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welcome to the world of insomnia--are you ready for it?

Sometimes late at night when the cool breeze blows in from the west bringing moisture laden clouds to obscure the distant glittering stars I lie here pondering purposes. Not necessarily my purpose in this life or the purpose of this backwards town, but rather purposes in general. It's not something that can be described or annotated--it is just something that, I believe, most of the living unhinged tend to do on those long nights when insomnia reigns supreme. The pattern on the walls stands out in bas-relief, and a moth makes its way across the vertical landscape. I can't imagine this is much different from a solitary rider crossing the badlands of South Dakota: the endless asymetrical hills rising and falling abruptly until reaching the wall, or, in the case of the moth, the corner of the room. Beyond the wall the vertical landscape stretches out in planar simplicity broken only by seams, arroyos that rush from the earth to the sky. The monotonous metallic tick tick of the clock echoes persistently behind the varying tonality of low music. Below that the distant hum of the freeways as endless travellers tear up the asphalt in their frantic dash to get where they're going--anywhere but here. The industrial district in the south has its own sound, a rumbling indefinable though constantly warring with the sound of traffic. At irregular intervals the steel-on-steel clack of a train sneaks in beside the other sounds, heavy, blurred, calling with its melancholy wail to the heart of the soul's wanderlust. Faint, far beneath all these sounds, the streetlights buzz and click in their fluorescent insistence--they always click to darkenss when I pass. Sometimes, if the air is right, the song of frogs mingles with the sounds of the city, trying to win over and losing. In the distance a dog barks shrilly and another answers. All of these sounds are individually distinguishable when the safe blanket of night has sent the denizens of this place behind their protective walls. In the daylight the sounds adopt a different pitch: higher, more frantic. If you listen closely in the darkness of the failed streetlamps, you can hear the crunch of the leaves hitting the grass as they fall, the deafening roar of the water racing through the pipes below your feet, the singular hiss of steam leaking from a fissure far away, the confused sound of maggots feeding on the decaying flesh of the city. Not everyone can hear these things--most never get the chance sealed within their climate-controlled lives. We, however, hear the hidden sounds of the city at night and revel in them. We relate to the mournful muted sound of attempted yet failed silence for somehow, deep within ourselves, we know we sound the same. Swinging on the hinges of reality between this world and the one we avoid we listen to the sound of platelets jostling for position in capillaries, of cillia in acid bath moving uniformly, of hairs pushing through follicles in persistent uniformity. Chaos meets order, or so you'd like to think. We know that there is no order in the chaos, no order to the repeating patterns once you get closer. Upon scrutiny we can see the city sinking around us, becoming the oblivion we seek and you fear. The scrutiny is what you're really afraid of, the introspection required to arrive at this level of knowing--beyond man, beyond god, beyond society. Things at such a level are hard to comprehend, and those who do are viewed as "unstable" or "unhinged". Step back for a moment, out of yourself, and you might see it--if you can overcome the fear of scrutiny, the fear of finding the purpose and actually understanding it.

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And the dust cloud on the edge of town is me.
--Gordon Lightfoot

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