Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Batman Open Mike submission. 

(Yes, I know it should be "Mic," but that looks bad in print.)

This is spoken word, and I decided to go ahead and identify the author (not sure if she wanted that):

Batman’s Soliloquy

3 AM and I’m tired as fuck,
perched on the edge of a building like always,
watching the dockworkers move lazily about,
sleepwalking, really,
dreaming in their minds of booze
and sex with their drowsy wives when they come home.
God, but I hate stakeouts.

3 AM and it seems like routine:
staring through binoculars for the ship to come in,
the ship that always comes, laden
with guns or drugs or something for me to bust –
a ship whose When and Where I got
the same old way: hanging some mook
from off a balcony, thirty stories up, and shake him
until he cries, wets his pants, and blabs.
When I do that some part of me wants
to drop him. The other part cries.
Another part just wants to go home.

Home not to the Bat Cave, but a warm bed –
bed, and the calm certainty of a boring meeting tomorrow,
eyeing the secretary to plan a quick lay –
but this never happens. I have pictures
of the dead parents I never got a chance to know
hanging all over my mansion. I can’t escape them.
I live in a world framed by their eyes.

It’s 3 AM and the ship arrives
and I go about my business. Knockout gas
downs the dockworkers temporarily –
half-dreaming of liquor and coitus become
full dreaming for now, the lucky bastards –
Now come the guards with guns, who
suspect (as they always do) that Something Is Up,
come wheeling blindly around corners of crates
and I introduce their faces effortlessly
to the bottoms of my feet. I sigh as they collapse
and go about looking for the One In Charge.
Mook told me who before he fainted.

Robin always loved this – “the thrill of the chase”
he called it – all full of hormones and testosterone
and too much energy. He tried to stop me once
from hitting a woman, a murderess who had offed
four people, one in their sleep, all with a letter opener…
“It isn’t right,” he complained, that look
on his face that I hated. “You’re the Dark Knight”
he tried to say. I stopped him with a glare.
Almost wish I hadn’t. Things changed
after Poison Ivy once impaled him
on a three-foot long thorn and laughed.
Took his body four weeks to recover. His mind
never did. I see him as Nightwing now,
flitting about the city, full of quiet anger
and no answers.
He reminds me too much of myself.

The Boss is on the ship – I scale the side,
needing the exercise to keep me awake,
and find machine guns waiting for me at the top.
Nice but unoriginal. Another smoke grenade.
The fog is full of shapes and I attack them all,
an approach that works all too well in the midnight world –
Boss is below decks. I hear him shouting
for backup, for help, his heavy footsteps
pounding the metal floors. Easy to follow.

Were I Superman I would lift the ship
up out of the water, peel back the top
like a can of soup, shake the offenders out
onto the dock. I would – were I he –
wag my finger at them, and it would be enough…
admonished by a god. The public would love it.
They love him well enough.
Even when he gets fucked up on red kryptonite
and tears up half Metropolis they adore him still,
their savior more times than they can count.
He’s a public man, he owns the day.
Went drinking with him once (damn Kryotonians
never seem to get drunk, nor get hangovers)
and asked him why he does what he does.
The fucker just shrugged and said he had to.
The man who can lift battleships clean
out of the water said he HAD to.
He doesn’t know the meaning of the word.
What he fights against now didn’t kill his planet,
didn't steal the lives of the parents he never knew.
Who has it better, I wondered once, the man
who doesn’t know why he does what he does
and is loved for it, or the man who knows only
too well and is merely feared?

Back to the boat (the one
that always comes): Boss, it seems,
has locked himself inside the engine room –
Fool. This is the Boat that Always Comes,
wouldn't he think I’d know the schematics?
I take him unaware. Battle is anticlimactic.
He is fat, and slow, and though he is armed he goes down quick,
two solid punches and he’s laid out cold –
bundles of cocaine hemorrhage white gold
from his pockets. He saw the end coming, at least.

Some time later, and the glow
of cops’ cherries from the docks –
they arrived right on time. Commissioner
knows me well, or well enough.
Four blocks away is the Batmobile,
and my body thinks its time to call it a night.
(nights for me are getting shorter, I notice,
and try not to think of what will happen
when I am too old for the night to accept)
I will go home and shower, and change,
and collapse into a wide bed with expensive sheets
and envy the dockworkers their wives, and their dreams.

-Annie Carlson

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