Show up in pinks and yellows. Make it leather, or fur.
Be bold, walk on the streets as if you own the city.
Walk as if you expect the earth to tremble and gasp as you reach for it with your feet.
Carry a cat to the office. Play with it; be a little mysterious.
Have your own special cup with the words: “Right there, panther!”
Swing, with the back of the chair to your chest and legs apart.
I mean, what are you, if not a boss?
What are you, if not a woman?
Cup your breasts into your palm and feel them lift to the applause
of the generations that have been and are yet to be nourished by these fountains.
Run your hand over your thighs and feel the tremors of the unborn.
Sit, legs apart, and let the gates of the temple welcome the foreigner and the stranger
to worship and find themselves before they find you.
What are you, if not the holy of holies?
I mean, what are you if not sensual?
Breathe, deeply, into your lungs and into every cell of your body.
Speak. Tell your body of all the love you have always held but never knew how to show.
And touch yourself under the covers—because that territory is yours.
But also? Walk naked
under the gaze of hungry eyes because yes, you own these lands.
Hail, queen of kings!
What are you, if not ferocious?
Eat. A man. For dinner.
Dig your nails into his back as you flow inwards and out like a spurt of the Ganga.
Spasm upon momentous spasm.
And smell yourself.
I mean, duck your head under your shirt and smell your armpits.
Musty banana, rosemary, ginger, and slightly rotten apple?
That’s the smell of humanity. That is the smell of a well-nurtured body.
What are you, you force of nature,
if not Mekatilili wa Menza?
That one person.
Tell them, “I love you. God, I love you!”
Let a little thrilling shiver run through your veins.
What are you, if not a girl?
Get in the shower.
And call the name of God when the water touches your back.
Wash yourself as if it were the hands of God on your skin.
Yes, even there.
You’ve been touched by God.
What are you, if not the lover of God?
Give birth, howling from ecstasy, spasms of pleasure running through your belly,
and hold a baby to your chest.
These are your deepest desires personified. Yours. They will call you “mommy” one day.
You birthed the earth.
What are you, if not the creator?
Write a song
off-key, but in tune with everything that has ever nurtured the earth.
in the moonlight when no one’s watching.
Write a poem
to your mother.
Or to the lover of your dreams.
You’ve got too much poetry inside your blood.
Tell a story.
Get a show and tell a joke.
Dance with the cowboy and kiss a stranger in the darkness, tongue deep.
You’ll become their fantasy; they’ll always remember that you had a stud in the corner of your mouth.
Oh, how you will haunt that stranger. They will dream about you in the night
and gaze inside every girl’s eye, rummage under their lips—looking for you.
Sit in the sun and let the sun hold you in all places that have never been touched.
Sit under a tree and listen to the trees as they gossip and giggle.
Hold a rock in your hand and tell it all your desires.
Lie in the darkness and wait for God, you angel of the world.
Wander. Into solitude. Into places where only God and beasts roam.
Grab. At a leaf and kiss it. Tell it exactly how you want to be loved.
Hug a thousand trees.
And listen, listen to all the silent ways they love you. Gosh, they breathe for you.
Bite. Into a chunk of soil. Because the earth calls you “mine.”
You are of the earth.
Sit, and do nothing but meditate and levitate.
Hold a prayer or a koan at a hilltop.
Catch a wild bird and make it your pet.
Give it a name: Teresiah.
Eat. Like an animal. Like a barbarian. Like you’ve never eaten before. Lick the juice off your hands.
Sleep. With the gods.
Call all of them at nighttime;
ask them to speak to you in the languages of Rome and Babel.
And ask. Ask questions that cut deep to the heart.
Leave the nibbling at the edges for losers.
Play a flute to the ducks by the brook.
Gaze into the wild carnation; hold its gaze
until satori unstitches you and erupts through your soul.
Oh, holy laughter!
Walk dazed for months, hand in hand with God,
with ecstasy teasing from head to toe.
But do come back.
Please come back.
And tell us more.
Who are you, if not a lover of the world?