First, take any poetry out.
It will only get in the way.

Leave in some sky, a kettle, pan, suchlike —
a few objects, real things to comfort people.

Don’t worry about technique —
technique is only for a select cadre of readers,

and their kind will pass:
meanwhile, let them talk about end-stops and enjambment

if they wish. It’s pretty harmless,
like guard towers or thorns reflected in a river.

Don’t get too hooked on meaning:
this happens anyway, but never forget to mention time.

Teach people to improve themselves: they like that.
Use metaphor a lot: disguise it as advice,

or fables, mirrors, or simply plain fact.
Leopards are fine. Ambivalence, so-so. Allusion (literary), bad. Critics

need you more than you need them.
Treat them with disdain, especially if they like your work.

Style? It’s personal. Maybe give it a classic sheen:
rusting cars in vacant lots, nubile girls — each

a dawn — waiting for the sun to rise,
dust.

Never, ever, leave anything of importance
locked inside:

keep your valuables with you,
vagabonds may often haunt your heels,

but give yourself a chance, at least, of getting clean away.
Be too clever. Be callous, and inconsistent. Irony

is a subtle god, worship it carefully.
Avoid the big themes: they’re tiresome,

just large potatoes among small potatoes,
centuries among instants.

Make your work as worthless as you can:
never trust a wealthy poet. Avoid fashion. Crucially,

never wear a cravat. Never obey
your own maxims. But be more generous, always. Serve the people.

You’re not the finished article, merely
a by-product. A part of silence, after

a sung song.
When the end comes,

you should be used up.
What’s left is everything.

Oh, and one more thing:
Forgive me if I have said anything wrong.

I am so sorry to take leave of you.
Peace be with you.

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