Earth Peace by Yoko Ono. Photo by Diamond Geezer.

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Tiny Instructions for Planetary Problems

There is a process to moving into a home. The first looks. The peeking around doors and imagining what room might be to dream? Which room will be to think? When I unpack boxes, there is a joy in merging myself onto the walls and cabinets and floors. My body and the body of the house entangle themselves. This process of becoming intimate with a space, of inhabiting and becoming a part of it, happens slowly over time. Like a new garden, it takes time to take root. I’m curious if this process of inhabiting space can be extended into the world. How can we humans, who seem to separate ourselves away from our natural environments, the wildness of things we can’t control, or even the people who are surround us, how can we merge and entangle ourselves better with the world?

In part, I ask this question because how we live within the world matters more than ever. Seas are rising, icebergs melting, thousands of species are extinguished, and toxic pollution is all around. And some of us humans are much more responsible for it. This is our house now.

The following are a ridiculous answer to this immense problem of being. And by ridiculous, I mean absurd. Because in the midst of this crisis, there has been so much absurdity in government and corporate responses that needs to be pointed out. And I am a believer that art makes the human brain more aware of the world. Until we have language for a new concept, or for a small, beautiful insect, or even a terrible idea, we might not notice that it is there. And in the midst of planet-sized problems, some ridiculousness is needed to make dialogue a bit less frightening.

These itty-bitty instructions are made in tribute to Yoko Ono—the original nester of beds and ideas—who developed her own set of directions in the book Grapefruit. These instructional poems are about getting out of the human head, settling into the world, and merging oneself into it.


Instructions for the Brain:

For Yoko

Move your bed outside,
on the night of the new moon.
The sound of the Earth turning quietly
fills one ear                 and another.
Your insides the sound of a thousand fireflies,
ten thousand grasshopper legs, a million cocoon’s bursting.
How can you know what sleeps inside?


How to speak to the river:

The river is infinitely older than you,
it speaks only in multiple points in time.
As a child, write a letter to the river—
words like mud.
As a young woman, try again.
The epistolary form
is not always two-ways.
When your end is near,
remember all the moments you visited the river.
These string of interactions across time are its archaic alphabet.


More than 50,000 meteorites have been found on Earth:

When I turned on my AC,
I thought I was a tiny god in control of the temperature.
But when the meteor crashed to earth,
that one time, it became 2000 degrees in less than an hour,
as if the sun descended onto Earth.


Tunafish Sandwich Piece 2:

The ocean birthed primordial oozes;
the first life messy, multi-cellular, miasmas.
Ancestors, 100 trillion bacteria still live in your belly,
like a vast coral reef ate part of Yoko’s tuna fish sandwich
and each of us ate the leftovers.



Imagine a hundred suns in the sky at the same time.
A thousand sunrises merged.
There are no shadows anywhere, melted into night.
At dawn, take a blanket to the river.
Try to tuck it in.
Don’t let go until the sky is as dark as the river.