Job Requirements: A Supervillain’s Advice
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).
Jeannine Hall Gailey is the brand-new Poet Laureate of Redmond, and the author of Becoming the Villainess (Steel Toe Books, 2006) and She Returns to the Floating World (Kitsune Books, 2011.) Her poems were featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac and on Verse Daily; two were included in 2007’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, The Cincinnati Review, and Prairie Schooner. She volunteers as an editorial consultant for Crab Creek Review,reviews poetry for The Rumpus, and currently teaches at the MFA program at National University.