Batman: The Wrath by Tony Bedard

It’s a Batman story from the 80s! The Wrath is an obscure Batman villain who has an identical origin story, only its a cop who kills his (criminal) parents. This comic is kind of weird and delightful as only Batman stories can be. I finally read it because I’d renewed it 26 times from the library. That seemed like enough, so I decided to finally read it. It was an easier read than this James Baldwin book I’m trying to read for my book club. James Baldwin is an amazing writer, but he’s tough to read when kids are bouncing around the house.

Anyway, Batman: The Wrath. I have no idea why I checked it out. I probably read about it online somewhere or heard about it on some podcast. It was pretty good. The art definitely felt like 80s Batman art, but it works. They were definitely going for a grittier, edgier kind of thing. Maybe this was a deliberate Batman, house-style kind of thing?

Mother Panic: Under Her Skin (v2) by Jody Houser

I’m digging this alternate take on the Batman thing. Instead of rich, Gotham socialite Bruce Wayne dressing up like a bat and flitting around town, we’ve got rich, Gotham socialite Violet Paige dressing up in a stark, white outfit (it doesn’t seem to have an animal theme to it) and tromping around town. It’s super dark, but no more than many Batman stories I’ve read. I liked it well enough to read the second collection. It’s good to see an alternate take on the whole Gotham-city vigilante thing. I hope it is a nice long run. I dig some of the art a lot, some of the art a bit less, but the writing is solid.

If you like Batman, give it a go.

It’s part of Gerard Way’s DC Comics Young Animal imprint. I’ve been impressed with the stuff they’ve been doing, including Shade, the Changing Girl and a new Doom Patrol run.

Paper Girls (v. 3 & 4) by Brian K. Vaughan

(You really want to start with volume 1 with these.)

If you liked the show Stranger Things and you like time travel, changes are you’ll like this comic. It’s about four paper girls who end up traveling through time. Similar to the way that Saga deals with parenting and war, Paper Girls sort of explores themes of generational conflict and misunderstanding.

There’s a lot to like in these books and the art by Cliff Chiang is fantastic.

Memory XXXII

Memory XXXII

It’s not always so treacherous on the way down
But why does it hurt so now?
Fists of pain and hurt and cruelty?
It’s there again, but it’s not, oh it’s not.
Regret is for the old: the young must go on and on and on
beyond the firboughs and the cold and the soul-stripping.
Beware it! This is no time for regret!
No time for lost loves.
No time for fauning and mooning and drooling over that past time.
That mould time when wet mould crept all about
and many-fingered spiders crawled everywhere.

a spider:
my very own sleeping shirt on my very own chest:
and I stood weeping, sobbing, screechinginmyhead
a quivering wriggling nightmare spider in my beshirted hand
those many-legs sending drips of terror crawling
up up up my arm and piercing that beating carbuncle
that red-pumping terror:
I was too too too to crush it
and I was alone so alone all alone
and you were asleep while the terror
scraped the walls out of my mind}

These darknesses don’t go away;
these shadows don’t crawl back beneath their rocks.
I’ve played dice with them before now,
stared into their grim sighs,
while tiddlywinks and razortrout and stud.
But they win.
I will not play chess with them.


Thankfully, I don’t think regret is for the old either. Also, this poem gets at the origin story of my arachnophobia–now dulled. Twice, I’ve woken up with a spider crawling inside of my shirt. One time, it was particularly traumatizing. Somehow, I’m not as freaked out by spiders anymore. I wouldn’t say we’re chums, though.

And that’s the last of my Memory poems. It’s been interesting going back and rereading them. I was pretty unhappy, generally, and I’m grateful that, as tough as things are sometimes, I’m mostly pretty happy and satisfied with my life. Go figure. :) Mostly, I think, it comes down to me not tormenting myself as much.

Try to be kind to yourselves, friends.

Memory XXXI

Memory XXXI

like the herring on my trouser cuff,
I can swim the two-step down to the corner stoop
kick it!
and drowse there in the summer summer sun
with my eyes spinning in my head
those boogas lining up to sing their sweetly

how’s this go again?
this tune?
this rummy tune?
I’ve forgotten you see
and my dreams have run together into a sticky malaprop
my words, my saucy words, my flimsy words
my barrier words are breaking open
breaking down, over-run by these eyes
bursting through the front door
ravishing the country maid and barreling
burbling and bursting out the back
the country’s not as tame as it used to be
could be, the ducks have come home to roost
and to strew their dirty longings everywhere
their filthy desires
their muckraking swill

maybe the two-step’s not such a good idea after all


I like the idea of memories being like cracked eggs, with the yolks running out. At least, that’s what this makes me think of.

Memory XXX

Memory XXX

patience, patience, patience, have patience
my cronies, my comrades, my curmudgeonlies:
this caffeine haze is dimming the light of our perceptions
do you like what we discuss here? now? soon?
beware the fiend who howls at the birthing of the moon.
do you hate the gregious flaws? the errors? the missteps?
wouldn’t blame you if you did: my heartmates
this statue smells of eros, cinnamon and lye.
it’s not pretty, by most lights, but that’s the light we’ve got
words and words and words spike through my brain
down my tongue and across the aether, to slip
(miscommunicadoed, as though on purpose)
into the labyrinthine curls of your ears—
and such pretty ears they are: I could kiss them—
where they incandesce and then flare out:
the wincing platitudes and summertime small-talk
cavations and exvacations of those bright caverns of darkness.
dispassion and fortitude are our only allies here.

an anecdote:
Feelflight the Featherman begged me:
“A doubloon, if you would be so kind:
“unleash the wonders of the wicked verm.”
whether or not he did so, nevertheless, regardless
I gave him a bus token out of town,
so that he might fly along the dusty interstates
and roam the collard plains and see the torn and tragic…


The higher these numbers get, the less I remember anything about them. I do like Feelflight the Featherman, though. 



the boy’s knee-high socks are crushed about his ankles
he’s been crawling in drain-pipes again
tut-tut, what a naughty boy he’s been
why’s he twisting his fingers behind his back like a scared little thing?
little boy, little boy: you’d better behave
ratchet your paper-thin door shut against the goblins:
oh don’t you just see him jump!
the goblins gonna getcha, if you don’t behave.
when your windows rattle, those are ghosts:
rattling their slithering selves outside.
on full moons, they can slide right inside on moonbeams…
is it a full moon tonight? why! I just think it is…
ghost kisses will turn your face into nothing but wrinkles.
the darken sleeps under your bed at night, oh yes,
and when the sun goes down his alarm clock whistles.
he’s yawning and blinking when your nightlight comes on,
all ready to roam through the shadows in your room.
the darken likes perching on pillows, especially yours.
why? oh, well they have a weakness for towheaded boys.
and you, my lad, are a towheaded boy. yes. yes, you are.


Look, it’s clear I read too many fairy tales as a lad. 

The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch

(I had to check three times to make sure I spelled his name right.)

When I picked this up to read, I couldn’t remember why I’d checked it out from the library–I’d renewed it a bunch of times–and at first, I wasn’t sure if I’d like it. Sure, it has time travel (which I love, unreservedly) but it seemed to drift almost immediately into a crime procedural sort of thing (which I don’t love, even reservedly, usually). I’m glad I stuck with it, because this story got far weirder and more interesting than I had initially expected.

This book’s about as delightfully strange and creepy as only a good science fiction time travel story can be. I’d totally recommend it, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Memory XXVII

Memory XXVII
I am at a loss:
the future waves its infernal eternal
                     possibilities limitless
every       word       shattering       into       others
         all-things dangling colorfully in the stillness
courage fades away
shades of the past
        crawl over the earth
               stifling hope in its crib
stiff hair bristles on my chin
                    keep away from her
         haven’t you learned your lesson?
       apparently       not  well  enough
              twined sheets wrapt round
these skinny legs
      naked in the middle of the night
              naked in the middle of the street
                      shuffling to the music of the moon

I feel like PastMe came close to some interesting things, but then kind of fucked it up by bringing the personal into it. Also, copy/paste was not my friend here. Messed up the original spacing. Which, at this point, I sort of feel like is an attempt to distract from the weakness of this poem.