Instructions for the Big City

First, tip mathematically. Kindness implies a lack
of fear, fear governs
all cities. Instead, complain, demand
to speak with management, imply
fault when none is obvious. Wear
black at all times, even to bed. Eat
sparingly without pleasure; do all things
this way — pleasure implies
perspective. How can you have perspective
when you can't see the horizon?

Walk, never drive. If you must, ride
the train, never taxis. Carry yourself
at all times as though superior, affect
opinions on all subjects, no matter how
obscure, absurd, meaningless; dismiss
everything. Wear lifts
so you can tower over others. Stand
on ladders; wear stilts. Anoint
your form, wear Vaseline, Astroglide
your arms to lower wind resistance, risk
of contagion; cities are fueled by germs.

Forget ideas of compassion or interest
in anything outside yourself. Forget
the purpose of turn signals. Style
is all. Substance is passé. Become world
weary, jaded. Ignore feelings
of awe. Inspiration
is for suckers. Consume.
You've learned these things, already,
I know. People are
the same where you're from,
there's just less of them.

CL Bledsoe is the author of Anthem and _____(want/need). Recent poems appear in Barrow Street, Story South and the Arkansas Review. He is an editor for Ghoti Magazine