advice

(for the writer who can’t write, and who doesn’t know how to live without writing)

 

study people’s mouths on the subway, then write

their lips’ biographies. look up recordings of whale songs,

eking sound from their mass, translate

those moans into your language.

read a catalogue of artistic suicides: Rembrandt dressed

in his finest suit, Sexton in her mother’s fur coat,

Plath with wet towels under the doors,

Woolf with rocks in her pockets,

Hemingway’s brain still rattling with

electricity. reject the romanticization of

death, wonder why the clothes, the moment, the method

matters, hesitate

before jumping off a bridge. deck things

in flowers, sit in a plant shop, count out pennies for a bloom.

stumble into a jazz club, shake your hips

until words dislodge and pour,

staining cheap paperthin napkins, floating like dead fish

in a stranger’s gin.

learn how to make candles, drip wax patterns on to your

hands; watch the news, swear at the shipwrecks and invasions and

weather warnings. try on a persona: smoke,

wear black and drink endless coffees; or

purchase pink crinolines and mix margaritas on the patio.

cry until you gasp. get up early and just sit at your kitchen table,

don’t panic if your whole body tells you it can’t make it

through the day, pocket dimes and single earrings and

brilliant pieces of glass: imbue your own charms with goodwill.

imagine sleeping inside someone else’s body, slipping

into their shape as subtly, as self-consciously as a

morphing cloud, envisage filling their skin like a noose,

like a moon, such absolute trust,

holding their breath like a prayer.

Chloe Burns

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About Ijagun Poetry Journal

Ijagun Poetry Journal is a quarterly journal that provides a platform from which we can tell our own stories in the authenticity of their multiplicity through the poetic medium. We don’t want to hear these stories from our master “griots” alone; we want to hear from those mastering their art, too. Hence, we aim at publishing new and emerging poets. We also welcome the works of established poets in order to encourage the poetic genius of those mastering poetic art. We prize original works that conform to, break or reinvent conventions. Again, we accept reviews and critical essays on poetry. We also accept powerful art works and photographs that make us appreciate the "poetry" in everything.
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