The Book Life

There Are Four Ways to Approach a Body Other Than One’s Own | April 12, 2011

The first is not so much an approach
as an invitation. As if via magnetism (so channel that).
This is how you do it.
Begin by discarding everything.
Books, the clothes on your back,
every word you’ve written or heard,
all baggage. Put everything down.
You will not miss it, with all you will attract.
Then find a field of any kind.
Stand in it. Try to be naked, but that’s not essential.
Don’t lie down. Open your arms out to a T.
Look at the sky. Now choose a personal way
to announce that you are ready to be approached.
However, this is not the time for subtlety or glances.
This is not a time for eyelashes. You are ready.
Open your mouth and tell them.

The approach outlined here
will be easier if you have less to carry
so those instructions from part one
still apply. Put it all down. Deep breath.
Look around. Make a choice, and run.
Quickly, before anyone can walk away.
This is the speed/surprise combo.
What it lacks in grace it gains in success rates,
although admittedly on a short-term basis.
When the surprise fades and speed slows
not much tends to be left, and thing can get
weird. Back away, and repeat as necessary.

Stop wearing headphones.

The final method requires the very most care.
Nothing in the way of preparation is expected, but awareness
is essential. The ability to watch for the signs.
This method only works in specified situations
and signals have been arranged for your convenience.
For example, an open tulip. Perhaps a gap in passing clouds.
A coincidence or plain deja vu. It’s not a science.
Just subjective intuition. In fact, retract the comment
dismissing preparation. What you need is exercise
in trusting your gut. Start small, with menu items.
Work your way up. At some point, there will be a sign.
Don’t worry about missing it. There will be more than one.
Then you approach. Gently, slowly.
With care and carrying all you own and are.
Deliberately, walk forward. Approach each other.

Posted 4 poems today, because I’ve been less than perfect about writing absolutely every day. Regarding this poem in particular, the title is a line from a book about science called The Canon, which I read last summer. I kind of ran with it.


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