A Rousing Discussion

Poems Constructed From Superhero Film Dialogue

Jean-Léon Gérôme, “Pollice Verso” (“With a Turned Thumb”), 1872.

Listening a long time to the exhortations of modern superheroes, I began to hear the murmur of an all-but-erotic expression concerning powerful men and the powerful tensions between them as they vie to control and damage each others’ bodies and ideologies. It’s only the most recent form of Western art’s long-held torch for male bodies—gods, demons and gladiators—achieving intimacy through struggle.

William-Adolphe Bourguereau, “Dante and Virgil in Hell,” 1850.

i walked away
from mankind.
from a century
of horrors.

but, the confidence!
i can feel
the righteousness

you could have
the power of
the gods!

i’ve had a god
in my brain.
i don’t recommend it.

god is tribal.
god takes sides.

Jean-Etienne Ramey, Theseus Fighting the Minotaur, 1826.

you want to know
how i got
these scars?

they are angelic
symbols, passed on
to mankind.

an animal who
dreamed he
was a man.

you are my
meteor, my
and terrible sword.

Gyula Benczúr, “Narcissus,” 1881.

the master
is traveling.

he will make you long
for something
as sweet
as pain —

in every way he
knows you fear.

i want you
on that roof.
eyes on

Nikolai Ge, “Achilles Lamenting the Death of Patroclus,” 1850.

i’ve sewn you
up, i’ve
set your
bones, but
i won’t

i think we’re
to do this

righting wrongs
for a ghost —

let’s find
the ghost

William Etty, “The Wrestlers,” 1840.

i don’t get a suit
of armor. i’m exposed,
like a nerve.

you crave

i was meant to be new.
i was meant to be beautiful.

i’ve been trying
to control you
since the day we met —

whatever tortures
fury could conjure
up, you would appear
as a friend,
as a balm —

is a political

Jean Broc, “The Death of Hyacinthos,” 1801.

i have seen the future,
captain. there are
no flags,

the world’s too big —

then i’ll make it small.


Title: Thor: The Dark World
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Thor: The Dark World
Captain America: The First Avenger
Thor: The Dark World
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
The Dark Knight
X2: X-Men United
X-Men: Origins – Wolverine
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Iron Man 3
The Avengers
The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Avengers
Avengers: Age of Ultron
X-Men: Days of Future Past
The Avengers
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Captain America: The First Avenger
Man of Steel

Four Tales for Dry Land

“Our father says that they’re just bodies. That there’s nothing interesting about bodies. They are just a vessel. It would be a mistake to love one.”