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Abe Louise Young


Instructions on Softening

Dream an envelope of earth, and fill it with blue morning glory seeds.
Seeds need tenderness and a message of truth before they wake up.
Weed a short section of childhood memory, plant bulbs that bloom in winter.

Practice burning faces into your brain like names on a leather purse.
Feed a population of feral children. Identify and interview yourself.
Terror informants want to know that rifleshot won’t follow their words.

Speech is a natural pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables.
Where is the nearest natural running water?
Relax the angry reflexes that protect you from pain.

Nurture beneficial insects.
Dream an x-ray of world peace.
Vow to return to live on Earth again, again, again.

Listen to Abe Louise Young read "Instructions...":



Feminesto: Dialogue

Are there any qualities standard to liberation?

       Each book on the syllabus.

How do I make rape bear fruit, little bear?

         The brain that contains the problem also contains the solution.

We are in need of a worldwide Sabbath, a moment of absolute rest.

       Good night, little one. Dream me a forest path, a basket.

My body—his body—missile silos—the sidewalk, the crop, the compost—
Guantanamo Bay—the pesticide—faucet—wet mop—#10—the bees in the
orchard—child’s hand—nobody’s suffering is singular— can I be my own harbor,
yet hold refugees?

        Create a moment without cacophony.

Lungs, the light. A breath?

        From any cliff, you can extend a blessing.

Listen to Abe Louise Young read "Feminesto...":



Abe Louise Young was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. She holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James Michener Fellow in Creative Writing. Her award-winning poetry and essays are published widely, and she's the editor of Hip Deep: Opinion, Essays, and Vision from American Teenagers.
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