Poetry Friday: How to Become a Supervillian

1 Feb

I don’t have much to offer to the internet today; it’s gray and raining and I have a headache and work. But poetry is something that I’ve gradually come to enjoy, now that I’m no longer in high school and trying to explain what Shelley meant with his “Ode to the West Wind” and compare it to “Ozymandias”.  I really liked this poem and how it ends.

Job Requirements: A Supervillain’s Advice
by Jeannine Hall Gailey

Grow up near a secret nuclear testing site.
Think Hanford, Washington. Oak Ridge,
Tennessee. North and South Dakota
are riddled with them. Your father – is he
an eccentric scientist of some sort? Did you
show early signs of a “supergenius” IQ?
Experience isolation from “normal” childhood
activities? (Multiple traumatic incidents welcome.)
Physical limitations, such as an unusual but poetic
disease or deformity due to mutation, are preferred;
problems due to accidents involving powerful
new weaponry or interactions with superheroes
are also acceptable. (Develop flamboyant
criminal signatures. Adopt antisocial poses.)
Fashionable knack for skin-tight costumes
(masks, hooks, extra long nails) considered a plus.
Study jujitsu or krav maga.
Practice creative problem solving;
for example, that lipstick could be poisoned,
that spiked heel a stabbing implement.
Remember, you are on the side
of the laws of thermodynamics. Entropy
is a measure of disorder.
Chaos, destruction, death: these are your instruments.
Use them wisely. You are no mere mortal.
Don’t lose your cool if captured; chances are,
you can already control minds, bend metal to your whim,
produce, in your palms, fire.
In the end you are the reason we see the picture;
we mistrust the tedium of a string of sunny days.
We like to watch things crumble.

 

 

“Job Requirements: A Supervillain’s Advice” is republished from Becoming the Villainess (Steel Toe Books, 2006).

 

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