Fortress of Solitude. Sunday, 2.35am
Okay World. I’m coming out. Are you ready?
I’m going to tell you a truth that the more astute of you may have already guessed, but will shock the rest of you. Are you sitting down? Do you need a tea? Or a Valium? Maybe pop a Val in your Darjeeling…
I can’t pretend anymore. I’m worn out. Maintaining the deception has robbed me of just about everything. All I have left is a single truth:
I AM NOT SUPERMAN.
There. I’ve said it. I am not Superman.
I don’t really have x-ray vision.
I’m sorry, grandkids, but I saw your dad walk up the path. (Saw him through the kitchen window.) That’s how I knew it was him when there was a knock at the door.
I can’t really see through things. I’m sorry, lovers, but, try as I might, I can’t see through the horror of Catholic abuse to the shining heart of love. I can’t love without looking over my shoulder, fearful that the devil (or Luthor) will appear; to find me out; to applaud me for the pleasure I feel.
Despite misappropriating a personal commitment to truth, justice and the sustainable way, l can’t see the way out of the mess we’re in. Things need to change – quickly. And, despite the Subaru, I’m not faster than the speeding bullets in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, US, France…
I can’t really fly. Not without Rex or Vietnam Airlines.
Sometimes, when I’d lie next to you in the very early morning, your lips moving in a silent discussion with a dream, but me awake and watching you, I’d imagine leaping into the dawn sky from the verandah of my shack under the cliffs.
I’d fly north, the etchings of a Bundjalung Dreamtime still discernible in the land below me, my flapping cape masking my tinnitus, my fist pushed forward into the warming air like a super protector.
I’d fly over the acid oceans, over the sinking islands, over the battlefields of the old world to the melting ice of the new. I’d see the planet is in danger. Superman is needed to restore truth, justice and a sustainable way to Metropolis.
I can’t do it. Despite the Superman buckle on my belt, despite my Superman watch (with both Eastern Standard and Krypton time), I’m not a super man. I’m not Kal-El from Krypton; I’m a boy from Gympie named after a saint who got stoned to death.
So, like a humbled reporter heavy with bad news, I fall back to earth, back to my shack, back to my bed – but you’re gone now.
I’m not super strong.
I can’t fight injustice. Lex Luthor, Rupert Murdoch, government, those Russian men in Thailand with young Thai girls, corporate jailers holding Indigenous people, Nauru prisons holding those seeking refuge, arms dealers, religious types, Greg Hunt, Monsanto, Santos, Santa and Big W… I can’t beat them. (I can barely get up in the morning.)
The real Superman would. He would leap tall corporations in a single bound, punch them to smithereens, tie them up at super speed with a magic rope he borrowed from Wonder Woman, and drop them at the EDO office door, ready for public prosecution and appropriate justice.
But I am not Superman. And Wonder Woman wandered off to find someone who is not a comic.
Luthor has control.
What can we do? I hear you say. (Actually, I don’t. The sound in my ears is not the hum of super hearing enhancement but the squeal of loss.)
I don’t know what to do. Maybe a glass of wine?
I am not Superman. So there. Now you know.