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.

16 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!

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