Here’s a new kind of art. The artist (me?) writes a set of instructions for the reader to follow. Then, to “experience” the art, the reader has to follow the instructions explicitly. No fair cheating: you can’t really appreciate the artist’s “vision” unless you go all-in and do whatever the instructions say.
I hereby stipulate a few house rules. I won’t ask anyone to do anything illegal (don’t want any lawsuits, here!). I’ll also never ask you to harm yourself or others. Finally, I will try to make these “poems” within reach of the average person…most can be experienced without any undo tribulations.
So here goes:
- Before dawn, hike by yourself to a suitable place to watch the sunrise.
- About five minutes before the sun crests the horizon, begin listening to Siegfried’s Funeral Music from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung.
- Listen to the music in its entirety.
- Count how many wild flowers you pass on the hike back home.
- Wait for a moderately rainy day.
- Stand outside in the rain for ten minutes.
- Come back inside, change into dry clothes, and have a glass of pomegranate juice.
- Slap yourself gently across the face, and laugh, as I am laughing now.
- With pencil and paper, compose a haiku on the theme of nature’s beauty.
- Burn the haiku with flame drawn from a wooden match.
- With pencil and paper, compose a haiku on the theme of nature’s indifference.
The Human Condition
- At the grocery store, try to spend exactly five dollars, including tax, on things you don’t really need.
- At the register, note how many cents away from five dollars you were.
- Multiply this number by 100. For example, if you paid $4.83, you were $0.17 off, so multiplied by 100 this becomes $17.00.
- Go online and donate this amount to a charity of your choice.
- Enjoy your approximately five dollars’ worth of junk.
- Go outside and wait until you see and can identify a wild bird.
- Go to Wikipedia and learn something new about this kind of bird—something you didn’t know before.
- Share this newfound knowledge with someone you love.
- Also share this quote: “If a lion could speak, we could not understand him.”
- Refrain from explaining yourself.
- Play a musical instrument for five minutes. If you don’t play a musical instrument, then sing a song instead.
- Stop playing or singing, even if the music isn’t over.
- The music’s over.
- Crack you knuckles and close your eyes.
- Think of this: there are as many stars in the universe, as grains of sand on Earth.
- Open your eyes.
- Now open your eyes.