Manual for Remembering
April 29, 2014
Apr 29, 2014
I wear [your] boots all summer long. . .
—Stevie Nicks, ‘Nightbird’
When remembering it is best to wear pants without cuffs, boots, gloves, safety glasses and a feeling helmet (shade 10 or higher).
I worry about open spaces. Wetness. But I also worry about walls, about feeling in confined spaces. I worry about the lilies. Do they have sufficient insulation? Is there an electrode holder under the furrow of beans? Will the earth hold my idea of it? Will it hold my idea of me? Is all this thinking sustainable?
He says the lilies are thrilled with the roots of poems, as if the lilies have stepped up and whispered this in his ear. He says the frogs know how the poets lie about nature. If the area is well lit you can plug in. He says when feeling it is best to have good insulation.
All mature poets understand the need for dry wood chips.
She understands the interrogative to be male. Instruction is also male. Certain forms of syntax elude her. If you can’t speak with authority please remain silent. Always recharge your batteries before you attempt to cross topics. Hesitation is abject. Women rarely pull off certainty in public.
Are you are you not, natural? Do you nurture? Do you recombine flora and fauna with electronics and machine parts? Can you accurately describe the experience of rainfall? Crowd grieving? Do you wear wool socks? Do you have a slot for cold-weather texting?
Never touch a banana slug, or cedar melting like lava. Beware of a failed city tumbling into the bowl of an upturned tree. If ferns adorning each dull ache are wet, apply a Cowichan sweater zipped up to the first branch.
It may well be the same day: we warned you about touching the faces. If you know the feel of pavement, the sound of the shopping cart careening toward a not-yet developed patch of forest, you should move to higher ground. If you have no control over your memories and they are of a constant voltage, minimize exposure to skin, use a semiautomatic memory welder with an excessive emotion-reducing device.
Keep all memory carrying devices in good repair. Do not engage with damaged vessels. If insulation is missing do not use. If the seal is broken discard immediately.
Keep the memory zone clear, comfortable. Allow your thinking to thin out along the soupspoon of side roads; those roads with their litter of shoes will soak up the worst of it. If you hear her best intentions clamouring inside your head, or if there are sudden rhymes:
knock, knock who’s there
an atom who?
of a past not let go….
Galvanize yourself, stay on course.
I see people, she said,
some so sad they hurl themselves
off of bridges,
into traffic, out of moving vehicles,
or more positively, so full of joy they hurl themselves
into the bruise of morning
wanting to have known more,
wanting to have loved more,
and not afraid to bleed, they open
hearts like umbrellas
Be wary of the position of your head. A lack of ventilation is dangerous. Minimize exposure to heavy, or random, emotions. Read warnings. Consult safety data. If you cannot leave the area use special care when remembering past lovers. Perspective, perspective. If you can’t be positive, at least, be consistent!
Monitor all base metal coatings. Don’t paint yourself into a corner. Ask yourself, What would Diane Arbus do?
She says rogue memory rays can cause a burning sensation. Select a filter before approaching the past.
Always use a tether when feeling in public. Never dive in alone.
Wear clothing that protects the skin. Avoid cathode rays. Keep bodily functions, organs, neatly organized.
Remember, clutter kills: there is no reason for the past to be disorganized.
She draped her memories over the spine of Virgil,
she lounged into Sappho,
they slept in the pause between verses, fingers
touching the pink afterthought
I would recognize that peony anywhere, he said,
his, cheeks bristling with her, his tongue
in the gutter of her page.
Peony, she repeated, but even then she was thinking carnation. Poppy. Authority is not so much loud as insistent.
Diane Arbus never experienced adversity in her childhood. She had adequate ventilation. She had a small lens in her head just above the brow.
When in doubt, wear lipstick. Also, carefully evaluate ventilation, cables, connectors. Work as closely as possible to the area where remembering is being performed. Apply shades evenly, keep a fresh tube of Chanel on hand.
Use only double insulated gloves. Steel-toed boots. Be sure all ideas are grounded, all equipment disconnected before service. If using auxiliary power be sure to use skin protection of SPF 90 or higher. Do not remember in a windstorm, or heavy rains.
For chance encounters, touch the back of her knee.
Never touch the knee with an electrode. Never lift a memory with a body attached. Lightly apply scent before leaving the house, understand that the past is an aphrodisiac: always keep it upright, out of inclement weather, away from all explosives or corrosives, chained to a firm support.
The moon is tossing money:
the path is lit by knots of
you, the many and the one you,
eyes, so hungry they will gnaw
through tar. There are many places
she wants to burrow her head.
Remembering you is one of them.
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April 29, 2014