Taste wood. Taste stone. Taste glass.
Do you have a preference?
Leave the shape of your face
in every pillow in your apartment.
Listen to the sirens outside rising and falling.
When a thought comes that will lead you
into the past or future, dismiss it.
Sit at first light on a bench in the square
and stay completely still
until you begin to distinguish the calls
of all the different birds.
List those birds in alphabetical—
Lie down for a while on the grass
with your arms wide
so you make the shape of a cross.
Face down the blank sky
and what you feel at your back
is the planet, the whole planet,
At 4:25 pm make sure you face southwest.
In your kitchen the function of the objects
is to reestablish your aloneness.
Watch the ant crossing the tundra
of your kitchen counter
confront the pool of water you spilled earlier.
Choose a new name for yourself.
I like Sonia Vogel. Or Nana Buttski.
Draw the sound of the siren rising outside
with a colored pencil or a biro.
Now draw the noise of a door opening,
now banging shut.
Ink a face on the palm of each hand
and flash them at yourself. Make one happy,
the other full of unspecified regret.
If you find the ant ascending the bread-bin
set your hand on said bread-bin
so that the ant steps onto your hand.
Look. You are become the earth.
Try to look the ant in the eye.
Do ants have eyes?
Think about the ant thinking about you
thinking about it.
Hold your breath: first in air, then in the bath.
Longer, longer, longer.
Try to sleep sitting up. Try to sleep standing.
Try to sleep with one eye open.
Do ants sleep? Try to sleep with ear plugs
and with Super Deep Brown Noise
and with the sirens outside rising and falling
Insert the biro like a rose into the buttonhole
of your flannel pajamas. Whisper into it
as if it is a hidden microphone. You need backup,
to be retrieved, you need the team to come
At 4:25 AM make sure you face southwest.
Listen to the sirens rising and falling
down on Houston or Broadway or Bleecker
and take a stack of magazines and tear out
photographs of all the animals you find
and arrange them on the table
in scenes of peace and harmony.
Now make them eat each other.
Stand beside your desk and touch wood
in order to commune with the forest
that stood once where you stand now,
curls of birdsong, bright coins of sunlight
scattered on the leaf litter.
If the drain glugs in the sink imitate it.
If a dog barks on the street bark back.
If the siren rises and falls, turn on
the bathroom light
and look at your face in the mirror,
and keep on looking at your face
until your face is no longer your face
but the face of a stranger.