Next time I meet someone I like,
I’m going to give them this poem
instead of an instruction manual.
So if you are reading this,
first let me offer my congratulations for
acquiring the commodity of my attention.
It does not come cheap.
Also, let me say how sorry I am because,
if you are reading this,
I must’ve judged you to be a person who enjoys
an occasional emotional breakdown (or two),
and the bad writing that usually goes hand in hand
with a neurotic personality like mine.
I am not an easy person to get to know,
so I figured I’d give you a head start,
before we get to romantic arguments on the beach or
sex-evasion in the student dorm,
before you decide that I’m too much work
or that the salary’s too low
for the amount of effort you put in.
Here are a few recommendations,
because I’d like you to get your money’s worth.
In the beginning, leave a gap of at least
one hour before replying to any of my messages.
This will create an air of mystery
I’ve never been able to resist.
As time goes by, though, try to be quicker.
After a year, you’re even allowed to text me first in the morning
with an inane question such as „what did you dream about last night?“
It will probably be you, but don’t expect me to say so.
This is tip number two.
Accept my quips and mean jokes, but hey,
you’re allowed to reciprocate.
I’ve always believed in tit-for-tat relationships.
I won’t tell you I like or need you, even though
I probably already do.
I will never use a diminutive form of a zoological term
to address you. This is a promise, not a threat.
It’s a safe bet that I’ll never kiss you first, either.
Risk-taking is not in my nature.
If you find a pro’s and con’s list with your name on it
somewhere in the sea of papers in my room,
don’t take it too personally.
It’s actually a compliment.
It means you are being considered for a more
You might become assistant manager in no time.
Tip number four:
(or is it three?)
even though I may not appear to be hiring,
unemployment worries me,
and I would like to do my share to help
society cope in this time of great economic upheaval.
So don’t wait for me to put out an add,
send in an open application.
Believe me, I will appreciate the initiative.
That’s another star sticker on your report card, already.
I’m not stingy with rewards.
Finally, I have one last piece of advice.
We wouldn’t want to make this too easy,
would we? Where’s the fun in that?
Don’t use the word love with me.
It is a promise no one has yet been able to keep,
and I despise liars most of all.
Love is the switch that will
restart my system and you’ll be left with
all your data instantly erased.
Don’t gamble the good memories
we might share for
a flight of fancy we’d derive from
living in a love-song for a day.
If you’re reading this,
I’d like you to stay.
When you get the urge to spill your guts that way,
play me a song you know I like.
Say, this reminds me of you.
Isn’t it good that we’ve met?
I’ll nod, but won’t reply
(We’ve been through this already.
I’m not into sweet, or loud… except, well.
I’ll only hum,
or tap my foot against yours
to the rhythm of the music.
The translation of this act into a
language you can understand
would be closest to: