Look, up in the sky! Look what the culture is thinking of itself!
Two orphans are up against it, ladies and gentlemen. And aren’t we all
orphans in some way? Aren’t we all adopted? The illegal alien falls
to earth in a ball of fire. The wealthy child watches again and again
as his parents are murdered. We’ll stop there, as the rest is all about
newspapers and money, the ability to fly and the metaphor of only
falling. Night falls. Exterior. I’m three years old and I’m not allowed
to fly alone, so somehow the airline or someone in the family made
arrangements with a man to sit next to me, because it’s important
to have someone to sit next to you. The pilot gave me some pin-on
silver wings, because back then the cockpits were open, inviting places.
It was all right there, as if you could just sit down and say “go.”
And I flew to Kansas, to prove that people sometimes do go to Kansas,
though I had no say in the matter, as is the way with orphans.
So the dream is Superman, but the dream is Batman just as well,
though I’ve never really cared for either. I liked Spiderman a lot more,
another orphan, though I don’t remember his backstory. Something
traumatic,I guess, because to be a superhero, you have to be one
who’s working to avenge the past, to redeem yourself, or to prove
yourself worthy. Something like that. I forget the exact economy
of superheroes, having given them up early for cowboys, who are quiet
about the whole pain-to-performance thing, and who just want
a bit of land or some obscure unsaid, and are always strangers,
and backstories are for wusses anyway. The first known use
of the word wuss, by the way, was in 1976, and its origin is unknown,
an orphan word, though everyone immediately knew what it meant,
just as, in the end, there’s only this one movie playing, but many
screens. And each has only one person in the audience, you.
If you get up and walk out, you walk into the same theater anyway.
There are a lot of people who get lost this way, though I could
just as easily have said “found.” Just as easily, the switch,
like everyone else crying or clawing or dreaming to be born.
“My Memories of 2016 As Scathing Reviews of Batman vs Superman” was published in BOAAT in their January/February 2017 issue.
Look for new work from John Gallaher in TLR: Chemistry, the all-poetry issue, available now.