minor literature[s]

The Utopia of Sleep — Mazin Saleem

In the utopia of sleep, citizens sleep 20 hours out of the day, in bedsoreless hammocks and mattresses, waking to shuffle about and drink water in a daze in front of silent mirrors, and kiss each other sleepily. They try to keep their eyes open to read or watch but are always pecking back at sleep. To get their phones, they lean over each other, skin-to-skin, then collapse back with a sigh or a laugh.

The curtains are closed but the windows open; the streets are quiet throughout the day as well as at night, apart from the hotel corridor noise of muffled sex, and drowsy talking, usually one-way and about dreams. Worries and cares are submerged then sublimated: the ego-less self is upended. A city run on the goofy tenderness of the just woken-up neither early nor late. Sleepwalkers there cross roads in peace.

The question all citizens have thought of at some point, then gone back to sleep before answering: Why are you still so far apart when at your closest and least unhappy?

Sleepiness there is at its most stretched-out and luxurious, because nobody expects you up. Then how come in that contented city, lovers lying together have never met each other in the same dream? Let alone ever dreamed about each other at the same time? They don’t even dream about each other at separate times. The question all citizens have thought of at some point, then gone back to sleep before answering: Why are you still so far apart when at your closest and least unhappy?


Mazin Saleem is a writer of fiction and non-fiction at TabulitOpen PenLitro MagazineThe LiterateurBig OtherLittle Atoms, and Pornokitsch, where he has written stories about Eddie Murphyteeth and islands, and articles on 2001, the merits of Veepthe sins of Jurassic World, and what Lost has in common with The Tree of Life. His website is maybethatsthepoint.tumblr.com.

Image: flickr, creative commons, dave wilson, dead horse point