Gothamiad (4)

By: Chad Parmenter
November 3, 2011

Batman in Mr. Freeze’s Glacierworks

From the time of his first appearance in 1958
onward, Mr. Freeze was portrayed as one of the
many “joke” villains (see also Killer Moth), cast
as stock enemies of Batman. Originally called
Mr. Zero, the producers of the 1960’s Batman
television series called him Mr. Freeze....

               — wikipedia

I see Freeze, half-erased by frothing breath, 
Holding a Golden Age Detective, glove
shivering, see his whisper crystallize
in the air. 

               “Zero, you filled a cold spell
          in comic books with cosmic jokes
          against yourself. Your ice crimes
          ran to slush at Batman’s touch.”  

I have to set him straight: Mr. Freeze, 
like an ice cube tray, Zero gave you shape. 
That Frigidaire model supersuit 
that holds you frozen in human form was his. 
That skull-scale snowglobe that holds your head —
blown in the forge where he became vapor. 

               “But my story runs out of a more
          bitter winter. My wife, icicle,
          shines in a cryogenic style
          of night, frozen so close to rapture

by cancer.” Freeze, forget your style, wife, night.
Soon, your cronies will ride in on their polar bears
to collect sawblades shaped like snowflakes,
to open showcases at the Lifelong
Companion Diamond Exchange, 
icing on tonight’s heist. 

When I’m running you down there, turn. 
Reach for the back of my mask. 
By the cold of your hand flashing past my face,
I’ll know I have one. Steal its body heat. 
No need to fear it warming you to death. 
You’re not real. 

***

In the spirit of our Epic Wins series, Chad Parmenter’s cycle of Batman poems will be appearing through the week. Image via the State Library of New South Wales on Flickr.

EPIC WINS: SERIES INTRO by Matthew Battles | THE ILIAD (1.408-415) by Flourish Klink | THE KALEVALA (3.1-278) by James Parker | THE ARGONAUTICA (2.815-834) by Joshua Glenn | THE ILIAD by Stephen Burt | THE MYTH OF THE ELK by Matthew Battles | GOTHAMIAD by Chad Parmenter

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