Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Superlife - Kelly Tsai

Superlife - Kelly Tsai
for Joe Kelly

we talk shop

about Peter Parker
Superman Galactus
Silver Surfer Justice
League Wonder Woman
Wolverine Kitty Green Lantern

Joe lays out
every character conflict:

power vs. responsibility
good vs. evil
god vs. man
alien vs. human
nature vs. nurture

I look out the window
onto Washington Square Park

buzzing in the summertime

the sounds of drums jam
water claps on stone chess
pieces smack down under old
men’s elbows

we speak of the

extraordinarily rich
extraordinarily poor

those orphaned or abandoned
bitten by the radio-active or chemical
those descended from the gods

each with a haunting indelible secret

a colossal regret near to implosion:

how does it feel to be the squeeze
inside Superman’s fist?

the point where plates of armor slide
over Bruce Wayne’s chest?

how does the pinch between Wonder Woman’s
shoulders tighten as she flings her tiara?

how do Peter Parker’s fingers sound
as he swabs the ducts of his costume?

how does it feel to be
mutant and so precisely ironed
to justice –-
so evenly
good or evil

until you are kidnapped
drowned in poison gas,

brains fried by electrodes
strapped to your quaking temples

until you are forced to be


of who you are and who
you were meant to become

so we seek
the heroes among us

never fully healed

always impetuous -- hot-headed --
and horrifically strong

anxious for one touch
one clue of when to be called

out of safety and monotony

into the danger that feels most
free anyway

to put our lives on the line
and know that we hope to save the planet
each and every time
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