10 February 2014

Tuesday Poem: The Memoirs of Dick Grayson by Sandi Sartorelli

The Memoirs of Dick Grayson

The best part was always after
I enjoyed fighting crime but the ride home with him
filled me with longing for our cave
until at last, the sight of Bruce with his tights
around his ankles made my patience wane.

No one can rock the robin like Bruce Wayne.
Holy Moly! And he’d hold me after,
gloat over The Joker’s demise, one arm tight
around my waist, a naked bat dressed in socks –
there are disadvantages to love in a cave.
Before the shivering progressed, I’d wrap him

in ermine. I wanted the limestone, just me and him
but he had obligations in Gotham City. Wayne
I’d say, maybe we could camp forever in our cave.
Have Alfred bring us casseroles and LPs. After
Bruce all for myself, it was a terrible sock
to my spirits to surrender him. Straight resolve, lips tight,

I’d help him suit up in his playboy guise. Tighten
his tie for his entrance into the mansion, to watch him
woo the socialites. I’d lean against the wall, a sock
in my Adam’s apple. My role was ward of the Wayne
family – I was just another accessory. And after
our loving, I should have been content, should have caved

to the demands of the part, but my heart was the concave
side of a spoon filled with his broth. My appetite
for him spilled over until I fondled his tux. After
all (I have this urge to justify) I only wanted him
to own me in public – the one thing neither Wayne
nor The Batman could ever give. My claim was a sock

to his image. Could’ve wrenched his shackles from the socket
that day, but he was no Dobby. We hung out in the cave
for the last time that evening, his fortunes beginning to wane
on the stock exchange, all because I’d believed myself entitled
to be his beau. I said a tender goodbye to him.
To this day I stroke the imprint of batwings, long after

his thoughts of me have waned, super-hero/billionaire personas tightly
locked in place and a new robin in the cave to warm his socks.
But Todd can’t adore him in the way I still do all this time after…

Sandi Sartorelli lives in the Hutt Valley and is a graduate of the Whitireia Creative Writing Programme. Her poetry has appeared in a number of publications including JAAM, Blackmail Press, Penduline Press, Renee's Wednesday Blog and Shenandoah. Recently, two of her poems were highly commended in the Caselberg Trust International Poetry Prize and the New Zealand Poetry Society Competition.

For my first Tuesday Poem of the year I've chose this poem by Sandi Sartorelli, which was included in JAAM 31. When I first read it I was taken by the alternative story it presents of Batman and Robin, and the tenderness and longing and sadness. It was only on my second reading that I noticed the very tight form of the poem, which is a sestina. All those gorgeous repeating words, except sometimes the poet playfully alters the words a little - eg: tights/tight/appetite/entitled/tightly. And using different meanings for the same word. Possibly the only thing that never changes is 'him', which always refers to the adored Batman/Bruce Wayne. It all adds up to a very satisfying poem, which is enhanced by its form, not overwhelmed.

Speaking of form, if you're interested in poetic forms you might be interested to see what Sonia Johnson, an NZ poet at large in Iowa, is up to. She's writing a poem in a different form every week, and is blogging it on A Formal Year.

And for more poems, not necessarily formal, check out the Tuesday Poem blog over here: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.co.nz/.

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