National Poetry Month 06 – Of Course

•April 7, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Of course a guy would try to sway away
The dearest prize his love could give with some
Half-cocked bullshit about a flea*. To say
That you are clever-smart is for a bum
To point to any house and call it home.
Oh sure, it is a home, but his it’s not.
You can say that you have written what none
Have done before. But she in wit can spot
Your lie. To call that precious gift a flea
Is to call Harmandir Sahib red rust.
You seek to claim the rarest pearls only
To see that the oyster is ashes, dust.
To woo your love, esteem her not so low.
Don’t write the flea, but try mosquito, bro.

*This sonnet is in response to John Donne’s “The Flea” (1633, from Songs and Sonnets)

National Poetry Month 05 – America Apollo, Glorious

•April 5, 2016 • Leave a Comment

America Apollo, glorious
of all the heroes, hear my song of praise.
You stand for truth and justice, and some stuff
that no one else believes in these last days.
In these last days, they have become hateful
and cynical—“I live for me and me
alone.” The world’s colors are dust and dull:
Green grass is brown; blue sky is grey. They sing
to take away Your song, Your relevance.
You stand for truth inside a world that lies
to profit on injustice. But I can’t
sit idly by; to merely sing belies
my praise. I must become You, Man of Steel,
lest cynical, I have become the heel.

National Poetry Month 04 – I am Afraid to Call

•April 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I am afraid to call your number to
See if you would like to go a date.
Don’t ask me why this is; minutes are few
For me to find an answer that won’t grate
My insecurities. My courage is
Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high,
And I don’t have a way to climb. My fist
Is clinched, my nails dig deep. O why am I
So shy? It’s just a phone number to call—
Or text! I could just text you and relax.
For what do I do then? Better Call Saul.
Or hear Kenny G. play the blessed sax.
Okay I would not wait, a nervous wreck
Again, again, my cell phone I would check.

National Poetry Month 03 – I Cannot Get You Out of my Head

•April 3, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I cannot get you out from in my head
Though I have not seen you in fifteen years:
A person living only in my dread.
As bitter memory dry-heaving tears,
Existing merely as a blank figure—
No details of your face, your eyes, your smile.
You are a cancer rotting with no cure
My mouth is left to eat my sour bile.
I cannot go throughout my day without
One try at finding clarity, to fill
What’s missing in a mind so full of doubt
About seeing the one who haunts me still.
I curse the day I saw you, took your hand
In mine, the flame inside my heart was fanned.

National Poetry Month 02 – You Do Not Want To Meet

•April 2, 2016 • Leave a Comment

You do not want to meet up with me, why?
What have I done to be ignored by you?
Did I say something long ago? Am I
Really that guy, Am I really a dude?
I try to joke and kid, but not offend.
Maybe that thought is but the Great White Whale
Whose pursuit shall never come to an end.
The teasing is the story that I fail
And left to live alone with none to call
My friend, the Peggy to my Steve. Instead
I’m left with Don Quixote’s dream and all
His joyless wars that leaves me inside dead.
If you don’t want to be a friend with me
Then I do cast you out to die at sea.

National Poetry Month 01 – I’m Told That We Should Meet

•April 1, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I’m told that we should meet, to eat and drink
And get to know each other like we ne’er
Have met before. There was a time, I think,
When we did meet, a time of yesteryear.
We both were young, the future bright and bold—
The sun of hope shines his promised truth:
That we could know who we would be when old
(a mystery unraveled by a sleuth).
But bastard Time conspired fate against
Us, stealing hope away and leaving with
Our dreams, left us locked up inside the fence
Of iron bars. Our hearts are brittled stiff.
Why should we meet when we in lonely pain
Know that cruel life won’t let us love again.

Batman v Superman: Permitting Justice (Spoilers!!!)

•March 26, 2016 • Leave a Comment

batman_v_superman___poster_by_camw1n-d9qol9dSo Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was finally released this weekend to critical disappointment. I’ve found the idea of Batman fighting Superman to be fascinating because in a straight fight Batman cannot win. Who won in the film will be determined by one’s perspective on the battle (i.e. who’s side each viewer is on). But let’s just think about these two titans, the grandparents of the American Superhero, squaring off against each other and ask this question: can Batman ever actually say that he beat Superman?

—SPOILER ALERT!—

When I’ve read a Batman vs. Superman issue in a comic book, the author usually inserts an equalizer of some sorts. Frank Miller used a nuclear bomb, an armored suit, teammates and kryptonite in his The Dark Knight Returns (and a similar formula in The Dark Knight Strikes Back). Zack Snyder also uses kryptonite and an armored suit in his Batman v Superman film. Batman, being a mere human, cannot just fight Superman and his god-like powers without it.

But there’s something else to consider when asking if Batman can actually beat Superman. Superman is often depicted as giving Batman the opportunity to level the playing field. Before the big fight in the climax of The Dark Knight Returns, Superman carves the question “Where?” into the snow so that Batman could determine the field of battle, effectively conceding the high ground to Batman. Many people argue that if Batman is given time to prep the location, he will beat Superman every time. That may be true, but Superman lets Batman determine the field and prepare it. He does not have to do that.

In Batman v Superman, Batman is prepping a battlefield for a fight against a Superman who has left Metropolis and Lois Lane behind to determine if he even wants to continue to be Superman. Why do we act like this is a real fight when only one person wants to do battle? The other is off having an existential crisis that whatever answer he reaches will probably end with him not wanting to fight Batman anyways.

Screenshot 2016-03-26 14.30.12When Superman is finally goaded into confronting Batman in the climax of the film, Superman and Batman are not actually fighting to the finish. Rather, Superman is trying to win Batman’s help against Lex Luthor. Batman is driven to murder Superman by Lex Luthor’s schemes, playing on Batman’s fears of Superman’s potential earth-destroying capabilities. Superman is sent to fight Batman by Luthor because, if Superman doesn’t kill Batman, Luthor will kill Martha Kent. So Superman goes to convince Batman to help him save his mother. There is big line, “Stay down. If I wanted it, you’d be dead already.” Superman isn’t fighting at all.

By the time the movie gets to the actual battle—Batman using the kryptonite created by the world engine in Man of Steel—Superman, in his weakened state, is only trying to subdue Batman. There is no true battle. Batman does not win because he’s beating up someone who is not fighting. Superman is allowing Batman to fight; he’s in total control of the fight from the outset.

Thus, Superman allowing these kinds of fights to happen as he so often does cheapens the battles. If Batman wins, it’s not because he actually won the battle. Batman never earns the victory outright, beating Superman at his best. Superman holds back, not committing his full power to the battle. So in Batman v Superman, if Superman went into that battle with the sole intention to kill Batman, the Kryptonite would have never been used because Superman is too fast and too strong for Batman to use his gadgets—grenades or spears.

Batman might have his boot on Superman’s neck, ready to impale him with a kryptonite spear, but he won a non-fight. He beat up someone who wasn’t really engaged. It’s like in the NFL Preseason. Some teams will have their second- or even third-string players in the game to face the other team’s starters. The second team might be winning, but the first team isn’t trying to win either. The victory is hollow.

Screenshot 2016-03-26 14.30.40Bat-fans might feel vindicated by the image of Superman on the ground. But take the time to watch what Superman does. Does he really try to fight Batman, like Luthor wants? The obvious answer is no. He’s there to convince Batman to join him—and he succeeds in doing that. If anything, Superman trying to convince Batman to “save Martha” (I never put together the mothers of these heroes having the same name) was his goal, and he achieved that goal. Batman, having set out to kill Superman, failed.

If Bat-fans want to say that Batman won a fight that Superman wasn’t trying to fight, then this Super-fan can say that Superman won the contest because he achieved his goal—he won.

(Images taken from Superman: American Alien #4 (2016) by Max Landis, Steve Dillon and Jae Lee.)