from Experimental Gardening Manual

Create your own habitat in thirty-something simple steps

Sebastián Jiménez Galindo

16) Delay identity theft: everything that is evasive,
hidden, elusive, and impractical, spilled into warnings
or enjambments of unforeseen endings and shortened
beginnings under the crypto-marine language of memories;
everything that sweeps away into the avalanche of absences
or the invisible force that falls to the closet floor without reason:
it’s the only thing that differentiates you from, say, cherry trees.

23) Interpret stomach serenity: it has been said that the greatest love
can be compared to a flame ignited from the caves of the rectum
(even in the mindless chatter of a gathering of old and new friends)
that repeatedly yearns for the moment in which you forgot how to feel.
If you choose to ignore your baggage like brazen clothes in the closet,
if you claim to own that restless soul of fickle and rebellious saudade,
go to sleep early—every morning it is inevitable to go out and live again.

25) Make up a story consistently reinforced in the night: choose to be an owl,
in this manner, you’ll avoid getting muddy in common areas and you may,
with a certain inexhaustible psychic effort, recount a story of true love, where
neither of the two will rise, shred upon shred, between the earth and the wall,
babbling incoherently that the one who speaks is alive and the other has died;
the bed burned in catastrophic flames, one fled to the mountain by the hillside,
and in the end no one had the last word because everything went up in smoke.

26) Practice bunk bed tourism: it is clearly apparent that none among us
are tired of multitasking, of knocking down the wall with a painting and a nail
and imagining a secret dialogue with summer rain, no longer like romanticism,
dysfunctional and unconvincing, but like nostalgia for the gestures of others,
like the songs that we never got to hear about our own embodied sorrow
that described what we were made of, and so, we devised a catastrophe; one
that would not jostle the railing on the balcony, the bedposts nor the awnings.

27) Wake up in a dark forest: the aerodynamic and serpentine silhouette of your
footwear does not necessarily follow the clear patterns that have been developed:
notice the eternal repetition like paths of robust and impermeable windstorms
and make sure not to use your rosy head to dig your way out of your own sins;
resume your charitable journey back to a modest, stable, geocentric way of life,
and always take into account that, no matter in what order they were carved,
the sculptural models of the other world all came from one and the same crater.

29) Consider alternatives to amusement: commune with nature, vehemently
throw yourself at a traffic cop, saturate your sensory information processing system
for a period of thirty years in an oak and sealskin bungalow in an isolated archipelago,
and later on, devote your time to studying synthetic gum base and its resistance,
with the goal of demystifying common chewing gum and its social impact; carefully
confront those “I always wanted,” those “Maybe one day,” and those “I would have liked,”
then interrupt every strand of thought with rough draft sketches of a singular science.

32) Register your pockets: one night is any night if you follow an instinctual course
when, toward the final deepened hours, a simple whisper with an urgent tone
pronounces the necessary monosyllables to undertake all long journeys with no return:
when this occurs, duck down, as if looking for some shoe below the dining room table
in the innocuous channels of a middle-class meal, and think with immense enthusiasm
of everything related to oral sex (for example, classical music and its peculiar cadence).
Suddenly, against fresh cotton, you’ll find new ways to calm your nerves.

33) Say “I love you” forever: any possibility of understanding the universe is consistent
with the data now available concerning the proximity (and distance) between all things;
nevertheless, there are (affordable) ways of crossing the air, land, and sea with the speed
of the bat, the porpoise, or any other tenacious and resilient body faced with the fervent
rumble of a hostile, desolate (barren) environment, the shallow ditch of quartz hailstones,
silence forged upon itself (the tempting mystery of the house where old age anticipates us):
the possibility of traveling far away, of sheltering within a whole and unsuspecting world.

34) Do not let anything go unnoticed: better to call and give any excuse about
the present state of circumstances, about the face of a child in its mother’s lap,
or the fate of an unwelcome future meeting in the route of four cardinal points,
and a discursively constructed reality, so far from our doubts and uncertainties,
about small phrases echoed throughout stories, and the Arcanum Seventeen, or
the discord of a viewer’s reflection beneath his own penetrating gaze; it is better to
call and give any excuse than to close your eyes to the horizon that creeps in a flicker.

35) Frolic happily in circles like a decapitated chicken: with an ulterior motive, of course:
perhaps a disturbing dream the previous night clouded your mind with new questions,
perhaps you recalled (between clean sheets and several pillows) your first night without a head;
the utterly absurd slimness of your recently-acquired unbroken neck (somewhat irritating,
certainly, though practical in the moment for devising a meaningful approach to life
                        or in turn, absorbing the resignation of learning what it means
                                                                                    to mourn with certainty)
                                                            and admiring, then, your new life:
                                                each day a carnival of delight
                                                                                    being only
                                                                                                a body.

translated from the Spanish by Naomi Washer