By HOLLIE HARDY
Come home from a Tupperware party.
Look out across the lake and imagine the feel of your tongue
against the truth.
Prevent the neighbor’s dog from barking.
Try to find the unselfconsciously erotic person hiding within.
Refuse to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.
Be the old man carrying flowers on his head. Be life-like.
Think of asking the servants to wax the change,
before placing it in the Chinese tank you keep on your dresser.
Penetrate impenetrable curtains of possibility.
Smooth the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of
each purple curtain.
Eat this place. Eat men like air.
Force yourself to function
far below the summit of your potential,
Like a potato that never entirely cooled.
Learn how to jump. Jump straight down.
Consider the mindless tosspot of random chance.
Take a snapshot of a young woman
standing in front of a parked motorcycle.
When the war is over, go no place in particular.
After the monkeys come down from the trees,
teach them to hurl sharp objects.
If ink is the blood of language, and paper is its flesh,
Don’t believe the official report. Wear it like a mask.
Always answer, “Oh yes!”
Try the edge of the Viking’s little ax with your fingers.
Tell lies about parrots in a colorless singsong.
Just stand there, looking at the sky. Or the glove’s
Because it is difficult to throw out anything so precise
and crafted as a metal key,
Throw something out of a window.
Buy a box of Froot Loops. Feed the Froot Loops to your gerbil.
Buy four cups of coffee and a six pack of Jolt.
Accuse the Church of building green masturbation toilets.
Be consumed by unreason. Stare at an empty glass of milk.
Accessorize with a necklace of teeth. Reveal the bite marks
on your shoulder.
Tighten the circles of love like a noose, squeezing,
Let your spirit into the kitchen. Teach yourself how to breathe.
Take risks with mustard.
Be a tattered billboard for someone else’s reality.
Sometimes in a flash, wake up
and reverse the direction of your fall.
Start a subtle fire beneath my skin.
Decide not to put on the underwear. Don’t
let the five dollars tempt you.
Use a hard vocabulary to contain the terrible softness.
Don’t leave! I haven’t come yet!
It’s just a screen door.
Hollie Hardy is an MFA poet at San Francisco State University, former Editor-in-Chief of Fourteen HIlls: The SFSU Review, and co-host of the monthly reading series Saturday Night Special, an East Bay Open Mic, in Berkeley, California. Her recent work is published in Eleven Eleven, sParkle & bLINK, A Sharp Piece of Awesome, Parthenon West Review, One Ded Cow, Transfer, Milvia Street, and other journals. Hardy’s Survival Poems have titles ruthlessly appropriated from The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook.