Control - Impulse - Delete

David Henson

Don’t explain yourself to anyone.

Don’t write it down. Don’t water it down. Don’t lose yourself in translation.

Don’t stoop to kiss your own shadow. Don’t feel the hot concrete on your knees. Don’t nudge the dog out of the way to kiss your shadow’s wavering neck.

Don’t tie the bag off and throw shit at the the church. Don’t stand with eyes closed breathing the sound of bells. Don’t wait to get caught.

Don’t Dostoevsky. Don’t plot. Don’t shake your naked soul like an empty sock puppet.

Don’t talk to anyone but god. Don’t see anyone but god.

Don’t run your fingers between the middle blinds. Don’t imagine the moon’s position in the sky.

Don’t breathe if you can help it.

Don’t doubt.

Don’t be stupid and try.

Don’t write an autobiographical novel. Don’t assume your lust is unique or worthwhile.

Don’t make your life a story. Don’t acknowledge beginnings or endings. Don’t be clever. Don’t be cute.

Don’t talk to anyone but god. Don’t see anyone but god.

Don’t argue. Don’t pick sides. Be sideless.

Don’t choose a body. Don’t support a body. Don’t seek out a body. Don’t rely on your own body or the body of anyone else.

Don’t forget to include some sense of nature.

Don’t forget the kind of green that means water and eternity. Green that holds.

Don’t forget your audience.

Don’t struggle. Don’t forget about ease.

Don’t call anyone past midnight, past drink number four, past the point of no return.

Don’t “put yourself out there.”

Don’t believe in the past.

Don’t judge so you never have to forgive. Don’t trust the images in your head if you’ve seen them before.

Don’t string together some unplayable movie behind your eyes. Don’t star in a tragedy no one will ever see. Don’t give interviews to Terry Gross in the shower.

Don’t reveal it all unless it’s to show you were never anything to begin with.

Don’t tell me you don’t remember.

Don’t come undone, there’s nothing holding you together. Don’t think they’re talking to you even when they’re talking to you. Don’t think about them. They don’t think about you.

Don’t forget about the freedom in that.

Don’t concentrate. Don’t force a thought. Receive thoughts like water poured into glass.

Hold water like a river bed.

Don’t keep receipts. Don’t touch receipts. Don’t make meaning of numbers on paper. Don’t count your blessings.

Don’t perpetuate anything your parents told you. Don’t divide the world. Pretend your opinions are contagious. Don’t offer them to anyone.

Don’t pretend that loving is something you can do. People perform. Love emanates.

Don’t resist. Capitulate. Surrender. Send up the white flag. Play dead if you want to live.

Don’t assume I’m talking to you.

Don’t calculate. Don’t predict. Don’t follow anyone into dark rooms meant for spirits.

Don’t misinterpret. Don’t interpret. Don’t turn up the tape full blast and listen for hidden voices.

Don’t hear anything other than what I say.

Don’t talk to anyone but god. Don’t see anyone but god.

Don’t call them friends. Don’t wait for the call. Don’t worry about forgetting birthdays. Don’t make expectation your master.

Don’t check in. Don’t probe for disturbances. Don’t interpret the feeling filling the car. Don’t ask if it’s okay if you don’t know what it’s like to be okay.

Don’t agree with the assessment. Don’t laugh at the joke. Don’t shatter a perfectly good quiet.

Don’t see anyone. Don’t god.

David Henson is a writer and musician living in Nebraska. He records songs under the name Shadows on a River.