Mudlark No. 58 (2015)

The Dark Knight, On His Day Off

As Bruce Wayne, he’s practicing kicks in the backyard.
Blue-black shadows fall on an oak he batters to let it out—
all that fury and frustration at being so unsuper and a hero.

He’s mindful there are paparazzi everywhere with cameras.
Eavesdropping on him. Spying. But he needs not to feel this.
Like he might want to take a life with one blow. Champions 

don’t behave like that. They kick old oaks until they’re sore.
Maintaining the opinion others are worthy—that’s the trick.
He recalls first battles. Against teens, really. Besting them 

on a fire escape. Having to worry and catch an offender 
as he went over. Ordering himself to reach for an ankle
and hold on. Which he did, lowering the sniveling kid

with a gentleness and concern the world shows no one. 
He remembers the wrath of bystanders, and answering.
Seventy-eight acts of assault in the first five weeks. No 

wonder the citizenry was slow to warm to his methods.
Schooled in morality and machine-gun fire, the noise
fists make stopping an aggressor in stride, so what

if he exists, in no small measure, because he’s rich.
Rich guys with a conscience just kick ass differently.
An iPhone ringtone—“The William Tell Overture”—

says Alfred has prepared dinner. One final roundhouse
before toweling off. Ah, the effort this is! Ah, the hours
needed to win (then win again) the designation Good!

He heads in the direction of a door. Wayne Manor.
Sure, he’s exhausted. Ready for a meal. A movie:
A young Marlon Brando standing up to a beating.

Roy Bentley | On the Difficulty of Pumping High-octane Gasoline
into a ’39 Buick Century without Spilling a Drop
Contents | Mudlark No. 58 (2015)