Theodoros Chiotis

Schroedinger's Insomnia


He has been having the same dream over and over again;

the dream is all he has ever been slowly taking over his sleep the past few nights. What does it all mean? He gets up in the morning, goes to work, comes back home, showers, goes out again. He dreams of driving to the sea but he knows that this is out of the question. He comes back to his flat to find the lights turned on even though the flat is empty. He puts his tv dinner in the microwave and walks off. He eventually comes back. The dinner is gone but he does not recall sitting down to eat. He finds the plates all washed up. His migraines come back. This makes him decide to go to bed; he has the same dream again.


He wakes up in the middle of the night startled:

a huge, black cat was attacking him in his dream. He picks up his notebook and starts writing down his dream: he is walking down a road filled with Christmas lights. He goes into the off-license, buys a bottle of wine and walks back up the road to his flat. The road is not very well-lit at all. He hurries to get into his flat: he unlocks the door, walks into the kitchen, uncorks the bottle of wine and sits on a kitchen chair, his back slumped. He has dinner he does not remember preparing and then starts writing in his journal about the dream he has been having the past few nights: a man suffers from insomnia and uses writing until morning as an unsuccessful cure for his insomnia. He never manages to fall asleep but the repetition is a soothing routine: a great way to avoid facing the truth.

Black Box Warning (Ghostly Variation)

This is a box;
  these ribbons wrap the box
and hold it in place.

There are voices and stories imprinted on these ribbons and
  their echo
often rings louder than the voices of your children.

At one point you had come to the conclusion that
  nothing existed outside this box &
the stories encoded in the ribbons.
         But these days you are not as certain.

So you decided to become a scientist;
  this decision came late in life –
perhaps this is true

perhaps this is only a daydream
but this was the only way to find out the truth
about these ribbons, about this box.

Your work as an immunologist
pioneered the field of Resonant Infections:
infections generated into

existence by the overload of our information,
a feedback overload generated by
our stories.

You were not remotely surprised when
boxes wrapped with ribbons humming their own stories
were discovered around the world:

a blue box was discovered near the entrance
of the Speakers’ Corner
in Hyde Park,

a box made of crinkly paper
appeared inside the playhouse
of a blind girl in Australia,

while at the exact moment a small wooden box-like structure
was crushed to pieces
by a stampeding cattle herd in Mongolia.

However different in their particulars
these boxes were essentially the same –

wrapped in black ribbons
weaving tattered, fraying ends into
the same intricate, multi-stranded tale:

“This is our molecular abacus –

we add and combine and invent and destroy
and eventually become a different body
even if all we leave behind us

is nothing more than
unsolved equations
misreadings & misunderstandings”.

   “The undisputed truth”, the boxes are now humming in unison, “is that

it is probable invasions and                     it is inevitable invasions and
infections will destroy you                       infections will rewrite your story
from the inside out                                       into their story”.

“The undisputed truth”, you find yourself repeating, “is that
there is always another story
happening somewhere in the same room

and these ribbons,
these strands bind us tighter
inside this other story”.

Theodoros Chiotis holds a BA and an M.St. in Classics from the universities of London and Oxford respectively; he is a D.Phil. candidate at the University of Oxford. He is currently working as a researcher and developer of educational material for multimedia and eLearning platforms; he has taught literature and language modules at the University of Oxford. He has published essays, articles and reviews in various journals and has published poetry and experimental fiction in both Greek and English-speaking publications.

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