Notes Toward a Poem on Self-Care...

Cynthia Manick is the author of Blue Hallelujahs (Black Lawrence Press, 2016). 

​start with decisions — take a break from mirrors…
decide to stay in bed today and tomorrow… count
time only through midnights… isn’t there some voodoo
about being the middle child/ of a middle child?… you
should Google that… start humming… to broken
bones of electrical appliances… that
old CD player? yep you can fix it… take on do-it-
yourself projects — face cream, shelves, the perfect
guacamole, and a Home Alone arsenal just in case
a Joe Pesci-like villain tries to arrive… pretend
the varnish brush is a stag horn… who needs an app
for calm??… be greedy about breathing… be
greedy about breathing… avoid phone conversations
and relate only through yes and no texts or emails…
hey baby, can I be your Melanin Maid Marion? yes
… does _____ have a job? oh no girl… is your brother/
father/husband accounted for?… (silence)… yes…
if voice is required, realize that he/she/they can’t be
your Sun… trust what you can hold in the hand…
when we talk the body vibrates… aim for a dinosaur
roar when people least expect it… enjoy words like
Kilimanjaro and origami… write odes to the Do-rag,
… sonnets to the Soul Train line where you dance
in military-choreographed precision… so fresh
and so clean Outkast, take a look it’s in a book Reading
Rainbow  Jolly Ranchers, your mother’s kitchen
table… at any altitude remember that ink can hold
the right kind of memory…
Unknown. Hanging flower arrangement by a mirror, about 1865. Hand-colored albumen silver print. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

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