How to be Brilliant

be constantly shuffling stacks of papers, but never the first or last to leave a place. happen. fill your studio apartment with used books that you will not have time to read. in bars, insist on your intellect, always buy the first round. feign poverty, write in cursive, always arrive late—paraphrase everything. consume heavy amounts of caffeine, but drag in like a dead body. speak in dense syntax. find an endearing flaw, now emphasize it. carry a shoulder bag, fill it with the following: manuscript, antidepressants, obscure books on: navigation, mating habits, the velvet revolution, etcetera. ambiguity creates depth. exude this maxim, never mention it. be aloof. always you are late to a lunch date. claim an absurd ritual, for example “i never miss a sunrise.” speak with unshakeable confidence. flirt with narcissism, believe in humanism, fall in love constantly. find a clever vice, dress in layers, and say things like “time is a construct of a dissatisfied mass.” be devoted to something, i.e. hedonism, location, forgiveness. fervor is key. always be on the verge of deconstructing. learn a skill, or just one song on the piano, anything that acts as a party favor will do. be kissable. never commit to anything. always show up.

Hafizah Geter teaches college writing and generally enjoys it. She is a South Carolina native currently living in Chicago, IL. She received her MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago and is a Cave Canem Fellow. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Columbia Poetry Review, RHINO, New Delta Review, So to Speak, and Packingtown Review.