Fourteen Scores for Rebirth by Samantha Cohen
1.Put on a pastel silk slip or a clean white sheath. Wear an eye mask and cover yourself in white down comforters and sheets. If you don’t have these things, announce that this is for an art project on Facebook and accept temporary donations. Slather your face in creams. Take melatonin and sleep for as long as possible. If you wake up, take more melatonin and sleep more. Repeat until you wake up and have no idea what day it is.
2.Rent a car that is not your car and fill it with music that is not your music. Pick a highway and drive. Use whatever oracular means you used to make decisions or determine whether someone liked you as a child to determine which highway to switch to next. Drive until you are confused about your identity, and then go into a diner or a forest or a bar.
3.Line a person-sized box with cushions. Cover the cushions with red velvet fabric. This will be a casket. This will be a womb. Make a little hole in the side of the casket/womb and put the straw of a CamelBak through the hole, so the CamelBack is outside, but the mouth of the straw is inside. Climb in. Lie on your back, or on your side with your knees tucked to your chest. Insert fingers into your mouth, suck. Stay here until your body is a jumble of undefined appendages and skin, or until you’re ready to go. The water supply is in case you’re not ready for a long time.
4.Paint your staircase a shade of vaginal pink. Sit in there as long as you need to with your morning tea or whatever before emerging into the world.
5.Insert as much of yourself as you can into an actual vagina. This vagina may be your own or that of someone you think is beautiful who also thinks you are beautiful and has consented for this or some other reason. When you are trying for “as much of yourself as you can” it’s probably best to start with your fingertips and then go toward knuckles, etc. Pay close attention to changes in the cunt you are entering and the body attached to it and the energy in or around it. Pay close attention to changes in your own body and the fluids coating your skin and the soul in or around you. Pay close attention to the breathing. You will know when you’ve been reborn.
6.Fill a bathtub with scalding water. Drop magenta food dye until the water is pink. Put anything else you want in the water—flower petals, glitter, crumbs. Mix fake blood from the Halloween aisle with egg whites. Rub this mixture onto your shoulders and rub it over your body until it coats your skin. If it’s right for you, draw some real blood using a sharp clean blade shallowly on a part of you that’s far from any vein, like a fingertip or the fat part of your outer thigh. Enter the water and watch dark red bloom through the pink. Close your eyes. This is a suicide. This is a baptism.
7.Eat Gerber’s vanilla custard while staring up at a mobile and wearing brightly colored clothes, along with one to three friends who are doing the same thing.
8.Burn a picture of your mother.
9.Put on clothes that are not your clothes. Raid a closet, or steal. Choose things you ordinarily wouldn’t wear and work on your outfit in front of a mirror until you feel so hot and unfamiliar you could fuck yourself. Rechristen yourself, right then. Go out to a club or bar and even if you talk to no one, keep your new name in mind. Send a psychic message to the person there you’d most like to make out with, and wait for that person to approach you. When you bring this person home, try to fully feel the subtleties in their touches and kisses. Try to feel everything, their childhood trauma and the pain of their ancestry, and to respond as honestly as your body knows how.
10. Spend 24 hours in a Korean spa. Eat only soup and things that grow in the ground or on trees. Enter saunas with jade walls and pink salt floors. Enter hot and cold pools. Wrap yourself in thick white towels. Lay down. Have someone rub off all your dead skin with a mitt coated in little blades. S-he will handle your body like it’s sea animal or inanimate surface and leave your skin blanched and with every still-attached-to-you skin cell completely new to oxygen.
11. Write out all of your observations about minutiae and details around you. Write how things look and sound and write what you can’t hear or see but sense exists. Write and write and see what your fingers know that your mouth does not. Sit in your room and write and then on a bus and write and then in a dollar store and write. Write while you eat and while you shit, if your body mandates either of those activities. The writing should last four to ten hours.
12. Let someone who loves you and who you trust hit you over and over and over again.
13. Take all of your previous artwork and everything you have that reminds you of your ex and burn it in a fire outside. Watch the fire grow and shrink as it eats your stuff. Crouch down and observe the precise configurations of the final tiny glow lines that appear and fracture at the very end, while your stuff is embers, before it is nothing. (If your stuff is digital, too, delete it—from your hard drive, your pen drive, your iCloud, everything, all of it, gone.)
14. Gather as many of your previous lovers as you can find. Take them to a top of a hill so that it seems like everything around you is air. Stand in a circle. Look at their faces and scream for as long as you can. When you run out of air scream again. And again. And again. You’ll know when.