A Recipe for Melting It Down

“A Recipe for Melting It Down”


Melting it down

is easy to do

on the stovetop.

Better if you have gas,

but most electric and flattops

still are controllable

and, more important, open—

unlike microwaves—

for stirring to ensure

even cooking and prevent scorching,

and for ventilating smoke

in the likely event

of open flame.


Melting it down

is harder to do

over a campfire

when you are in the woods

hoping to God

you find your calling

in a flash of moonrise and smoke,

or at least kick the habit

of self-destruction

through breathing and playing with leaves.


Melting it down

feels damn near impossible

in a car, particularly if you are living in it.

Pawn artists smell desperation.

But everything is possible

when you are living in a car,

like being mentioned later

in an inspirational story

that is not an obituary.


Here is how you do it,

wherever you are.

Listen, stop crying, breathe—

I’m drawing you a map,

what is a recipe but that?

Gather all your precious

metals and jewels—

family silver, gold soul, citrine scotch,

silver chloride electrodes from the medical tribe,

wedding bands from other people

who believed in such things

for reasons other than health insurance.


Other valuables, too—musical instruments

you’re not going to play again

because you’d just as soon

not make another sound.

Swiss Army knives

and all pretention of neutrality.

The Smith & Wesson you slept with

in place of the first husband,

almost-husband if you must know,

for half a year. 


Take out a large saucepan.

Preheat with 450° of despair.

Preseason with sweat.

Bruise expectations

and pile into saucepan.

Simmer until walls are melted down.

Stir until just kidding, keep stirring

so expectations do not stick.

Things we thought we knew about ourselves

may float to the top. Separate them out

with bones after boiling for broth.


The pots and cinderblocks

are finally one now, and in the fading light

of sun, fire, and other performances,

I’m more and more certain

that somewhere here

is something we can use.