Insomniac… or the attempt to sleep without success.

The passage I’m paying attention to is the two first stanzas of the poem Insomniac written by Saeed Jones. I have noticed several things, details that I found worth mentioning. The boy is said to have “wild legs” (1), maybe a representation of his “wild tastes” or way of being, which is not what this society or this mother of his consider “normative”.

Also I found interesting how it says that this boy “stole your eyes the day he was born” (1) instead of saying “stole your heart” because perhaps she is more focused on the superficiality and the appearances. Choosing that part of the body, the eyes, may be a way of portraying that superficiality, because at the end of the day, her mother could be more worried about how his boy looked like or behaved in front of others instead of being worried about his happiness.

Also, it has really grabbed my attention the second stanza. The “language that you’ve tried to keep from him” (1) could represent this same way of behaving or talking, employing his personality that she tried to keep away from him to let her know that she is a nightmare for him.

I truly think that the general concept of the whole poem is condensed in these first lines. As I see it, Jones seems to employ a very specific diction related to parenthood and especially bad parenting that is also recurrent in the rest of his book of poems. Even the title, Insomniac seems to refer to the insomniac a mother feels when she is worried about her son. Therefore, the relationship of this mother and her son is complicated and hurtful, maybe she suffers about who and how his son is.

2 thoughts on “Insomniac… or the attempt to sleep without success.”

  1. I think that your point about the mother’s focus on appearances is very intriguing. This notion about appearances is repeated throughout Jones’s other poems. Many of them have an aspect of physicality to them, with a focus on the way people look and respond to each other’s appearances. Jones writes a lot about wanting to get out of his own skin, which may have been instilled in him by his mother when he was a child. The suffering goes both ways, leaving lasting impact on Jones.

  2. I think the idea of Jones’s relationship with his mother is interesting because it seems to show up a lot in his other poems. It seems like his poems that are related to his mom are focused around clothes, specifically dresses, which may tie into your idea of appearances and superficiality. In Closet of Red, Jones seems to be haunted by his mothers dresses in her closet, which may be him showing again that idea of his mothers superficiality haunting his current self.

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