Yeah, You Are

I hear you’re lousy.
I hear you’re lazy.
I hear you’re pretty sleazy,
and amazingly easy to hate.
I hear that you’re horrible
at what you do.

I’ve been told
from a very young age
that everyone under the sun
has something
they can excel at.
Imagine, though,
if you were Michael Jordan
but were born long
before basketball even existed.
How sad would your fate have been then?

Perhaps that fate would be little different
than your current state:
deemed incompetent by any and all,

It’s not your fault
that your talents are undiscovered
or do not exist
in this current lifetime
with this species of human.

I’m sure you are appreciated,
for example,
by maggots.
They’re exactly the kind of creatures
that could see value
in what you do.

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Doctor Fate

The doctor says there’s hope,
there’s a future,
that something can be done.
He believes I can get better,
be cured,
and fix the sitch I’m stuck up in.
The doctor remains optimistic.

The doctor is telling me that
at the end of a long dark tunnel
there is some light,
barely visible,
begging to be reached.
The doctor thinks that, subsequently,
a long and winding road will also be involved,
but that after all that hard traveling,
there’s some health to be found.
The doctor believes we’ll get there
to wellness.

The doctor stated, imperially,
that it will not be easy.
That diet and therapy and rehabilitation,
all may be involved
– extensively –
for what feels like an eternity,
but that we can do it.
I can do it.
He is under the impression
that fate’s prognosis is positive.

The doctor is simply unwilling
to prescribe some damned dick pills.

Anyone got a second opinion?

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Autobiography of the B

I am not what they think I am,
neither as smart
or as experienced
nor quite so worldly wise.

I am not a hero.
I am not a vampire
nor a demon nor angel.
I am mortal
and messed up
and meek too often
and too little underfed.

I could use some underfeeding
right about now.
I am not brave or resolute
or at all prepared
and I am certainly no boy scout.

I try to be good
more than evil
and kind
more than careless.
I fail far too often.
I am not a fan of failing.

I like to talk about how I was conceived in Las Vegas
and my mother loves to deny that story
but who’re you gonna believe?
She was all drunk on complimentary wine back then
– and 60s weed.

I have never smoked up
but have had
a thousand contact highs.
Maybe you could stop toking up so much
around me?

I like comic books
and quirky comedies
and AntiFolk
– though don’t ask me what that is,
unless you’ve got a month to kill.
I talk at length
just a little.

I’m better than most
and annoyed by those who disagree
but far too modest to ever say that
– except in rhyme.
I rarely rhyme.

I like Two Boots
and I have a short attention span
and I like Two Boots.

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Light Spot

The corner misses you.
The light under the lamppost
upon which we would lean
casts no shadow
where you once stood.
Your space is empty now
and no one dares replace you.

Our old hangout
may still be somebody’s hangout
but not for anyone I now know.
The spot we would share
is completely free of our community.

The flyers from our days
are gone
and the City doesn’t let anyone
post anymore.
You are gone
and I am gone
and there is nothing left of us there
but the corner misses you
and so do I.

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Well, that story went south
right quick.
I wrote an alternate version
where everything works out
but you don’t want that
do you?
you prefer the tension,
the drama, the danger
in how I ended it at first,
don’t you?

You want the blood.
you want the danger.
You thrill in the drama.
You seek it out.

I can’t blame you for it:
you’re not alone.
There’s an army out there
who seeks only the suffering,
the misery,
the torture set upon heroes.

It’s not right.
It’s horrible
but what else are characters for
but to be beaten for your pleasure
and what does it matter
if the characters may be real?

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Faith Full

It’s not easy being the savior of the world.
The number of requests
coming in from an assortment of individuals
– a great number of whom
no longer believe in me
(almost all of which
failing to live by my word) –
is astronomical
and growing daily.

Sure there are real problems:
“Please save my village from flooding”
or “Let the Lightning Beasts
stop raping my grandchildren,”
but more and more of the prayers I hear
are of a smaller variety,
like “Let me make it through that yellow light”
and “Can my team FINALLY win the bout?”

It just gets so exhausting.
There’s only one of me
and my patience,
contrary to most claims,
is NOT infinite.
Neither is my capacity.

You know how many more of you
there are now,
and how many are whining to me
about petty-ass bullshit?
It’s not even only first worlders, either.
I got some people
who really should learn how to harvest their insects for nutritious meals and instead of asking for better crops for their kids,
they’re praying for a better ball
or to not get more AIDS?
Here’s a flash: there’s no more AIDS to get, Malcolm.
You’ve got it all.

It’s disheartening, I tell you.
My staff hasn’t grown much
despite the greater number of living
and subsequent greater number of dead.
My resources are limited.
I have too few assistants
and too few hours in a day.
You’d think I could make more
but it doesn’t really work that way.

If there’s a way,
you guys,
maybe you could lay off the prayers
for a couple of days?
Hours, maybe?
It would be sweet
to be able to catch a breath,
you know?
I’m sure I could handle
a few more millennia of this
if you give me a break.

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Change Came

I guess justice had its run.
I suppose righteousness and morals,
in vogue for a few years there,
are out of the picture
and now it’s time for something else.
Something stronger.
Something shifty.
Something dark.

It seems like tides are turning,
seasons are shifting,
and revolutions are underway.
Everything old is fresh again
and everything good
is gone.

They say change is good
And every dog has its day
and I hope that’s true
and that today’s mutt is happy
and comfortable
because tomorrow’s on its way.

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Where the Hell is Bill?

Bill Mantlo’s not dead
though his career sure is.
After the hit and run back in ninety one,
he cracked his head,
left less eloquent than the Hulk,
Bill wouldn’t be writing any more comics.
He’d been winding down for years,
working as a lawyer
– he couldn’t sue who’d hit him, though;
dude sped out, like Quicksilver.

Dig: this guy, Bill,
he was one of Marvel’s most prolific
in the seventies and the eighties.
At his height,
he was scripting eight titles a month.
"Deadline looming?
Call the Fill-In King.
Mantlo’s got ya covered."

He wrote Spidey and Skull,
Alpha Flight and Iron Man.
He collaborated on toy brand titles
like Rom and Micronauts.
Bill created Cloak & Dagger
and Rocket Raccoon
and was in on the first fucking limited series
Marvel ever put out.

And now Mantlo’s out of the business.
Brain trauma from decades ago
leaves it hard for Bill to speak a sentence
let along draft a direct market pitch.
He’s left the game
as he ages in a facility
somewhere by the water.

the thing about Mantlo?
He wasn’t very good.
He was a serviceable scripter at best
capable of stringing together some basic concepts
with a lot of lousy elocution.
When the Grim and Gritty Eighties gathered steam,
it was to sweep away old stuff
like Old Bill there.

It’s a shame:
Bill rots away.
Mantlo’s not the man he once was
and it’s a shame his many comics
are mostly forgotten
but it’s good that he’s gone.
His loss?

Our gain.
Bye, Bill.

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Asleep with Fishes

Fish speak to me as I dream.
They tell me truths I could never hear
with eyes wide open,
with mind wholly shut.

They swim with me
in the night, whispering wisdom
that could change my life
or all our lives
or the course of human history
if I listened.
If I remembered.

Dear god,
why can’t I remember?

Dreams are meant
to provide revelation
to unpack the day
and leave me prepared for the next.
They are meant to unspool the wires
so I may be less taut tomorrow,
but knowing what I taste in the night
how can I find meaning in the morning?

The fish teach me all
I could ever need to know
offering bubbling lessons
tickling my ears with truth.
If only I could chose to learn.

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Combat Sex

Here’s a funny story
and by that I mean
here’s a story.

This girl
– for the purpose of the story,
let’s call her Lisa –
she was sitting at the same bar I was
and we were both alone.
We got to talking and
went for a walk and,
long story short,
we end up in Beltanda
at war against the Constitutional Terrorist Consortium
until finally,
peace gets a chance,
and we find our way to the rebels’ HQ slash beach house
for a sensual weekend of sex combat.

It was chance that did it.
Lisa had walked into this bar she’d never seen,
a place I’d only visited a couple times myself.
We found each other
and made a series of dares
with increasingly raised stakes
until we saved a fictional nation
from itself
and found ourselves
in each other’s arms
for a good forty eight hours
and then a pretty bad additional three.

Words fail
when considering the opportunities
the universe affords.
Beauty abounds.
Funny, huh?

I wonder what happened to that girl,
let’s call her Lisa,
though she’s really Simone.

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