Poetry Writing Challenge #14: Batman in Harlem

Black associates of the Joker have kidnapped Batman and Robin and, at gunpoint, forced the Caped Crusaders to help aspiring rappers escape from the Hood. A yet to be famous musician called Gill Scott-Heron narrates the story.

The Adventures of Batman
The Adventures of Batman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Batman in Harlem.

Aspiring rappers nicknamed the Sharp Necks are clamoring to gain entry to the Story Avenue club.

I shall not stay awhile under this duress, says Batman.

Say, what’s up, Bruce, you don’t dig the jive in Harlem?

I’m late for an appointment with the Mayor of Gotham City, opines Batman.

Lights! Camera! Action!

De-ne-de-ne-de-ne-de-ne… BATMAN!

Okay, in today’s episode, you and

Robin spin the turntables forward and

retrograde mimicking the paths of planets.

Are you down with you that plan, B?

Batman says nothing.

He’s a superhero. KABOOM!

What’s our payoff ? POW!!


We are company that his soul can’t bear to keep. SPLAT!!!

Roll away the stone, put your smoke in the air. HOLY SMOKES BATMAN. Life

is waiting and we gonna peel outta the ghetto like apples falling far from the tree.  ZAP!!


Hey you poets with the gold teeth – wave your hands in the air.

I present to you: Robin and Batman. The original R n B!

The crowd go wild. Stamping. Clapping. Cheering. Whistling.

Radiant eyeballs spin like casino numbers.

Robin and Batman start rapping out a Percy Shelley tune.

Batman: “Watering his laurels with the killing tears/ Of slow, dull care, so that their roots to Hell might pierce…”

Robin: “He has hung upon his wiry limbs a dress like King Lear‘s…”

And then like the pint size/nice guy/ that he is Robin lapses into a reverie about Ancient Greece.

My name is Tiresias: I am the fire of desire and passion.

For seven years I lived as a woman. If I don’t slip back to the Bat cave tonight

there will be chaos in the comic world.

A Sharp Neck in the crowd shouts out…

Die to yesterday, Robin… yesterday was shit!”

Batman is getting itch feet and tries to calm the crowd by continuing with Shelley.

“A lady-witch there lived on Atlas’ mountain within a cavern, by a secret fountain.”

At which point, I interrupt Batman, and step up to the microphone — and say:

“Batman you are a complex figure, with a foot in each of many oppositions, mediating between gods and mankind, sleepwalkers and seers, present and future, Gotham City and the Harlem ghetto.

Drink deep before your ghost can see the future for himself.”

Upon my words

Batman slows to a pause.

The crowd hush up and stare.

Looking to and from, Batman and the Sharp Necks, I rap:

“Today the obstacles are translucent and, with your help,

we’ll achieve our dreams. Batman, I say to you:

As the Joker’s apprentice is my work finished for the evening?”


Day 14 of National Poetry Writing Month.

Today’s challenge is to write a persona poem — that is, a poem in the voice of a particular person who isn’t you.



3 thoughts on “Poetry Writing Challenge #14: Batman in Harlem

      1. Really liked it 🙂 I mean, if Gil Scott Heron hasn’t written about Batman before – this is pretty close! I love the idea of locating it, bringing the fantasy (closer) to reality 🙂

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