How to Topple a Kingdom
Read overly-detailed novels. Prefer
rain-soaked windows to dresser bureaus
crowded with lipsticks and small white jewelry cases.
When you hear songs about love,
be sure to wash your hair within two hours
or you’ll surely be kidnapped. If the Kingdom
hops on its left foot and pleads for mercy,
turn your back on it, the Kingdom is playing tricks,
not the least of which is “Tell Me No Lies”
along with “It Don’t Rain in Indianapolis.”
Observe the Kingdom’s rules so stringently
its trappings rust, its bolts loosen. Since you must yell,
do that in dark windy places like midnight prairie towns
or from fire escapes at 3 a.m. while weeping.
Remember this Kingdom is not heart & soul,
nor is it everlasting,
so lie to it. Pretend to be as indifferent
as you are to fake eyelashes and string beans.
The Kingdom is a man selling ice cream,
all those scoops of color beneath his hands:
vanilla, chocolate, strawberry,
peach, banana, blueberry,
pistachio, cherry. The Kingdom is black limousines
that drive through swirling maple leaves.
This Kingdom is watch bands. When the time seems propitious,
the fall inevitable as a woman walking a deserted beach,
take along a little Tibetan prayer stone for luck,
and a microchip from a pried-apart computer.
Don’t say a thing. Simply stare
or raise your arms above your head, as if at the start
of a Falun Gong exercise. The Kingdom
will tremble. The Kingdom will soon start to topple,
and you, onlooker,
you’ll be the least of all its dreadful worries.