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Sleep Paralysis

by Richard Stevenson

You wake up in the night,
but cannot move or speak.
Something’s in the room with you.
You sense its presence creeping,
big arachnoid shadow on the ceiling...

or, no, it’s definitely humanoid!
A faceless shadow man — no, three —
reaching from the foot of the bed!
You feel the mattress beside you dip...
Something’s crawling under the sheets!

You’re having trouble breathing,
start to sweat; something’s on your chest!
It’s not a cat or dog —
the bedroom door is closed,
the window’s open but a smidge...

It’s the old hag — same succubus
who’s been here to suck the breath
out of you, and leave a husk.
Your lips are dry, begin to pucker,
but you can’t reach your water bottle...

Don’t panic: it’s just a circuit break.
Some part of your brain is tardy,
hasn’t uploaded the signal to your limbs
that you are wide awake! No biggie,
just a haywire siggie. Sleep paralysis.

Don’t need no shrink to poke and pry.
Don’t need no meds or electrodes.
Don’t need no program of psycho babble.
Don’t need to plug no doc’s deep pockets
like they were voracious parking meters...

It’s an old dance. Tell ‘em your card is full.
Got no time to talk about hobgoblins
or things that go bump in the night.
You got the night frights. Heebie Jeebies
creeping all up in your bones is all...

S-s-sleep paralysis. You ain’t neurotic
or psychotic. Don’t build no castles
in the sky or live in ‘em either.
Ain’t about to be beamed aboard
some saucer in you jammies...

You’ve just got s-s-sleep paralysis.
Ain’t the heartbreak of psoriasis,
hypertrocsis, or any hairy dis,
just s-s-sleep paralysis. Old Hag syndrome.
Oh, I know, she’s got you by the throat.

Yeah, I know, it only happens when you sleep,
and into your life it doth creep,
But pills ain’t gonna whisk it away;
Ain’t no bottle deep enough to drown it.
You just gotta get yer head around it...

S-s-sleep paralysis. Ain’t no
screamin’ dis scream therapy will fix.
Yeah, it’s a botheration; it’s chartin’
up and down the nation. Sleep, sleep, sleep
Paralysis. Sleep, sleep, sleep paralysi-z-z-z.

Copyright © 2016 by Richard Stevenson

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