How to burn

This entry is part 18 of 39 in the series Manual


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Become an idol sheathed in gold leaf.

Let no one touch you but the wind, and then only through proxies.

Have your hands replaced with hooks and your feet with augers.

Avoid lakes and oceans, thunderstorms and kisses. Dry out.

Live on earth: an unconsummated star smoldering under a thin crust of ash.

Spend your holidays on a barely cooled tongue of lava, or the slag pile from an old coal mine.

Become coal yourself if necessary, but avoid the extremes of heat and pressure that would turn you translucent.

Diamonds are a poor fuel, and their cold fires last nowhere near forever.

We need to burn carbon if we are to fulfill our destiny.

Embark on a long-distance relationship, ideally with the assistance of an anatomically correct knitted heart.

Listen through keyholes.

Feed small rumors with bacon grease and fan them with the shoulder blades of race horses.

What is digestion but a controlled burn?

Join the crowd for a public execution or the overthrow of a government.

Dance the way flames dance, leaping in and out of existence.

Oxidize and exfoliate like a slow book made of rust.

Glow if you can’t flicker, flicker if you can’t blaze.

Set fire to the crops so the harvest will never come, cold and dark—that death that grows inside you like a field of snow.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

7 Comments


  1. You know, I think people might begin to suspect something if you wear your heart on your blog. But fortunately the nihilistic ending will scotch such thoughts :-)

    Reply

  2. Oh, I like this one very much, Dave. Especially

    Live on earth: an unconsummated star smoldering under a thin crust of ash.

    and

    Feed small rumors with bacon grease and fan them with the shoulder blades of race horses.

    Reply

    1. Oh, cool — glad you liked those lines. I’ll have to return to the sacrificial idea in another page of the manual.

      Reply

  3. This might be my favourite so far; love the hooks and augers, and the shoulder blades of racehorses, and the slow book made of rust… and all of it really.

    Reply

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