Issue #1: "Secret Origins"
Country house. Old. Gray. Almost a shanty.
Short and rotund, the mother works in small herb garden.
Her skin is dark. Her hair in a pony tail. Her hands dirty.
It is Mother's Day. Her son is not at home
when the blood vessel in her head falls in
on itself. She comes in from the garden, manages
to reach the marriage bed that gave her three children--
children who exist somewhere far, far away.
She falls asleep, smiling-not knowing that she is smiling.
Through the night, her dreams are wet, red clouds.
The next day her son comes to visit, to talk of himself,
like a child, to unearth his old comic books
forgotten in this boyhood museum called home. Frail,
yellowing, slightly decaying, they have not stopped waiting
for him. Silver Age X-Men, Golden Age Flash, Bronze Age
this and that, high quality issues of Captain America-
Joe Simon autographed the one far, far in the back
of the collection. It is this one the young man loves most,
the one that cost so much. The seller said that it was
a matter of time before Simon would turn up dead,
and death always increases the value of common things.
Chewing the Bones of Teenage Love
In school together, she and I ain't talked.
I was the big, mean demon her old man
told her would hurt her deep. He said I'd stalk
and rape and kill her. "That's all his kind can
digest," I heard him tell her once. "They pick
the pretty flowers just to watch them die."
I stood on her front porch: a lummox-thick
and dumb and seventeen-and I just cried
because I knew, right then I knew, that all
the lineman muscles churning under my
shirt, all the boxing welts on my ribs, all
the sharp hellfire I toted round in my
they had killed me long ago. Killed us.
With half a chance, I'd grind her into dust.
City Lights Have Never Cared for Stars
With half a chance, I'd grind 'em all to dust.
It didn't matter, none at all, how big
they were, how many fights they'd won, how much
the crowd had wanted 'em to win. I'd dig
my mitts up into that thick, soft hunk of
red meat that nobody thinks to protect.
Right there, below the bottom rib. Some of
'em passed out from the pain. Blood and respect
go hand in hand in life. That's what I've learned.
It was my best friend, Biggers, who named me
"The Iron Man." At twenty-two it earned
me my first and last title fight. Round three.
Right cross. My nose explodes. Crowd smiles. Ref stares.
And Biggers, laughing, falls out of his chair.
Lucifer Walks Into a Church
Dressed as a Priest
(Interviewer's Notes: He swears this story is true.
Swears by God. And I believe him.)
What beast eats stars and still will pause to think
of you? The God of Lies; The Morning Star;
The Most Unclean; The Wicked One; The First
Betraying Heart (so many sweet, dark, hard
and beautiful remembered ways to hold
the one we curse inside our mouths). But what
a character, our Satan, what a rock
star! What a hero! Giving God the light
of Heaven, having balls enough to say
"I'd rather stand than kneel." Thank god that he
was there-our savior dressed in scales, a prince
with heart enough to bear our blame, our truth:
that garden wasn't meant for us. No snake
could ever teach this lust we have for fruit.