A Breakup Manifesto
After Wendell Berry’s Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
Buy yellow daffodils and purple-blue tulips even though ends don’t meet, Jettas break down on the 605, and student loans defer themselves no more. To a higher law you must defer. Your head bent like a swan. Your heart tender and swollen like a child’s thumb beneath an unsteady hammer. Learn to bake blueberry scones from scratch. Feed those who have not willingly left your life. Keep eating to keep alive even though you don’t feel like it today.
Put pen to journal with one bird on the cover, not two. Yes, one bird with a tiny beak for song and twerp. Listen to an old Colombian man named Mariano whose wife, the love of his life, just died. Hear him speak Spanish in a kitchen that percolates Colombian espresso over blue burners. His red nose—Was he crying just now, on the back porch, when you came in?—listen as he speaks of la vida. Catch every fifth word and the sorrow in cloudy eyes. Watch him motion as he speaks, how life goes on and passes by. The wave of his hand. Understand everything and nothing.
Read more poetry because poetry begets poetry and the world needs parsing, fewer words, simplicity.
Redeem—imbue with new meaning and skin—the clothes you wore when he kissed you like he intended to stay. Walk those shoes into new rooms. Peel those sweaters off and toss them onto new hardwood floors. Wrap that blanket around friends at new firesides in distant mountains that know nothing of the one who fled and hid his face among a crowd of Yeats’ stars. Put curtains up on kitchen windows because the neighbor is a still a pervert and there will one day be someone new to kiss. Believe.
Call on the mustard seed. Dwell in tents.
Wear red shoes unafraid to walk into danger.
Tear out stakes and move when the Lord says, Move.
Think about Sarah, and Abraham. Ask that cloud of witnesses to testify.
Don’t cry over children holding red balloons, but release. Watch that red balloon being tugged up and into blue sky. Follow it
with your eyes. Witness it
go up. Keep looking up.
And when you feel like stopping start again.
Visual Artist: Josie Koznarek