Advice for the Manic

Listen to author

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Sometimes in springtime you’ll want to fuck
the entire city. And the sun will say yes
to your doughy calves. And the cash register,
yes to a skirt too short for public transit.
And every raised mole on the bony back
of an old lover who said you were too much
sadness to levy will say yes this time, too.

And then you’ll need a bigger city
to strut in. And then you’ll need an artist
to peacock your back. And then someone
to peel off the saran wrap and wash its tender
clean. And then you’ll need more sensible
underwear, something pink, soft cotton
your mother could wash without comment.

And then, silence—invest in a solo tent
and backpack and other utilitarian items
at the Army Navy store. Walk until you see
all the galaxies that have never touched you.
Summon ancestors who knew how to survive
the cold. Build a fire. Pretend you know how
to play harmonica. Pretend to hear crickets.

And then, return. The blisters on your feet
will heal into something tougher. Pay your rent
when it’s due. Replace lost buttons. Never buy a gun,
even if you were raised by conspiracy theories
and it’s a bad neighborhood. Sometimes you won’t
eat a meal for five days. Call this winter. Save
a little rum in your belly to unwolf into new mud.