Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Seven Rules to Ensure Victory


One. Convince others you’re not actually playing—they shouldn’t be aware of the contest until they wake up in the middle of the night with your smug face hovering inches over them whispering checkmate. This is why one cannot trust the Swiss—no one goes from a 100-year history as world-class mercenaries to quitting war cold turkey. Peace is a screech owl silently watching you sleep through an open window. Two. Change the rules mid-game. Every three-year-old knows this. Invite a friend to tennis and show up in full football regalia—one swift tackle will ensure success. The Swiss—snug in their mountain fortress, secure with their banks holding everyone else’s money—are surely already doing this. Three. Never take advice from poets. Plato tried to warn us. Poetry is a razor blade tucked under the tongue during your first kiss. The Swiss have no poets (Rousseau doesn’t count because he rests in the Parisian Panthéon) so they must be eyed with caution like a golfer playing without a handicap. Four. Get in your opponent’s head. Ancient armies would catapult corpses into besieged cities to destroy morale—disease was an added bonus. Today, in more civilized times, we bombard our enemies with bad pop music—the uptick in foreign sales is an added bonus. Loyalty is listening to a band even after they are weaponized. The Swiss, the Swiss, the Swiss. Five. Keep a beautiful woman at your side at all times. In chess this is called Cleopatraing. At best, she will be Livia to your Augustus and organize the assassinations of your rivals, or at least her rivals. At worst, her low-cut dress will distract others while you rearrange the pieces on the board. A recent scientific study done in Germany reveals that staring at breasts lowers men’s blood pressure and resting heart rate—this will help you outlast your foe in those lifelong wars of attrition. Chivalry is choosing to suffer from high blood pressure when treatment parades around you. The Swiss are well known for their stockpile of beautiful women. What could they be plotting? Six. Don’t reveal everything you know. There’s a lot we don’t know about the Swiss.




Chas Holden hasn’t quite got it all figured out, despite all evidence to the contrary. A cursory glance tells us that he’s employed and able to provide food and shelter for himself. But, further observation reveals a complete lack of fashion sense and the furrowed brow of one harried by existential dread. Some of his earlier poems can be found in 5x5, a handful of stones, unFold, Belletrist Coterie, and Neon.