The 3 am corridor. The moment when sleep and consciousness stretch apart equidistant and light takes on the surreal quality of half sleep. The eye creates shadows in the dark, which dances in twisted forms and spike the mind with pins.
I lie, with a tsunami of thoughts battering my imagination; images roll up inside each other as scenarios play out, before being distracted by a new growing idea that seeks to push itself towards the break of morning, while sleep looks to cocoon the lot with a quieting - or smothering blanket.
My head aches with a distant throb, my eyes blink - wearied, yet unable to still and give into oblivion. I thrust my head deeper into the pillow in an attempt to cut off the noise from the outside world - only to realise those noises are inside my head and the chatter has turned to argument.
My limbs grow heavy - any attempt to relax them only serves to intensify the weight, and an ache descends over me - any give in the mattress seems to flare pain in my thoughts.
This is where Hieronymus Bosch went to find his visions of hell, where Francis Bacon found his portrait of the pope. Images distorting - dragging features apart with the pressure of thought; strange combinations of people and creatures, twisting and knotting with rage. This is where my thoughts take me in the black - bursts of morbid colours bleeding and separating in a danse macabre, where conclusions are tantalisingly out of reach, and pitfalls lead to incarceration.
The adrenalin is tinny in my mouth, the acid boils along my digestive track, and my conscious appeals to my unconscious to take control: "Aha" it replies, "now you need me! Now you need sleep to flush your mind of the day's detritus, and your subliminal self to give logic coherence and shape." My subsconscious is a smart arse too!
Yet it is right. These nightmarish preoccupations are but the remnant of idle speculations and ruminations that have mutated into what ifs and maybes that turn the present into an uncertain plain, and send quakes along its fault lines to shake my contentment. It would be wrong to dwell on wishes, illusions and emnities, so with bags under the eyes I shake myself through another day, until I can release a flood in tomorrow's sleep.