BATMAN

A favorite fantasy of mine, a guaranteed
endorphin rush to thrill the mind:
to wear a face not quite my own
to stalk alone the alleys of the night
to track down, set up, sight in, and then
with the burning cold precision
of the family torpedo, the jarhead ninja,
to squeeze off the silenced magic bullet
to splat some well-deserving scumbag's brain
to do the world a favor, and then
to softly slip back home again
to wipe the sweat and calm the trembling
to smile and say, "Hi, kids, I'm home,"
as though I'd spent the hour with a lover.

I know of a man, here in our town --
five times he has stood before the bar
on trial for rape.
The fifth one was a friend of mine, fifteen.
Two of the others were in the court
bouncing babies born of his prior aquittals.
Yet Jake the Snake, Old Double-tongue
got through to someone on the jury --
some even say they saw him wink --
and once again, the villain walked.
Since then another rape's been done,
not reported but in tearful confidence confessed
to another whom I know.
The rapist fits that man's description
and lives at his address.
This is not a job for Superman,
some putz who'll give him to the cops again.
This fucker needs to die.

But does he? Rape's no fun, I'm sure, but then
he didn't murder anyone, and barring mutilation,
the crime of rape is more insult than injury.
So is it for our social sense of outrage
that he deserves to die, and so fulfill
my fantasy to spill hot blood with moral sanction?
If I were caught, convicted of his murder,
and I were raped in jail -- like her subjected
to the predatory penis and the mocking laughter
-- would anyone object, outraged on my behalf?

Let's take another tack. I've got no problem
with the gangs or with their culture.
I am no racist. I'm a homeboy here myself.
But what do I do when the gangs decide
to make my race the villain in their play,
and they move to prey on the geefy old gringo
and on his children in the buses and the parks --
to be terrorized, vandalized, burglarized,
mugged, buggered, battered, and robbed
and the cops can do nothing
without appearing to discriminate?
Is this not a job for Batman?
Is there no point at which it is right
to take up my deadly tool of social surgery
to go forth into the alleys of the night
to defend myself from those who have made
themselves predatory racist vermin in my world?
And if there is such a point
where I may rightly go out sniping vatos,
is there something wrong with enjoying it?

I do not have an answer with which to end this toll.
I have no guage with which to measure
the stature of a soul.
Yet still I hunger deep at night
for the right to fill my lust for living blood.
Grateful also, and contrite,
I thank whatever grace or might
has kept my hand from taking the blood
of another's life
recently.


1995 by James Nathan Post