Don’t watch the World News anymore. It’s not the news of the world, but rather a sad commentary of Trumpism. You will hear nothing about Aleppo, the West Bank, Puerto Rico, Africa, China—most of the map you study before elusive sleep. Instead, you will be apprised of the mauling of women, mass shootings with legal military weapons, terrorism via suicide and non-suicide bombs [pressure cookers cooked up in cyberspace I-want-to-be-a-terrorist school], corrupt voting, police brutality, domestic violence, and the like. Don’t write about your own maulings. There are too many already, and why relive? You just told one person, and that is enough [for now].
Don’t write about the diseases that plague your aging, degenerating body. No one wants to hear. It’s depressing. Laugh more. Set the precedent. Don’t look at your hands, your feet, your long-term goals.
Try not to freak out when the car behind you is practically up your trunk. How would you afford a replacement car at this point—get to work? Explain to your mother about another car crash? When your poor-people health insurance won’t give you any emergency anxiety medicine—lumping you in that category of misuse, abuse, unnecessary compromise?
Relax, it’s not that bad. Rethink your inability to practice yoga, meditate. When the road splits up ahead, take the right lane, the high road; flip him off nonchalantly. Pay attention to the cars ahead and the cars coming at you with their too-bright headlights in the too-dark road in a town that could afford streetlights with the taxes people pay. Pay attention, but imagine something different: flowers, pizza, your dog, your niece, your lovely house, your kind neighbor, the soft cloud-cover protecting star.
Don’t feel bad about the loneliness. It touches many, seeps into the bones of consciousness. Another could help pay the bills but is no guarantee of a get-out-of-jail-free card. Romanticize yourself instead, your ability to stretch out and make noise in the House, leave all the dishes in the sink, pocket plastic cutlery from the gas station of pajamas, donuts, and frozen food; dust the soles of your feet off before you go to bed with books, notebooks, and magazines.
It’s not that bad. When you run out of heating oil, build a fire. Burn all your old diaries, the love-letter lies, all the newspapers your mother gives you. When the skies turn ominous, head for the cellar and hang with the ghosts. Be gentle with them. They are skittish like you. If you can’t make it to the cellar in time, go to the bathtub if in the back of the house; the chimney opening if in the front. Pray. It can’t hurt.
When sleep hides from you because your focus is too immense, listen to music, YouTube the ocean, torrential rain [but try and forget about the faulty gutter at the corner of the bedroom]. Don’t watch TV. There is too much you can’t afford to buy. There is too much you can’t afford to think about. Let the dog love on you. Repeat his name with your hands on his delicate face, velvet ears. Remember your lost father’s voice, the last thing he said.