Waning Poetic

Holy pun, Batman!

By now it is very likely that you’ve seen The Dark Knight Rises and have heard scores of arguments about any given facet of the film. Don’t worry: this will not be another one. Most people who know me well have already been subjected to my alternating rants and gushings on all things related to the Caped Crusader. If you have missed out on such an honor, feel free to call me at two in the morning.

Instead, I thought I’d welcome you to a strange point where two of my favorite things meet.

Gotham Wanes

The mask? Because we were never ugly
enough. Because our ugliness was epic.
Because we were given to it, because
we were so misgiven. You wear one. I
wear one. Yes. Kings, Pharaohs had them
fabricated, poured out in gold and beaten.
Most wore them to the grave. In Mexico
the living wear them, not to scare the dead
away, but as invitation. They leave candy
on the mounds of those they mourn. New
Orleans? Women wear them in order
to bare everything else. Men wear them
in order to watch. I can remember, back
before it all grows grim, making one
out of the news, trying to paste it together.
I remember my mother helping me. I don’t
really remember my father. Something
like a face, like the man in the moon.
I understand we’re hardwired this way,
to make faces before anything else.
It’s why we see the Madonna in mold,
alien architecture in Martian crater creep.
We keep looking for those first faces, first
familia. Every culture, every eon. Witness
the oldest we know, his cave, his wall, one
hundred seventy centuries gone. They call
him Sorcerer. They call me Knight.
We have always lived in the dark.

-Bryan D. Dietrich

Featured the October 2011 issue of Poetry.


Batman, big shot, when you gave the order
to grow up, then let me loose to wander
leeward, freely through the wild blue yonder
as you like to say, or ditched me, rather,
in the gutter...well, I turned the corner.
Now I've scotched that 'he was like a father
to me' rumour, sacked it, blown the cover
on that 'he was like an elder brother'
story, let the cat out on that caper
with the married woman, how you took her
downtown on expenses in the motor.
Holy robin-redbreast-nest-egg-shocker!
Holy roll-me-over-in-the-clover,
I'm not playing ball boy any longer
Batman, now I've doffed that off-the-shoulder
Sherwood-Forest-green and scarlet number
for a pair of jeans and crew-neck jumper;
now I'm taller, harder, stronger, older.
Batman, it makes a marvellous picture:
you without a shadow, stewing over
chicken giblets in the pressure cooker,
next to nothing in the walk-in larder,
punching the palm of your hand all winter,
you baby, now I'm the real boy wonder.

-Simon Armitage

From his poetry collection of the same name, which I’m rereading right now.

I’ll leave the close reading to you, but here’s a video of Armitage reading it if you’re into that sort of thing:


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