Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Love Advice from a Twenty-Sided Die



Love is a furtive expedition
filled with the dire warning:
don’t go to sleep angry,
but here is the tale of sleepless
monsters locking horns, night
sweats and greed that swallows.
The maniac is unreasonable when
spoken to but will have great cunning.
It sometimes begins in a tavern
with a veteran seeking volunteers
on the road to near-tantric bliss,
a secret member of the Don’t Cook
Them Breakfast clan, a hooded
grenadier in the latest fashion.
Delusions are ordinary objects that do
not exist, people where there are none.
The quest receives many temptations
on the way, travelers with supple
supplies, shelter with a single bed,
bards strumming solace, potent herbs,
cacophony of gladiator partners,
actors playing it to the hilt.
He or she will have an obsessive
desire to inflict pain (and death).
Some of this adventure is underground,
with creaking back and tickled trolls,
madness in the dominant eye,
shadowy wings bound in sheets.
Many toil in this dark passage,
afraid of surface, awake at night.
The desire to take is uncontrollable.
He or she will sit staring and unmoving.
There is almost always an accident,
valuables scattered in flight, poison
by the wounded one, partners traded
or lost on the cursed mountain pass.
The room for error is a knife hand,
holding back the irresistible force.
He or she will select a role model
and make every attempt to become.
Love is a furtive expedition.
It sometimes begins in a tavern.
The quest receives many temptations.
Some of the adventure is underground.
There is almost always an accident.
The afflicted will not remember insane actions.
The italicized text is from The Official Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master Guide, “Types of Insanity,” by Gary Gygax.


A former U.S Army interrogator, Martin Ott currently lives in Los Angeles, where he writes poetry and fiction, often about his misunderstood city. He is the author of three books of poetry: Underdays (forthcoming in 2015), Captive, and Poets’ Guide to America, co-written with John F. Buckley. In 2013, he published his debut novel, The Interrogator’s Notebook. Find out more at