Peter Parker’s Blues

peterparker

As a kid
I wanted to be you.
Swinging, from building to building,
across the cityscape,
sticking to walls
with velcroed hands and feet,

no fear of falling,
no Icarus complex
crippling your confidence
in upward mobility.
I wanted to be you
for super hero reasons,
went as far as trying to
get bit by spiders
that visited our apartment
in the summer.
I’d pray and pray
that the one which bit me
would be radioactive,
and superhero alchemy
the result.
Radioactive or un,
none of the spiders ever bit me,
they’d crawl up my arm
looking for the wall or floor
which I had stolen them from.

If I couldn’t become you,
then I’d pretend: I carried around
balls of string
in my pocket,
and would throw them out, as if webs,
spun from my wrists.
I wore a black sweatjacket
with a black hood pulled over my head,
half my face covered by
a black bandana.
On the right upper sleeve
of the sweatjacket was an
iron-on patch featuring
a shiny gray spider.
I’d go out at night,
patrolling my block,
making sure no criminal activity
threatened any of the residents,
who didn’t realize, it was me
they were depending on to keep
law and order.
Back then I was highly moral

—good was good, bad was bad—
and I knew where I,
the real-life Spider Man, stood
on these matters.

I grew up
and the lines, which I thought had
been so clearly drawn, dividing this and this,
that and that, disappeared,
along with the patch, sweatjacket,
bandana and balls of string.
I didn’t want
to be Spider Man anymore.
I read somewhere, when I was about 17,
that writers created their own moral universe,
and this became my new creed.
Morals were mutable, ambiguous,
good and bad were no longer enemies
but rather inbred siblings,
and my love for Spider Man
grew richer in dimension.

I no longer wanted to be you,
but as a writer, living in the city,
struggling to make ends meet,
I could relate.
I remembered how, once,
when Mrs. Muggins, your dour landlady,
was waiting for you to get home
(you were late on the rent yet again),
and you avoided her by
climbing into your apartment
through the skylight.
Due to my lack
of arachnid abilities
(and my lack of skylight)
I never avoided my landlady
in the same way,
but I had plenty of other
evasion techniques
up my sleeve.

You are a superhero,
I am a writer,
and though these two things
are not quite the same,
we both understand a world
split by alter-egoism
and hidden tensions.
I used to think being a superhero
was everything,
now I realize how much harder
it is to be Peter Parker
on a daily basis.
Spider Man is a way to transcend
Peter Parker’s blues,
whether intentionally,
or as a beneficial side-effect
of super-heroism.
It’s Peter Parker,
not Spider Man,
who pays the rent.
And when that suit
and mask come off at night,
it’s Peter Parker
who goes to bed
with what Spider Man
has done, or has failed to do.
These are Peter Parker’s
and not Spider Man’s blues.
When I was younger
I wanted to be Spider Man
so I could change the world
around me.
Now that I realize
the world is so much larger
then me, and my desires,
I want to let it all go
and write true poems about
Peter Parker’s blues,
as if they were my own.

 

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About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of two novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale and Raking the Dust, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at johnbiscello.blogspot.com. Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
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