Poetry | March 01, 2003

Featuring the poems:

  • I Wonder
  • Princess
  • Superman’s Other Secret


I Wonder

Diana, like any other girl with new clothes, cannot wait to try them on!
                      -Wonder Woman #1

Question is, would I matter if I didn’t

tout these tits? If my legs weren’t, total,

seventy-two inches of eye candy?

And get a load of the getup….Well, if

it doesn’t get you up, you’re more than

mostly dead. Whitman said there is that lot

of me and all so luscious, but then he

didn’t have to hide the lot in a hanky.


Try fighting Hirohito in heels, Nazis

in a nightie, crazed crackheads with the wind

wolf-whistling up your crack. I defy

you guys to name just one super savior,

one with a prick, who lets it all hang out.

Sure, they leap about in longhandles, uber

Underoos, but even Underdog unzips

more than me before hiking a leg.


So, okay, definitely not a dog.

It could be worse. I could look like Lois,

maybe Hawkgirl after a turkey shoot.

But when I hear that other busty bombshell say

I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way, I have

to wonder, do alien androids really need

to know I have nipples? Does Wonder Man

buy Nair by the crate? Shanna the She-Devil,


does she worry over her pits? I don’t

suppose I’ve ever had another option.

It’s all about cleavage, and I don’t just mean

what I could do with an arrow and a dozen

ax-heads. To do what I do—saving you,

in this world that would, otherwise, have me

Amazon, Amazon only—to do it dirty,

hairy, in a jumper, to do it plumper


would beg the old joke. You know, the one

about that kid. Let’s say Tim. To save himself,

his town and the like, he had to stick his finger

in the dyke. She beat the shit out of him.




I wonder if I am getting jealous of my other self.
-Diana Prince


Princess? My eye. Leaving paradise, we all

want to believe we were more before, not less.

Yes, it might be easier not to dress

ourselves in wristlets, gown, the long fall


we once wore in another land, that last life….

Easier to go forward undiminished, believing

ourselves ever larger than we were, but the thing

is, we tend like rats to follow the fife


into the mountain, run up short against the wall,

look back and see what children we were, following

too, and want never to have left. Swallowing

what we’ve chosen is hard. No, better to call


back to that other self, say, Don’t leave town,

than admit you’re more a princess, now you have no crown.



To admit I’m more princess now that I’ve no crown

is to say that what I had was not what I remember,

to believe this life, success dressed as Wonder

Woman, preempts Paradise. W. W., that clown,


bests Prince, princess? I guess I’m just confused,

tired of being more choice than myself, better than what

I was, more Goddess less the gods. Not fat,

like Etta. Not pawn, dear Steve. But used,


used to win the prince, to trump this very Prince

that I’ve become. Yet who am I to hate what I have made?

To envy myself the ticker tape, accolade, parade?

Still, when I put on those tights, saved Steve from stints


in the stockade, from Poison—oh, the perils I could list—

why was it the lie he loved and not the lonely typist?



Why the lie? Was it love? The lonely

typist? I know Kent ducks such dramas

too, but by Hecate, for him it was only

two. Me? I’m a fucking trinity. Mama’s


girl. Heroine. Mouse. Why is it us,

women, always, stuck with messier mental houses?

Triplicate Girl? Huntress? Lightning Lass?

Oh, and then if we cross the abyss,


the dark divide between simple detective

and, well, marvel, there’s Marvel Girl, née

Jean Grey, a.k.a. Phoenix, a.k.a.

Dark Phoenix, later a whole host of prospective


relations, reincarnations…. Ever only almost one.

It’s always “we,” eternity. Virgin, mother, crone.



It’s always we. Three over infinity preside.

Virgin: she before the he is seen inside.

Mother: she because the her is just a ride.

Crone: me, when at last I let the one decide.


Of course I know it’s not that simple.

The world turns on more than just a dimple,

the crack in everything. But what of the wimple,

the chador, burqua? Aren’t they there to hide the ample


firstness of what men can never be? The West—

your madness, not mine—rewrote the best-

seller of all time, biology, to make us last.

Problem is, the penis is just a clitoris


with choler. You want us. You want what you’ve lost.

But everything you do divides the conquered by the cost.



Nothing that you do divides the conquered.

The cost, yes, makes us, me, crazy. I don’t want

to be all you suspect, everything you’ve

feared since you first crawled bawling from the haunt


you call cave, the origin you want to believe

was not your mother, but then at least a third

of what I am I owe to you. And that cave

me, that cave of me, what I name Word,


the beginning, what I dragged even Steve

Trevor to, hauling him from one origin, the sea,

to another, that me, that Paradise, I can’t leave.

It can’t be covered, broken as I am broken. See,


I guess in being three—me, less than me, and the me who,

in saving you, pulls you all free—I’m only two.



In saving you, pulling you all free—I’m only two.

I am the me who left Paradise to save it,

but also she who jealously watched her man covet

me, tart in tights. So, yes, two. Or one. You


know as well as I the history of the divine,

the need for opposition, enemies, hell,

self or other. Leviathan, Yahweh’s handyman.

Seth, Osiris’ brother. Inanna and Ereshkigal.


But these are only those who complement,

shadows, the big id tease. Gilgamesh, king of ease;

Enkidu, man of moss. Frigg, woman of omen;

Hel, liaison to loss. Huck and Jim. Thelma, Louise.


None of them are only one. Yet, their troubles, mine.

So much to do, love, save. So many schizos, so little time.



So much for love. I’ve saved so many—schizos

most of the time—but not myself. Me. One version

of those other doubles doubled over with guilt, bozos

built, like Wonder, on angst and alliteration.


Peter Parker, wimp, poisoned by a spider.

Matt Murdock, blinded by radioactive canister.

Bruce Banner, werewolf, green, wanderer

in the world. Dr. Don, lame, God of Thunder.


Susan Storm, Shiera Sanders, Greer Grant,

all broken, fractured, bent. Still, as strong

as Clark Kent. Best and worst of both worlds.

Can’t we all just…. Okay, you say, just get along


little princess. But I can’t. I left leaving when I left said

princess, my “I,” leaving Paradise. We both did.



Superman’s Other Secret

It’s strange, I suppose, to find myself spellbound,

in knots, as tongue-tied by her tossed locks

as the proverbial bad boy. Lassoed, trussed up

and forced to tell the truth under the influence

of that golden rope, doped. Lost in her main

means of defense, more shackled than she

by her mettle, those magic manacles. Unable

to dodge the bullets that, heartward, seem to hum.

Mostly, she avoids them. I just let them come.


I’m supposed to be taken, I know. Good guy,

steady as the morning star, faithful as that apple

pie Lois sometimes bakes me, a fine example….

But then there’s two of me, as many (more?) of her.

Smart, savvy, strong enough to beat all she can’t

bear. As beautiful as any stag she might have done

in, outrun, caught, antlers askance, standing

in the still. Goddess? Okay, demi, but born to shame

that lack of choice, Paradise, from which she sprang.


Woman of steel, mistress of the upper air,

she knows how each of us is always already

falling. Alone with her, I seem to understand

earth, its breath, better, the orgasm of ozone

that rushes out when she describes her own

flight. Even sitting—stratus, nimbostratus,

talking—I’ve watched her turn into it, dive,

ride it the way she does her stories, worries, cares.

The shape of the wind. What her world wears.


Me, I just point and leap, but not with her.

Some days I fear that I’m invisible as the plane

she doesn’t need, a spectacle in a suit, uptight,

upright, perhaps too. Or that, though our colors clash

the same, hers cut closer to the breast. Even weaknesses …

I fear mine are mine alone. No recurring villains,

no green rocks, a decided lack of chains. And though

we both could leap this difference, in fact much less,

there is a yaw yet, deep as regret, from farmboy to finesse.

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