were invulnerable.

Even married,
sneaking out of bed once he’d fallen asleep
and working in your basement studio all night long,
sometimes sneaking back to bed before he awakened,
at other times caught.
“It’s nine in the morning! Have you been up all night again?”
Feeling that little terror, like a vampire caught by light.

Then at 54, with no more husband,
no more job necessary,
with a new country and a new studio
above ground,
guilty pleasures no longer needed to be hidden—
watching light after light go out
as you sat piecing art together
in your studio—until suddenly,
light after light went on again
so you were going to bed
as your neighbor was arising
to start his day.

Then, improbably, at 62, internet romance
entered your midnight-and-after world.
Every night serenaded to sleep
from 1500 miles away
by an equally night-addicted lover bard
at two or three or four a.m.—
or whenever pillow talk led to it.

Skype became your love letters
and your trysting spot
now and then all day long;
but still, night better swaddled
that intimate invisible union
through the dark air
that has always been magic for you,
but which now joins instead of
sending you into the single space
where you unite with that within you
which you keep separate from the world.

At night, united or alone,
you know exactly what it is you want
and live it,
with no world
to lead you elsewhere.


The Prompt: Sleepy Time. More and more of us go to bed too late because of sleep procrastination. What are the nighttime rituals that keep you up before finally dozing off?