the diy encyclopaedia

by dm gillis

poems rewritten 

preface
It makes sense that we disappear sometimes and don’t come back. People forget and we fossilize in the neglect of our names. It makes sense that there’s a road in the valley, flat like the river it follows. And that there is architecture, the texture of arcs. Penciled eyes lining a curve of breath. The wind spinning leaves from green to green. And the perfect trees, correct and forever standing. 

how to wash your hands
Stand at a sink with a bar of soap &. Watch what’s wild coming. The wrongness of the second knuckle index finger left hand. The leftness of it. So wrong for cursive writing. The palms of both hands. Creased with lines of life. A planet hidden in every wrinkle. Do not inventory regret & poorly written poems. Just turn on the faucets. The right amounts of hot & cold. With just reflection between you &. What is behind the mirror.

how to read a poem
You breathe &. Know the words are your own. But have somehow switched position. As the small audience dreams & expects. At their well coffeed tables. So you look up from the page &. Smile. Looking over the top of your glasses. Knowing you look professorly. But knowing also that professorly is not a real word. Just four syllables that fit with adhesive. Somewhere on the edge of a sonnet. In which the word love in the second line. Now. Somehow. Reads parsnip. 

how to read a fortune cookie
They found an ancient Chinese restaurant in the buried Mayan city. Noodle Moon of the Golden Lion Café. Built & deserted centuries before Columbus scratched his first flea bite. It was a dark place near a Nahuatl court. Where high priests ordered Kung Pao Ming Har &. Sipped their cacao. Dreaming of alien spacecraft. Erecting temple cities &. Abandoning them. Construct your pyramid of righteous stone. Venus smiles upon your war. There is a conquistador in your future. The fortune cookie came to your table with the cheque in Mesoamerica. Placed on a plate the ambivalent waiter dropped upon your table. As he sauntered lazily by. Enter the forest as you would a friend’s home. You will overcome the trials of the underworld. Linger not in the River of Scorpions.

how to inject insulin
Shaking up the NPH at 10pm & dialling the dose. I think about demanding more of the words around me. The single syllabled ones. Standing at the end of sentences. Their eyes on the period. Relieved that it is not a semicolon. I think about what they say when unseen. Together & a book is closed. The spite of their conversations. The jealous words of words. Neutral protamine Hagedorn is an intermediate acting insulin that was created in 1936. Its zinc suspension gives it a cloudy appearance. A city in a refrigerator fog. A blunt rough diamond of autumn. Swirls of angels gazing out from the vial. Atom planets travelling through the syringe. The forest humid purr of a subcutaneous injection.

how to tie your shoes
We were the poor kids. Black, white &. Spooky on flat Kodak paper. Our bodies fixed &. Angled. Our eyes engines of impulse. We the juvenile algorithms of our prejudiced neighbourhood. Our city lakes joined by rivers underground. They ran deep beneath our concrete. Delivering the drowned here &. There. Italian crooners sang in the clubs on Commercial Drive. Our clocks ticked. Then stupidly &. We studied time’s three hundred & sixty degree passing. The radio active glow. In the dark. Isotopes reaching out. To our innocent nightmare minds. We were the future of escape &. Violence. We were legend & headlines. Harleys & handguns. Without knowing it then &. Tending resolutely to our shoes laces. Undone.

how to take antipsychotic medication
To sleep like a seed & dream of a garden. The stem I will be. Bent under late snow. Voices &. Oils on canvas. Their lips. Their stilled tongues but. Rapid eyes. They think of me as family. From a tragic buttoned distance. A manic Christmas poet. Psychotic. Still as a century. Dire oh dire. Sleeping the seroquel sleep. The Olanzapine street corner raving. At the yellow lights in my shoplifted coat. Take at bedtime. The label says. Or. When the angels gather round you. Like jungle animals &. Hum your name. Like a wordless song. Or. Do not take them at all &. Fall in with those angels. Instead &. Walk with them their. Whispered mile.

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