Sunday, September 2, 2007

written at Jason Zuzga's request for FENCE Mag

1.) Wash a penny, rinse it, slip it under your tongue and walk out the door. Copper is the metal of Aphrodite, never ever forget this, never, don't forget it, ever. Drink a little orange juice outside and let some of the juice rest in your mouth with the penny. Oranges are the fruit of Aphrodite, and she is the goddess of Love, but not fidelity. Go somewhere outside, go, get going with your penny and juice. Where do you want to sit? Find it, and sit there. What is the best Love you've ever had in this world? Be quiet while thinking about that Love. If someone comes along and starts talking, quietly shoo them away, you're busy, you're a poet with a penny in your mouth, idle chit chat is not your friend. Be quiet so quiet, let the very sounds of that Love be heard in your bones. After a little while take the penny out of your mouth and place it on the top of your head. Balance it there and sit still a little while, for you are now moving your own forces quietly about in your stillness. Now get your pen and paper and write about POVERTY, write line after line about starvation and deprivation from the voice of one who has been Loved in this world.

2.) In your home alone. Take a bucket or basin of room-temperature water to your front door and strip naked. Put a piece of paper or thin notepad under the bucket and lay a pen nearby. Stand in the water. Get used to being naked while standing in water at the front door. Look through the peep hole. Look for a long time at the world out there. Then look above you, and at the door, the walls, and make note of something you hadn't seen before -- maybe a cobweb or crack in the paint. Every once in a while stretch your arms over your head stretch as high as you can stretch stretch stretch then relax in your bucket. If someone knocks or rings the bell it's your good fortune! Look at them through the peep hole while saying nothing. Maybe have a friend come over at a certain time to knock and say, "Are you naked in your bucket of water?" Don't answer, you're a poet, this isn't time for idle chit chat, besides that you can warn them ahead of time that you won't be answering them. Stretch, and be quiet. Step out of the bucket and sit your poet ass on the floor, get the paper from under the bucket and whistle short, loud bursts of whistle four times. Then write. When you feel the need for more whistles, pause, whistle, then write some more.

3.) Eat a little dark chocolate before getting on the subway. Sit in the middle of the car, and don't get on a car where there are no seats for you. Sitting is best for this. Eat a little more dark chocolate. For the next few stops examine the interior of the car with care. Then close your eyes, and as the car rolls on its tracks make a low hum from deep inside you. Don't worry, no one can hear you, trust me, I've tested this with a friend. As soon as the car stops write nine words as fast as you can before the train moves again. These are not words you were thinking about, just write, don't question what you write, just write. Repeat this humming and writing for nine stops. Get off the train. Find a bench or patch of grass. Now look at that first set of nine words carefully, then write something about the words. What do they mean to you? Then move onto the next set of nine words and repeat. After this is finished poke around all this writing and see what kind of poem is hiding inside it. It's there, trust me it's there. You've just emerged from the underground, rumbling and grumbling and there is something waiting for you to discover it. (Please Note:) Try to not engage with anyone while in the car, or while leaving the subway. Don't break your concentration. Maybe have a little note prepared to hand a friend you might run into which explains why you can't talk to them. Don't wait for their response, just hand them the note and get about your business, you're busy. And they will understand, don't worry, just get going for your poem.

4.) Take a red magic marker and draw a 9 on your naked chest. Draw the 9 from the bottom up. Start the tip of its tail at your naval and sweep UP to have the round circle of its head in the middle of your breasts. Put on a shirt that conceals the 9 from other eyes. Go out to the corner and quickly choose a direction. At the next corner choose another direction. Don't think about where you are going, instead spend the time between corners looking carefully at the world. Finally come to a complete stop at the 9th corner. Look across the street and focus on four different objects. Draw a line to connect them, looking carefully at what's inside this square you've just made. What's outside it? What's half-in? Imagine you string lights to make the square. Imagine its contents at night, dimly lit. Imagine this square a year from now. Ten years from now. Now go somewhere quickly and write, run, run to a place where you can write. Suddenly the city, your city, is a place where places to write come to mind, you must always know those places at all times.

5.) Go to a bookstore. Go to the History Section. Close your eyes and randomly choose a book. Turn to page 108. Read that page and pull one word you like from it. Go to the Romance Section, repeat process. Then go to these other 7 sections and repeat process: Gardening, Religion, Biography, Children's, Cookbooks, Law, Horror. After you've collected these 9 words sit in the store, even if you must sit on the floor, then write a poem which includes these 9 words. This poem must be immediate, and it must be written in the store where the 9 words were found on page 108 of 9 different books. I hope you show me your poem one day. Thank you ahead of time.

6.) If you can be naked for this exercise it is best. Plan to be outside for 9 different sunsets. Get yourself comfortable and seated an hour before the sunset. For 50 minutes focus on your feet. Look at them. Where have they walked in this world? Are they tired? How do they smell? Can you suck your toes? Give them a good taste. But mostly give them some serious concentration, they're your feet, no one else's. This is a meditation for your feet. Imagine they had their own thoughts and told you some things about themselves you did not know. Think of nothing but your feet. Think about one, or both of them gone. Or damaged. Think of them in every way you can imagine thinking about them. Then for the remaining 10 minutes before sunset, just before twilight, write at a fever's pitch about some of those thoughts you have had about your feet. For the other 8 sunsets focus on each of these 8 different body sections, one per sunset: Legs, Genitals, Naval, Breasts, Arms, Hands, Neck, Head (exterior), Head (interior). If when you meditate on your genitals you feel the urge to masturbate that is fine, but try to not orgasm because we want to keep the energy challenged and in flux, not depleted. Of course if you do orgasm don't worry, no big deal. But try to keep yourself from doing so. And if you do masturbate try to not do it for the full 50 minutes, there are many things your genitals would like to tell you if you would only imagine that they could. After the 9 sunsets are completed, take your 9 feverish streams of writings and on a fresh piece of paper put the first word from the first sunset meditation, then the second word on the fresh piece of paper is the first word from the second meditation, and so on, keep going until all the words from all the writings are now fully mixed and on one document. From here you must become the natural editor you are, looking closely, moving words, removing words, working it into the poem that's waiting to be found. Take your time with this, it's nobody's business how long you take.