Gothamiad (3)
By: Chad Parmenter | Categories: Fiction, Poetry, Read-outs

Batman Vs. Osiris

               Osiris, turquoise as the bat suit
               once was, cut like Skeletor before
               that steroid scandal stormed 
                         Castle Greyskull, 
               eyes ice, mind mad, ride rad,
 
               doesn’t roll, no, he tsunamis 
               into Gotham on a monsoon
               of scarabs, his entourage posh —
                         undead headliners 
               like Pac, like the last crush you left,

               and shouldn’t have.  He takes 
               the stage.  No, he makes
               his own:  the skyline his headlight
                         eyes turn pyrite.  
               The smog tries to mummy him up, 

               but he pollutes the pollution.  
               Imagine what he does then.  I can’t.  

               Then death happens.  Then more.  
               Then gore.  

               Batman, batapult through the roof
               of the C-Note Casino.  
               Osiris is o-shining its players to death.  
               He does this uncool thing:  
               gleams a deep, sea-on-Venus amethyst, 
               and it burns through human skin
               like a curse, like birth 
               reversed, it player-hates their
               spirits away like Pat Boone 
               used to.  

               Each ka, little, shriveled soul,
               whispers like papyrus on papyrus
               as it rises into this tight night.

               I know you don’t know what to do.  
               I write an adze into your hand.
               You have no soul for him to kill.  

               So dice this Osiris, like Diddy did 
               “Kashmir,” but with these comic book
               sound effects, deader than Eliot’s:
   
                         SKAK     SKUKK     SLISH

               You do.  Blue goo is all you leave.  
               And me.  This has to be past finished.  
               But this is the myth Osiris lives:  

                         That Set dismembers him, 
                         and Isis turns bling-bright 
                         with deep grief, and its tragic
                         magic gives her this trick:  
                         stitching him back to life.  

               So she careens in, her needle gold bone,
               her thread of some pimp sinew hissing
               as it lashes him back to himself.

               Bats, you have no anchor here;
               you can’t not sink.  But flash that adze 
               again and again, and again, she’ll 
               Frankenstein her freak man back to life, 
               back to the battle you need him to be,
               and by “you,”
               I mean “I.”    

               But we can’t not try.  
               Quote some Auden at him.  
               “Poetry makes nothing happen.”  
               What a fun thought, but nothing 
               but nothing makes nothing happen.  
               I buried some Berryman badly
               in the last stanza.  
               Maybe he’ll zombie down here
               and eat this vampire punk’s brain.  

               But you go it alone, don’t you?  
               And none of these poets
               wrote what your blank look
               shows me you need:  

                         a simple, dumb
                         hymn to the sun.  
                         Remember now, how
                         it never left.  

                         And, chanting it, feel real
                         heat.  You do.  I do, too.  

               And in this abyss
               that was the high
               rollers’ paradise, 
               watch that hot light
               march, bleach away
               the meat market
               of bodies he made
               lay still.  It kills him
               because we can’t.  
               We’re not written to.  
               Now go home.  Then rest.  
               Then rise.  Then shine.  

                         ***

In the spirit of our Epic Wins series, Chad Parmenter’s cycle of Batman poems will be appearing through the week. Image from Cyark.org.

EPIC WINS: SERIES INTRO by Matthew Battles | THE ILIAD (1.408-415) by Flourish Klink | THE KALEVALA (3.1-278) by James Parker | THE ARGONAUTICA (2.815-834) by Joshua Glenn | THE ILIAD by Stephen Burt | THE MYTH OF THE ELK by Matthew Battles | GOTHAMIAD by Chad Parmenter

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Chad Parmenter received his Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Missouri, and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Luther College. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Harvard Review, and Black Warrior Review, where one won the Third Ever Poetry Contest.