Etchings in the Sand…

Thoughts and Photos from the Desert…


My friend Antony quotes the scariest poem I’ve come across in ages. Pushes one right to the edge – where, I suspect we need to visit from time to time.

Advice to Myself
Louise Erdrich

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don’t patch the cup.
Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins.
Don’t even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don’t sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we’re all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don’t answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don’t read it, don’t read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

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5 responses to “Scary…

  1. andy May 29, 2007 at 8:50 am

    Fabulous. Makes you realise that the boundaries of the possible are way, way further out than you might have believed.

  2. citrus May 29, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    I don’t think there is any doubt about that. Thank you!

  3. beth May 30, 2007 at 6:58 am

    someone who reads the same feed sent me this poem yesterday. it is dead on for me – gets at the urgency of getting rid of all the distractions. so I added it to my own collection of things. sigh.

  4. scottfree2b May 30, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    I think I would call it something like “tough love” rather than scary… Rather wonderful advice.

  5. reaganpugh May 31, 2007 at 3:25 am

    Quite chilling indeed! Thank you for sharing. My only exposure to Erdrich is her novel ¨Love Medicine¨ it is lovely to read her verse.

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