How do you fall asleep?: The question makes me think of “Night Vision,” a favorite song of several (including “Ironbound/Fancy Poultry,” “In The Eye,” “Language” and the title track off Suzanne Vega’s “Solitude Standing.” I don’t feel taken by darkness, swallowed up by languor and lassitude. I’m more often focused on filtering out the intrusion of light and sound from the outside world: the high-pitched, high-volume squeaks of abandon one of our neighbors has been drawing out of a lover (twice in the last week, and the overhearing of it’s been less titillating than you’d think); the bright light from the apartment across the atrium; the sound of diesel engines inside AC Transit buses as they pick up speed along 12th and 14th streets; the pale orange of streetlamps hanging over the roadway outside our building. Falling asleep is the process of editing these elements from awareness, not always in the same sequence, until awareness itself dissolves and dreams arrive.

Leave a Reply