Linda Nemec Foster’s poem featured in the South Florida Poetry Journal

The Simple ABCʼs of How to Survive Anything

Always look before you leap: even if thereʼs nothing there.

Be prepared for the inevitable: and you know what Iʼm talking about.

Carefully tie your shoes: the laces may betray you to the sidewalk.

Donʼt do anything: the need to hold still is essential.

Even if you want to scream, donʼt: you will only upset your lungsʼ definition of work.

Forget about sex: underrated, overrated, it never quite gets its lines right.

Go to the nearest oak tree and climb it: ask the sparrows if theyʼll adopt you.

Have an escape plan: it may not save you but your creative impulse will be forever

Imagine nothing: then crawl into its cave.

Just relax and wait: things will either get better or worse.

Know your friends: their smallest gestures, the ways their hearts hold you.

Learn from your enemies: count every tooth in their mouths, even the ones missing.

Make something youʼve never made before: a black velvet opera cape, a transistor radio, interstellar dust.

Never underestimate the power of NO: the negative can be positive given the right

Outlive your enemies but none of your friends: think about it, itʼs cool!

Play a musical composition only your dead father could appreciate: for example,
a fugue for two harmonicas.

Quit being so silent about your life: even the maple tree in the backyard has a louder

Remember to never forget your feet: donʼt assume theyʼll follow you everywhere.

Sing as if you lived in an alien landscape: your voice as red as Mars, as blue as
Neptune, as opaque as the Horsehead Nebula.

Turn around right now and go in the opposite direction: trust me, it works.

Unwrap the one stone thatʼs been sitting in your heart the longest: feel the weight thatʼs

Verbalize random words that you can toss like a salad: oscillation, popsicle, sea spray,

Walk down to the basement and inspect the damage: if you donʼt have one, start

X marks the spot: of course, you donʼt know what that means; neither do I.

Yodel a Bavarian tune as you re-imagine the history of the twentieth century: horrific and absurd in one long melody.

Zinc, zenith, zephyr, ziggurat, zen, zodiac, zion, zucchini, zygote, zero. Start all over

LINDA NEMEC FOSTER has nine collections of poetry including Amber Necklace from Gdansk (finalist for the Ohio Book Award in Poetry) and Talking Diamonds (finalist for ForeWord Magazineʼs Book of the Year). Her chapbook, Contemplating the Heavens, was the inspiration for jazz pianist Steve Talagaʼs original composition which was nominated for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Her new chapbook, The Elusive Heroine: My Daughter Lost in Magritte, will be published in 2017 by Cervena Barva Press.

Originally Published by South Florida Poetry Journal, click here to view article.