Comic Book Characters

Once the theater lights have dimmed
and the viewers have been rendered numb 
by an oppressively long sequence of 

“The following preview has been
approved for appropriate audiences by the 
Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.,”

the Big Summer Blockbuster begins,
utterly garish in its overproduction,
and right away I'm wondering, 

Whose little 'masterpiece' was this, 
anyway? Where did this copy of a 
non-original come from? And who

was the coked-up overpaid producer 
that recycled these apparitions 
pissed into a headwind? 

They're like aimless, discontinued 
comic book characters firing 
blanks in a bad science fiction,

like old, discarded action figures  
dusted off, modernized and slapped 
on a billboard, cocked and loaded,

ready to save the nation from its #1 
enemy: running out of enemies to blame 
for our own collective impotence—

and the figures are dripping off, 
melting like wax, ruining the blank 
canvas and staining the sidewalk.

“Feature Presentation” my balls— 
I'm sitting through a cinematic circle jerk
with tired sight gags and terrible lines.  

    And it doesn't even fit.

It lacks grace, the armor's
too heavy, and I don't like
the smugness of it: the silly

helmet, the ray gun, the cheap
digital readout suggesting
that someone or something

is actually inside, standing
around like a dumb ghost,
cumbersome and useless,

fumbling in the space between 
Where and Nowhere.
It's an artificial psyche,

a price-tagged identity,
stimulus-response in a cold
metal box with noisy hinges.

    And it doesn't fucking fit.

Volunteer from the audience:
find a cutting torch and aim for 
the welds. Melt this damned thing

off of me, post-haste. Close the
theater. Destroy the reels. Jail the
producer. Demand a full refund.

And the next time someone tries to 
sell you another outdated hero, 
jail them too. Heroes are assholes.
A version of this poem originally appeared in Issue #6 of In-flight Literary Magazine 
published in January 2016 by the Paper Plane Pilots. Tell 'em I sent you.
Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Comic Book Characters

    • Thanks, I like your comparisons. The narrator of the poem is articulating his disgust not only with hero worship in general but the narcissistic desire to be seen as a hero. (Because, well, heroes are assholes.) Also, I’ve added the following stanza to focus more light on our slavish dependence on heroes and enemies, and one of the reasons why it exists:

      “like long-discarded action figures
      dusted off, modernized and slapped
      on a billboard, cocked and loaded,

      ready to save the nation from its #1
      enemy: running out of enemies to blame
      for our own collective impotence—”

      Liked by 2 people

Comment Section/Memory Hole

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s