Michele Battiste



1. Assume a common scent, something harmless: bread, baby powder, salted fish

2. Following is a poor synonym and hysterical. Leave it to the stupidly obsessed and broken-hearted. 1

A. Anticipate is not enough. Predict.

B. Oracles are mischievous and unfaithful. Become your own. Just one more skill to master, similar to grammar, based on math and breath.

Memorize this:

i. algebraic formulas
ii. geometric theorems
iii. doumbek rhythms
iv. the properties of magnetism
v. the gravity of myth

Their functions are clear and don't merit explanation. 2

3. Caveat: This is not a charted series of locations. This is not some coded spygame—pubescent, discarded, outgrown. This is not about getting close or being loved. This is not without impact, not without sin. This is atrophying muscle to fit inside a habit, a skin.

4. No contact. 3

5. Disguise is conspicuous. Blend in.

6. Amass the necessary objects:
lip balm, pedometer, stop watch
quarters, compass, sidewalk chalk
wire cutter, glass cutter, box cutter 4, bus map, flask
cell phone, salt lick, trail mix, plastic bags
leash, vendor's license, chotchky merchandise 5

7. Subtle cues betray eccentric for insanity, comical for dangerous, nuisance for disturbed. Interaction with authorities is inevitable. Learn to assume the identity of the easily dismissed.

8. Learn the woman's role of ballroom dance.

9. Stalking is reclusive and shares no intimacies. 6 The perimeter or ritual squatted by stalker and owned by stalked doesn't count and confirms: you are a solitary thing. Lonely. This distance is the closest that you'll get and it is, at best, empirical.

10. The final lesson finds the ending—frostbite, chapped lips, the itchiness of stagnant muscles, scraps of notes. You understand now? The oil from your finger will alter the precision of a dart's metal tip, will cause a halogen lamp to explode. Not even the breeze of your breath. The purest form of knowing another soul.


1     This doesn't mean you shouldn't practice different strides until stagger is as simply casual as stroll.

2     Explanations of functions:

i. the logic of hours and distance remaining

ii. the best angles of interception, the room for error, the principles of parallel lines

iii. the unconscious is ritual of personal chaos. It has its own timing and conquering instance when it assumes the privilege of truth

iv. bodies are magnetic (proof: the iron smell of blood). Magnets attract, repel

v. the self-fulfilling prophecy of subject, of stalked

3     If contact has already occurred: Contact is a breach in protocol I can't help mend. No situation is ideal or solid textbook but there's not quick fix when anonymity lacks. Things get ugly, violent. Abandon stalking. Attempt a courtship. I insist.

4     Occassional instances of buildings, barriers, fences – arbitrary obstacles that can't be sidestepped, and a little bit of criminal commitment casts out the last chance cowardice of turning back.

5     Two suggested reasons for repeated presence on a staked-out sidewalk corner: lost dog, hawking wares.

6     Intimacies:

a) the biblical know
b) familial and its substitutes
c) legal institutions and verisimilitudes
d) most versions of friendship including those based on mutual addictions


"Lessons" evolved from a character in another, unfinished poem. She said "I could be a good stalker./I've got that kind of mind./Algebraic. Elastic. Like an oracle./See, it's not the obsessed who are successful." But that wasn't any good. I realized that there needed to be separation between the speaker and the reader to mimic the void, the physical space between stalker and stalked. So I created a document, a lesson plan, that distances the voice from the text, that creates a firewall between the narrator and the reader. I also wanted to formalize and put in order the irrational to see if presentation alters the actual. I don't stalk, though. Really. But I could be a good stalker. I've got that kind of mind.