|Mary Butts age 14 months holding a doll. |
Wallaceburg ON, 1928.
Choose the moon closest to the birthday of your maternal grandmother. Find a picture of her if you can. Find many pictures of her if you can. Find as many pictures of your grandmother as possible. Lay them about your kitchen as you get ready: on the floor, taped to your cupboards, one in a mug inside your cabinets, one in your back pocket, one in the fridge, ect. Be sure to keep these photos up for the duration of the moon cycle. Begin with your mother's mother if you can.
If you do not have a grandmother, choose your favourite person in the world. As Kristin Ross writes: "You do not have to start at the beginning -- you can start anywhere."
Each day following the new moon -- as the moon is waxing -- keep your organic vegetable waste in a plastic bag in the freezer except don't keep egg shells or coffee grounds. Keep everything else. If you are cutting an onion and there is a piece of skin that falls off, put that in your bag. If you finish an apple and do not eat the core, put that in your bag. When you chop carrots keep the butts. Same with celery (these two are especially good!). Peel potatoes and keep their skin. Limes are delicious. Don't be afraid to keep the guts of peppers or cheese rinds either. Chicken bones are to be cherished.
For each piece of garbage that you put into your collection think of your grandmother. For the first seven days try hard to conjure a memory you shared with her. For the second seven days or so imagine a memory that she may have had from a time way before you existed in your current form. This may require research. and recite one of these final four lines of Bernadette Mayer's "Walking like a Robin" to her:
"please take a piece of me back home, each piece
is anti war and don't pay your rent, in fact
remember: property is robbery, give everybody
everything, other birds walk this way too."
It is important that you do not skip a day.
On the morning of the full moon take your bag of garbage out of the freezer. Butter a baking pan and add three onions and three cloves of garlic. You should cut each of these in half. Empty the contents of the bag into the baking pan. Don't worry if you don't have very much in your bag. This is poetry, not cooking, after all. Heat an oven to 375 degrees. When the oven is ready, roast your garbage for about an hour. More or less time is fine, too. As the garbage roasting, start writing a letter to your grandmother. It's o.k. to spend time thinking, but make sure you have at leave 117 words by the end of the hour. Once the vegetables are roasted, put them into a big pot of water to boil. Add salt if you wish. Add pepper too. Boil for three to eight hours.
Each day following the full moon, begin your day with a steaming cup of your garbage broth. With each cup think about your grandmother coming back to life in twenty years to face the future with you. Think of where you might be and how you will welcome her to your life. Think of the other beings that will be there with you, too. You do not have to think of children or even humans. You do not have to think of animals either. Everything is in everything. As you sip and slurp on your cup of soup, recite these lines from Christopher Nealon's "The Victorious Ones":
"And yes like other every other poet with a child I have dreamed of mine
along some empty road in camouflage and tatters, scrambling for
potable water in 2046
But you know what? Fuck the zombie apocalypse
I’m going to imagine him with comrades"
On the last day, pour out a cup of broth near a tree close to a place that you sleep.
Be sure not to miss a morning.