Poems of the Week

A Superhero Feels Superfluous (Or, Spider-Man As Contemplative Danish Prince)

by J.P. Celia

(Written on the occasion of yet another superhero movie)

He steps onto a ledge,
Unsure if he should leap
And consummate his pledge
To savage every creep
And criminal that mars
The peaceful status quo,
Then tallies up his scars,
Exhales and looks below.

He’s come to doubt the worth
Of uppercutting villains
Who plan to flood the earth
Or burgle multi-millions.
Such exploits are cosmetic.
They only treat the surface,
Which he finds antithetic
To his exalted purpose.

He wonders, what is badness?
What really hinders life?
Can’t he apportion gladness,
Not just disarm the knife
Of every goddamn mugger?
Can’t he become a savior,
Not just a costumed slugger
Who squelches misbehavior?

He longs to fight the ailments
That wreck the heart and mind,
Which are the true derailments
That mangle humankind.
Yet who has ever ended
The evil leagues within,
Who can’t be apprehended
Or powed! across the chin?

Is his vocation… worthless?
Or relegated to
Dumb, pointless battles versus
Man-Wolf and Kangaroo?
He straddles a projection,
His leggings loosely on,
Impaired by this reflection,
Suspicious of his brawn.