Academic journal article Chicago Review

Instructions for Living

Academic journal article Chicago Review

Instructions for Living

Article excerpt

You will never know enough. You will never know when to stop. One day you'll wake mid-afternoon distant from yourself as if some switch has occurred in the nouns of the summer novel of your life. You've become a log hauled from the brawling surf, no, someone named Myrtle, no, a needy translucent thing squalling in the yellow tub. You must be patient even though within you is a launching, a propulsion like some favorite song played in a waiting room to drown out the drill. At some point everything will be danced to. Violins rush forward seeming to recognize you. Music and limping, disruption and joy, it is best to alternate although there is also sweetness in saying a name over and over again when you're alone and miserable in Peru. Peru, Indiana that is. Do not be afraid of being ridiculous. The pharaohs were ridiculous yet they managed to live almost forever, their servants stuffed beside them to assure their every pleasure should their appetites return. But pleasure is just a way of residing in the temporary body, changing the water in bright vases, snipping the snapdragon stems. There are two kinds of people but you may be neither, athwart with yearning like a broken window, I mean how the wind comes in ransacking, not excluding or deciding, the written- down things crumbling into structures. Ice would be nice. To each a grinchy world of piazzas. Rope-skipping pickpockets. Foam. Today is Friday, yesterday it rained. Where do you live? My name is Diego. Half the time there will be no equivalent in any language you know. Do not despair overly. Let the mouth shape the omnivorous Oh. It is always raining inside the sea. Love without reason. Grapes wither in the fridge, curtains riffle behind some fleeing, the never-actually-there banging. It is always raining inside me. The children are not children anymore yet it seems only yesterday we were they yielding the irrational at our desks, our bodies producing red berries and thorns, the operations conveyed by squiggly lines. …

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