Where Is Superman When You Need Him?

By JH

Where is Superman when you need him?
He could have swept through,
and stopped the police from giving that beating.
Used his superspeed to catch the bullets,
before they hit and stopped his breathing.
It’s messed up that people have died for the littlest reasons.

They needed him.
I believed in him.
But maybe next time he’ll show up,
before someone’s lip gets blown up.

Then the police can go back to eating donuts
and drinking coffee.
Then the rioters won’t riot,
and property damages won’t be so costly.
Trump can go back to talking about how tall the wall will be.

If Superman showed up sometimes,
imagine how easy the police’s jobs would be.
They could keep the shields, tear gas, and riot gear,
all locked away within the armory.

I could leave my home and wouldn’t have to worry,
about the police bringing harm to me,
unless he has to fly off
to figure out where Lex Luthor’s next bomb will be.

I just hope he’ll fly through
and be the superhero he is in the comic scenes.
Maybe then the Black man’s future
will be more promising.

40 Comments

  1. Bria Tolson on July 5, 2021 at 11:05 AM

    Hey JH, your poem really spoke to me. I know what it feels like to wish that someone or something can just come save you from a situation that you may not be able to handle on your own. I also know what it feels like for that person or thing to never show up and you just have to get through everything by yourself. Keep writing and hoping and maybe one day we’ll both get our real life “Superman”.

  2. Sarah on July 6, 2021 at 1:49 PM

    This poem is so touching – bittersweet and hopeful and inspiring all at once. The juxtaposition of Superman’s fictional universe (and all the supernatural and fantastical abilities that come with it) with the real, everyday violence and racism in our world is striking. But what’s even more powerful is that your ability to fantasize and dream even despite the abundance of hate and violence around us conveys the underlying hope and resilience. Sometimes when I’m feeling discouraged by the state of the world, I personally find it hard to imagine anything being better. And not being able to imagine a better future feels like giving up. For that reason I find your poem to be very empowering in its way. Thank you!

  3. Brittani Forman on July 13, 2021 at 6:21 PM

    Dear JH,
    I like that you used a common likable character/hero to get a message across. I particularly relate to the “police is harming me” line. Nice poem keep working. I like your work.

  4. Madison White on July 15, 2021 at 11:39 AM

    WOW! You deliver a timely and urgent political message in this poem that people need to hear! You use vivid imagery and a variety of cultural references that really draw the reader in. Your line “It’s messed up that people have died for the littlest reasons” succinctly sums up how so many of us feel as we watch the news and see police brutality happen every day. I found myself nodding along as I read through your poem because you wrote a political piece that reflects how unjust the “justice” system truly is, while also using very well done storytelling style. Your implementation of the Superman component is so well done! Your closing paragraph about how if Superman flies through then the Black man’s future could be more promising leaves your reader saying “wow” and makes your poem absolutely unforgettable. VERY well done!!!! I hope your poem gets spread around and helps people wake up and see the truth about police brutality and racism in the U.S. Thank you for sharing this- I’m sure it was not easy to write because it is a painful topic but we are fortunate to be able to hear this commentary.

  5. Justin Lambert on July 20, 2021 at 1:11 PM

    As someone who has been a comic book fanatic since a very young age, it definitely hurt to read this because Superman has always been someone that I have looked up to. I oftentimes look at the news and wonder how much of a better place the world would be if he actually existed. I keep hoping that one day I might look to the sky and see that red cape billowing in the wind, but then it’s right back to reality after that. If there is one things that gives me solace in the fact that he isn’t real, it is the fact that he lessons he has taught me about morality, perseverance and helping others in need are actually the most tangible things about him.

  6. Abby on July 28, 2021 at 12:16 AM

    I love how strong the questions you ask are. Your writing is beautiful and creative with a focused narrative. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Lily on August 3, 2021 at 11:42 AM

    I love this poem! It has such strong wording and flows extremely well.

  8. Editor on August 14, 2021 at 7:59 PM

    I like how this author writes with such ease. The verses seem to roll off the author’s tongue. Each line connects seamlessly to the next yet I don’t expect what will come next. I think the ease of writing paired with the very unique point of view of the author, which creates unexpected lines and connections is where the impact lies throughout this poem. I love the last line “will be more promising”. It’s such a powerful conclusion. I also felt like the parallel to superman made the poem like reading a comic or throw-back to childhood “story”. The poem toys with imagination, making a super heavy topic seem palatable, yet when you finish reading and view the whole picture you connect it with the heaviness of the subject and think “that’s messed up” which reinforces the fact that the author achieved what I assume was his purpose when writing this. Well done!

  9. Nate on August 16, 2021 at 9:46 AM

    This is an excellent poem, I think you present a unique perspective on racism and police violence in America. I hope that you continue to write poetry!

  10. Katie on August 16, 2021 at 9:48 AM

    JH, I think it’s beautiful that I can feel your frustration in your poetry. It must be so difficult to live as a Black man in a country that is constantly trying to suppress you. I often find myself pondering about ways to make the world a more just place so I relate to this poem from that perspective. I hope that the future you envision comes true in our time.

  11. Kate on August 19, 2021 at 10:22 AM

    This poem is incredibly personal and thought-provoking. I loved reading it even though it made me sad. I hope you continue to write because you definitely have a gift and, just as important, something to say.

  12. Erick on August 19, 2021 at 10:23 AM

    The impotence and frustration that you share feel truly powerful for the reader. The sense of a community’s vulnerability is clearly given, and puts the reader in an uncomfortable, yet awakening position that helps to empathize with the issue you talk about. Keep writing, I’m sure one day things will get better.

  13. Joy on August 19, 2021 at 10:26 AM

    This is beautiful. I think this shows the importance of why Black Lives Matter is such an important movement. Being Black should not make your more susceptible to police brutality and these issues like police brutality are the matter of life and death. The third stanza really resonated with me, how people of privilege are able to move on with their lives because they have never had to think about their white privilege and others are scared for their lives. I am an Asian American, and with all of the recent Anti-Asian hate crimes I have gotten only a glimpse of what Blacks have been having to cope with for years. It is difficult because these are all human rights issues, why are they political? Thank you for sharing your poem with the world and showing the importance of how society needs to change.

  14. Sophia on August 19, 2021 at 10:31 AM

    Wow. I found the parallel between Superman and the cops to be so strong. Growing up, I used to think that the cops were like real life Superman. Cops are “supposed” to swoop in and defeat the bad guys, yet they are the bad guys themselves, shedding light on the corruption within the legal bureaucracy and how the only place where pure good and heroism exists is in our daydreams about supernatural beings.

  15. Alex Waltman on August 19, 2021 at 10:47 AM

    I hope you find your superman.

  16. Mona Villesvik on September 20, 2021 at 3:04 PM

    JH, I loved this poem and how you combined the fictional character of Superman with real-life issues that we face on a daily basis. The words that you chose were powerful and showed your active imagination. It was easy for me to visualize all of what you wrote about it. Keep on writing!

  17. ahvuhnee on October 14, 2021 at 6:01 PM

    I loved the imagery and metaphor in this poem. Calling on superman is a desperation call because we don’t live in a world where superheroes can use their magical powers and super strength to fight off some horrible injustices. The last line is so poignant with referencing how a miracle of superman’s existence is the only means of a black man succeeding in this world… chilling. Great job.

  18. Sanjana on October 17, 2021 at 4:06 PM

    I really like the flow of your poem and your point/emotion really comes across. I also like how you refer to “Superman” as a source of hope for you.

  19. Anna on October 17, 2021 at 5:22 PM

    I love this poem! Each line connects seamlessly to the next. I think the ease of writing paired with the very unique point of view of the author is where the impact lies in this piece of poetry. The parallel to superman emphasizes how despite Superman representing justice and peace in America, this sentiment is only true in fictional comics. Superman does not exist, and justice is not easily achieved. The way the poem is written, it’s as if you are hoping that America can find their Superman.

  20. Dhara on October 17, 2021 at 6:21 PM

    Hi JH,
    Your poem definitely tells a story. I agree on everything you stated and love how you expressed it with such descriptive language. Having a Superhero in today’s society is something that would be very beneficial. Thank you for sharing this!

  21. Bhavin C Narotam on October 18, 2021 at 1:20 AM

    I love how you use a superhero everyone knows and address a very important issue in society. keep writing this is amazing!

  22. Divyaa Matta on October 18, 2021 at 10:25 PM

    This poem is truly touching. I understand how people associate the police with superheroes but during these times it can feel like they are the villains. The words you chose bring awareness to the corruption within the system itself. I appreciate you for sharing.

  23. Timothy Nicholson on October 27, 2021 at 8:46 AM

    JH, this is a very powerful poem. I understand that as a black person in America, you can feel helpless at times as so many terrible events happen out of no other intent except racism. I commend you for being vulnerable and writing about your feelings. Continue to challenge others and write about your experiences.

  24. ken on November 5, 2021 at 5:19 PM

    This poem was very well written! It was a very good thought process. You allowed your readers to go into a safe place and imagine what life would be if there were a superhero around. Keep up the good writing!!

  25. Julia on November 9, 2021 at 9:18 PM

    Hi JH,

    I loved the rhyme pattern in your poem and it creates a wonderful flow for the piece. I really resonated with your message and feeling of hopelessness in a world where the system was designed against you. It makes me wonder why so bad things happen to good people? I think you captured this doubt wonderfully within your poem and I would definitely encourage continuing your writing since it does an amazing job at getting us to question the system that we try to mold ourselves into; in reality shouldn’t the system be molding to us…
    Love your message and thank for sharing your craft.

  26. J on November 9, 2021 at 9:55 PM

    Hello JH,
    I love your poem. Your poem speaks to me in many ways. The flow of the poem is perfect as well. I wish there was a Superman who can save us from the worst situation. Keep writing poems!!

  27. Meg McTaggart on November 17, 2021 at 1:30 PM

    So painful to read. As a big comics fan, it is often hard to realize that there is no supernatural hero coming to our aid. We need to rely on the actions of regular people – legislators, rioters, people at NGOs, mothers, fathers, friends, teachers… to make the change. This is so hard because it would be much easier if there was one bad guy and one good guy and they fought it out. But I think when I lose hope, I remember those heroes I talked about – how my dad did so much so support everyone in his community even though he has super strength or powers, no money like Batman, no connections to everyone, but just his heart.

  28. Luke on November 18, 2021 at 4:20 PM

    JH, I was moved by this poem. Thank you for sharing your own experiences and highlighting injustices by including a common character like superman. I think this poem puts so many of the stories of racial injustice in the U.S. into a new context which helps us see how unfair the current system of policing is. This poem was extremely well-written, vulnerable, and drew an incredibly necessary between the reality of policing and what community safety *should* look like.

  29. Ezra on November 19, 2021 at 11:54 AM

    The closing lines are really impactful and deep. The absence of an all-powerful do-gooder really hits us with the stark reality that it is us ourselves who must enact the change and do better.

  30. siera on November 24, 2021 at 2:20 PM

    This piece is so well written. I love this poem it is really powerful and eye opening. The real word problems we struggle with today being mention yet bring in the character superman is what makes this writing so unique. This is amazing and one of my favorites.

  31. Francisco Salinas on December 6, 2021 at 11:39 PM

    Greetings, JH. I am a student from a class which engages in communities. I remember when I was a kid, how superheroes inspired me to do the right thing. They were a symbol of hope, power, justice. For me it was Spiderman. I always wanted to be blessed with a superpower, to enforce justice, to correct wrong-doings. To me your poem recaptured this experience. Sometimes it does feel as if there is no hope. Sometimes we just have to live on. But now I am feeling the sense that if we were all to do something about it, maybe there is hope for a better world. Superman is in all of us. All of his motivations, values, ideals. I can only hope we find that power together.

  32. Ella on December 7, 2021 at 5:22 PM

    I love your use of a fictional character within real life issues! As a reader a lot of thought was provokes because you stated the brutal realities of so many people in our country. I hope that more and more people read your poem and feel encouraged to try and create change like I was.

  33. Yusra Ali on December 13, 2021 at 2:55 PM

    Dear JH,
    After reading your poem, it feels like we somehow know each other even though we don’t. Also as a person of color, I also wonder what life would be with a superhero or a higher power helping out with injustices and problems we face. It would be so much easier for everyone and the safety of others would be secured. I really liked how you took something like a superhero and made such a powerful comparison. I found your poem to be powerful as you gave specific examples of how Superman could come and save the day. Things like police brutality or injustices wouldn’t even exist and equality for all would actually be a thing. During your poem, I like how you did a switch in your voice as a speaker. You went from sounding concerned or worrisome asking where Superman was to being hopeful that one day he’ll show up and leave a promising future for blacks. Overall, I really enjoyed your poem and felt like it was really powerful to read as the words spoke to me.

  34. Uwase Blessed on December 17, 2021 at 9:56 PM

    Hey JH,
    I love and appreciate your talent. You spoke so much to me about Police Brutality, Black Lives Matter in the most down to earth way. You made me see that with all the injustices going on, Black People need some sort of superhero for salvation, that can’t be it. We can’t wait for Superman now can we! Thank you for writing this.

  35. Roxanne on January 8, 2022 at 11:30 PM

    Dear JH, I love superheroes and like you, I wish they were real- especially during these hard times when they’re so needed. I think your poem speaks to a disappointment and helplessness we all feel when we see injustice carry on without stop or deterrence. You express your thoughts really creatively through use the Superman theme. The weight of the world’s problems feels even more heavy because we know that Superman won’t come to save us. The reality is we need to save ourselves and each other- it’s much harder but it’s the only real way. Your poem has depth! Best wishes, Roxanne

  36. Maddie on January 10, 2022 at 10:47 PM

    That was beautiful. You put into words what so many are feeling. I loved how you talked about how Superman would save us all. it was such an interesting take on what is currently going on in our country. But, it was super creative nonetheless.

  37. Robby on March 30, 2022 at 11:53 AM

    JH, this poem hit home for many souls in the surroundings. Comparing what superman would fix if he was real, implying we need a superman, but that superman has to be all of us. Fantastic work JH, such a powerful message you sent!!

  38. Brittani on May 3, 2022 at 2:19 PM

    Dear JH,
    This poem is beautiful. I love the flow and the structure. Keep working at it. It is quite powerful. Your word choice really helped paint a picture in my head. You truly have a talent and I hope you continue writing. Keep going.

  39. PA on May 13, 2022 at 6:30 PM

    Your words give me chills. I teach in an elementary school where this world without a superman is all too real. A school where the children love Superman, but have no idea this fictional characters won’t be there to save them from the horrors of police violence that plagues their community.

  40. Andrew F on May 25, 2022 at 9:27 PM

    JH,

    I appreciate the new approach to Superman and law enforcement. Usually Superman is aligned with the police against the bad guys. But the way you pose it, Superman actually protects you from the police. The messianic feel to this poem also strikes me, waiting for a magical being who protects the weak and never abuses his power.

    I also hope Superman shows up, but in the mean time will keep working to hold police accountable to us all.

Leave a Comment





This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The poets featured here are currently incarcerated, and many of them are in federal prisons far from home. Your feedback is a valuable source of motivation and connection to the outside community. Post your comments, feedback, and encouragement in the space below the poem. Messages will be passed on directly to the author. Comments may not appear immediately on the site, as our team processes them to mail to the poets.