Insomnia

By Dana Gioia b. 1950 Dana Gioia
Now you hear what the house has to say.  
Pipes clanking, water running in the dark,   
the mortgaged walls shifting in discomfort,   
and voices mounting in an endless drone
of small complaints like the sounds of a family   
that year by year you’ve learned how to ignore.

But now you must listen to the things you own,   
all that you’ve worked for these past years,   
the murmur of property, of things in disrepair,   
the moving parts about to come undone,   
and twisting in the sheets remember all
the faces you could not bring yourself to love.

How many voices have escaped you until now,   
the venting furnace, the floorboards underfoot,   
the steady accusations of the clock
numbering the minutes no one will mark.   
The terrible clarity this moment brings,   
the useless insight, the unbroken dark.

Dana Gioia, “Insomnia” from Daily Horoscope. Copyright © 1986 by Dana Gioia. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.

Source: Daily Horoscope: Poems (Graywolf Press, 1986)

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Poet Dana Gioia b. 1950

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Home Life, Relationships

 Dana  Gioia

Biography

It seems almost a requirement for a poet to have an unconventional résumé, but Dana Gioia’s is perhaps notable for being so conventionally unpoetic. A graduate of Stanford Business School, Gioia claims to be “the only person, in history, who went to business school to be a poet.” He later rose to become a vice president at General Foods, where he marketed products such as Kool-Aid. These experiences in the corporate world, Gioia . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Home Life, Relationships

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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