Sunday, July 11, 2010

Double Poem Post

The Silence Between Us

Sometimes I’ll wish upon a star, I will hope and dream,
That I would stop being afraid, that I would stop pretending everything’s ok.
I’ve been hurt too many times to believe that things could ever be different.
Why shouldn’t I just sit and be silent while things just pass me by?
It’s what I’m good at. I don’t like it but it’s true.
As much as I want things to be different, I can’t bear the guilt and shame
Of knowing I did something that caused you pain and grief.
I’m simply too afraid.
So I will just sit here in my empty silence and quietly hope
That you could see the way I wish things were.
Subtlety has never been my strong point,
So I keep my thoughts to myself.
My past experiences have taught me to expect things to not work out;
That eventually something will happen that causes irreparable damage,
And that it will be my fault.
I’ve been down this rod so many times that it’s all I know.

Here in my empty silence, I hide myself behind a variety of masks.
I hide my face, I hide my pain,
I hide my hopes and I hide my fears.
I hide the truth of what I’m really thinking,
Because how could you understand?
How could you ever feel about me the way I feel about you?
Would I even mean as much to you as you do to me?
It’s too much for me to hope for, sometimes.
I’ve taught myself to believe that I don’t deserve it;
That I’ve made too many mistakes for it to ever happen to me.

It’s the sparkles in your eyes, it’s the smile on your face,
And it’s the sound of your laughter that I just can’t turn away from.
I can’t explain how or why,
But there is something about them that captivates my attention.
I want to be the reason your eyes sparkle,
I want to be the one who puts a smile on your face,
And I want to be the one who makes you laugh.
I want to be the man you deserve to have and be with.
But I sit here and do nothing, and eventually you walk away,
And another opportunity quietly slips away.

I have only myself to blame. And I do.
I blame myself for all the hurt and pain I feel.
I tell myself that it’s my fault; that it’s always been
And always will be my fault.
Because I’m afraid.
Afraid of repeating a past mistake,
Afraid of feeling hurt, broken and alone.
Afraid of doing something to cause you pain.

If I broke my silence, what would I say?
How would I start and what would I do?
What would you say, and what would you do?
Would you be accepting of who I am and what I’ve done,
Or would you throw it all in my face and laugh
While I feel myself shatter into a thousand pieces?
Would you see the kind of person I’m trying to be?
I know I’m not perfect by any means.
I’m beaten, battered and scarred.

And what about you?
I wonder about that too.
Do you catch me stealing glances in your direction?
I don’t mean to stare.
Do you see me making an excuse to ‘run into you’ a lot?
I’m trying to be inconspicuous about it.
Do you look at me when I turn away,
And wish I would talk to you already?
I’m just trying to find the right words to say.
And when you leave, does it hurt you to walk away,
As much as it hurts me to see you go?

There are so many things we leave unsaid,
So many things we’re afraid to voice.
We’re all afraid of being hurt; afraid of being alone;
Afraid of the pain that comes with a broken heart.
We’re afraid of not being loved by someone
Even though they know the worst thing about us,
The thing we’re most ashamed of.
We hide so many things from each other so often,
That soon all we can hear is the sound of the silence between us.

* * * * *

I Want To Let You Know

I’ve spent so much of my time building up my defenses,
protecting and guarding my heart.
I’ve tried to cover up the wounds, from all the times I’ve been hurt.
I’ve tried to conceal the truth, of the mistakes I’ve made.
I’ve avoided speaking out, about the pain I’ve caused.

I’ve spent so much of my time hiding behind a variety of masks,
keeping the truth of my thoughts and emotions deep inside.
I cannot look into your eyes, because I am afraid.
I cannot let my guard down, because I am scared.
I cannot let you know, because I am frightened.

I’ve spent so much of my time trying not to repeat my mistakes,
so that no one would be hurt because of me.
By doing so, I hurt you anyway.
By doing so, I make myself suffer.
By doing so, I cause the very thing I try to avoid.

I spend so much time trying to understand what I feel,
that I miss the opportunities to speak up and tell you.
I want to tell you, but maybe it’s not the right time.
I want to speak up, but maybe I won’t be able to find the words I want to say.
I want to let you know, but maybe you don’t feel the same way.

I want to break down these walls I’ve built, and let you inside.
I want to stop this charade, and show you who I really am.
I want to stop focusing on the past, and not be afraid to take a risk.
I want it to not be too late to speak my mind, even if my voice shakes.
I want to let you know, but I’m just not used to saying what I feel.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Knight In Battered Armor - Honorary Member Profile, July 2010: Bruce Wayne/Batman

We first see Bruce Wayne as a young child living on his parents’ estate in Gotham City. He developed a fear of bats at a young age when one day, while playing on his family’s property with his friend Rachel Dawes, Bruce fell down a dried-up well, breaking his arm. As he waited for help to come, a colony of bats flew out of a nearby tunnel. In the enclosed area, there was little Bruce could do to avoid the creatures, except cover his face with his arms.

Some time after this occurred, Bruce and his parents attended an opera. One scene featured a number of performers dressed as bats. This caused Bruce’s fear to surface and he asked his father if they could leave. Bruce and his parents left the opera and began walking down a dimly lit street. They did not get far before being confronted by bum named Joe Chill. Raising a small pistol, Joe Chill forced Bruce’s father to give up his wallet, and then demanded that the pearls Bruce’s mother was wearing also be given to him. Bruce’s mother refused, and in the ensuing scuffle, Joe Chill shot both of Bruce’s parents, killing them. As his parents’ murderer fled the scene, Bruce stood over his parents’ body, crying.

Years later, Bruce, now an adult, returned to Gotham City from Princeton University to find that his parents’ killer, Joe Chill, was going to receive a suspended sentence in exchange for testifying against crime boss Carmine Falcone. Bruce was intent on murdering Chill after the hearing, however, one of Falcone’s assassins killed Chill before Bruce could do anything. After a brief meeting with Falcone later that evening, Bruce decided to travel around the world and learn the ways of the criminal underworld, eventually becoming a criminal himself and getting arrested.

One day, after a brawl with several inmates, Bruce was taken to a cell where he was met by a man calling himself ‘Ducard.’ Ducard offers Bruce a chance to escape the life of a criminal. If he’s interested, he (Bruce) must find a specific blue flower and bring it to the top of a nearby mountain. The next day, Bruce is released from prison, finds the flower, and makes the long trek up the mountain to where Ducard is waiting. There, he enters into training to join a secret organization called The League of Shadows, led by a man named Ra’s Al Ghul.

Upon completion of his training, Bruce is given a task: to lead the League to Gotham City and destroy it. Ra’s and Ducard believe that Gotham is beyond saving, but Bruce believes otherwise. In the ensuing battle, Ra’s is killed, and Bruce escapes with an unconscious Ducard.

Bruce returns to Gotham City, where he finds that Falcone’s crime syndicate has practically taken over the city. He enlists the help of Lucius Fox, a former board member of Wayne Enterprises, and Sergeant Jim Gordon, one of the few honest police officers in the city, in his effort to fight back. Lucius helps Bruce to acquire a prototype armored car and an armored suit to take on the identity of Batman. Learning of an impending drug shipment that night, Bruce intercepts it and captures crime boss Carmine Falcone. Later, he saves Rachel Dawes, his childhood friend and assistant DA, from an attempted assassination and provides her with evidence capable of indicting Falcone.

While investigating an apartment that had been used as a staging point for processing the smuggled drugs, Batman runs into Crane, who does him with a powerful hallucinogenic toxin. Batman is soon rescued by Alfred, butler at Wayne Manor, who enlists Fox’s help in developing an anti-toxin.

Soon after this, Crane summons Rachel Dawes to Arkham, where he shows her that the fear-inducing toxin (same that he used on Falcone and Batman) has been introduced into Gotham’s water supply for weeks, and then infects her as she tries to escape. Batman rescues her and takes her to the Batcave, where he treats her with the anti-toxin. He gives her two vials of the anti-toxin to take with her: one for Jim Gordon, the other for mass production.

That same night, at Bruce’s birthday celebration, he is confronted by Ducard, who reveals his true identity as the real Ra’s Al Ghul and announces that he has arrived to personally oversee the destruction of Gotham City, conspiring with Crane to infect Gotham’s water supply with the toxin, later vaporizing it with a device stolen from Wayne Enterprises.

Bruce gets his guests to leave by acting drunk and belligerent, then fights Ra’s while the League of Shadows sets fire to Wayne Manor. At the same time, Ra’s men release the inmates of Arkham Asylum and release the toxin into the air.

After escaping the blaze at Wayne Manor with help from Alfred, Bruce makes his way to Arkham Asylum, where the released inmates are causing mayhem and chaos, amplified by the toxin in the air. He rescues Rachel Dawes, who delivered the antidote to Gordon and also managed to ward off Crane, now calling himself the “Scarecrow”, with a taser, and reveals his identity before going after Ra’s.

Batman has Gordon drive the Batmobile to Wayne Tower, the central hub of both the subway and the water supply for the entire city. Ra’s boards the train, has the stolen water vaporizer loaded on, and sends it traveling to Wayne Tower, where it will vaporize the city’s entire water supply and infect every citizen with the deadly toxin. As Batman battles Ra’s on board the train, Gordon reaches Wayne Tower and destroys the subway line. Batman manages to jam the train’s controls and escapes the train, leaving Ra’s to die as the train drives off the track and crash into Wayne Tower.

After this, Batman becomes a public hero. Bruce gains control of his company, fires Mr. Earle, the former CEO, and replaces him with Lucius Fox. Gordon, promoted to Lieutenant, reveals a Bat-signal, and mentions a newly surfaced criminal who leaves Joker playing cards at various crime scenes. Batman promises to look into it, and then disappears into the night.

Fast forward about 6-9 months.

Batman and Lieutenant Gordon are investigating a recent bank robbery committed by the Joker. They discuss including the new district attorney, Harvey Dent, into their plans to eradicate the mob. Wayne is not sure if Dent can be trusted, but when he later runs into Dent and Rachel Dawes at a restaurant, and after talking with Dent, he realizes Dent’s sincerity and offers to throw Dent a fundraiser.

Soon after, local mob bosses Sal Maroni, Gambol, and the Chechen meet with other gangsters to discuss Batman and Harvey Dent, who have been effectively targeting and shutting down the mob’s various operations. Lau, a Chinese mafia accountant, informs the group via videoconference that in an effort to preempt Gordon’s seizure of the mob’s funds and evade Dent’s jurisdiction, he has taken their money and fled to Hong Kong. The Joker crashes the meeting and offers to eliminate Batman in exchange for half of the mob’s money, but is flatly refused. Gambol places a bounty on the Joker’s head, and not long after, the Joker kills Gambol and takes control of his men.

Batman travels to Hong Kong and captures Lau using a skyhook. He returns Lau to the Gotham police, where Lau makes a deal to testify against the mob. Using the information given by Lau, Gordon and Dent arrest the mob. The Joker retaliates by issuing an ultimatum to the citizens of Gotham City: unless Batman reveals his identity, people will die each day.

When Commissioner Loeb and Judge Surillo are murdered, the public blames Batman, leading to Wayne to decide to reveal his identity. At Loeb’s funeral, Gordon is shot and apparently killed when he foils an assassination attempt by the Joker on Mayor Garcia.

Before Bruce can reveal his identity as Batman, Dent holds a press conference in which he unsuccessfully attempts to persuade the public to not sell out Batman just because of a single terrorist. Accepting the public’s decision, Dent announces that he is Batman and is promptly arrested in an elaborate plan to draw the Joker out of hiding. The Joker ambushes the convoy, but Batman and Gordon (in disguise, having faked his own death at Loeb’s funeral) intervene and capture the Joker.

Later that evening, Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes disappear. Batman interrogates the Joker and discovers that Dent’s and Dawes’ police escorts were corrupt and have place the two in separate warehouses on opposite sides of the city(far enough that only one can be saved), each one rigged with explosives. While Batman goes off to save Rachel, and Gordon off to save Dent, the Joker uses a smuggled bomb to escape police custody with Lau.

Batman arrives at his destination and finds not Rachel Dawes, but Harvey Dent. He successfully pulls Dent out of the building before the bomb goes off, but the ensuing explosion severely disfigures Dent’s face. Gordon arrives at Dawes’ location just as the bomb timer reaches zero and detonates.

At the same time, Coleman Reese, a lawyer working as a consultant to Wayne Enterprises, deduces Batman’s identity and, after failing to blackmail the company, chooses to go public with his discovery. The Joker realizes that he defines himself through his struggle with Batman, and changes his mind about revealing Batman’s identity. He issues Gotham and ultimatum: Coleman Reese must die in one hour or a hospital will be blown up. After various attempts on Reese’s life are foiled, the Joker goes to Gotham General Hospital, where Dent is being treated, and convinces him to exact revenge of the people whose corruption led to Rachel’s death. The Joker destroys the building on his way out and escapes on a hijacked bus full of patients.

While Dent, now calling himself Two-Face, confronts Maroni and the corrupt cops one by one, flipping a coin to decide their fates, Batman searches for the Joker. The Joker, now in complete control of the mob in Gotham, announces to Gotham that anyone left within the city at nightfall will be subject to his rule. While roads out of the city are backed up, authorities begin evacuating people out by ferry, unaware that the Joker has placed explosives on two of the ferries: one with civilians, the other with convicts who were evacuated in order to prevent the Joker from releasing them. While the ferries cross the river, the engines suddenly stop and the bombs are discovered. The Joker announces to the people on both ferries that the only way to get themselves out of their predicament is to use trigger the bomb on the other ferry, otherwise both will be detonated at midnight.

Using sonar-based technology and cell phones throughout the city, Batman locates the Joker and the hostages from the hospital. Discovering that the hostages are disguised as the Joker’s men and vice versa, Batman is forced to attack both the Joker’s men and Gordon’s SWAT team in order to keep the real hostages safe.

Batman finds the Joker, and after a short fight, captures him, preventing him from destroying both ferries, whose occupants ultimately chose not to destroy each other. The Joker concedes that Batman is incorruptible, but notes that Dent was not, revealing that he has unleashed Dent upon an unsuspecting Gotham. Batman leaves the Joker for Gordon’s SWAT team and goes off in search of Dent.

At the remains of the building where Rachel was killed, Batman finds Dent holding Gordon and his family at gunpoint. Dent, using his signature coin, decides to judge the innocence of himself, Batman, and Gordon’s son, through three coin flips. First is Batman, who is shot in the stomach. Next is himself – heads up. But before the boy’s fate is determined, Batman, whose armor protected him from the bullet, tackles Dent and knocks them both over the side of the building. Gordon’s son is saved, but Batman and Dent fall to the ground below.

Batman, knowing that the citizens of Gotham will lose hope and morale if Dent’s murderous rampage was made public, convinces Gordon to hold him responsible for the killings that Dent committed, thereby protecting Dent’s “white knight” image and keeping the public’s faith in him intact. Batman flees the scene while Gordon and his son watch. We later see Gordon delivering Dent’s eulogy and smashing the Bat-signal on top of the MCU.

* * * * *

This ended up being much more detailed than I originally planned. I went through and tried to edit it down, but quickly realized that if I took anything out, then some things that Bruce Wayne/Batman did would not be adequately explained, and some people who read this would go “Well, how did such-and-such happen?” or “How did he know so-and-so between these two times?” or something like that.

Bruce Wayne took on the persona of Batman in order to fight the crime and corruption in Gotham City. He kept it up, even when things looked grim and despair threatened to creep in. After the Joker entered the scene things got more dangerous, both for the people in general and also Bruce personally. Case in point for that is when he was forced to choose to save either Harvey Dent or Rachel Dawes from a warehouse rigged with explosives, and went to what he thought was Rachel’s location, but found Dent there instead.

The next difficult choice to make was when Bruce discovered that the Joker’s men and the hostages from the hospital were disguised as each other and was forced to fight both the Joker’s men and Gordon’s SWAT team, the latter of which was unaware of the hostages’ unique situation.

Finally, Bruce’s third difficult decision was the choice to take upon himself the blame for the murder’s committed by Harvey Dent after being released from Gotham General Hospital by the Joker.

I chose Bruce Wayne/Batman for this month’s Honorary Member profile for a number of reasons. Mostly because of all the difficult choices he has been forced to make, most prominent of which is the decision to take the blame for the murders that were committed by Harvey Dent. There were times when the public was inspired by Batman, and there were times when they were scared and wanted him to reveal his identity. Choosing to keep up the fight through all of that had to have taken a great amount of courage. While some may not have completely understood his decisions, Bruce did what he felt was necessary; what he felt was right. Even when that meant being blamed for something that was not his fault.

Welcome to our ranks, Bruce. I salute you.

*AUTHOR'S NOTE: all information in this profile was taken from the films "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight". I chose to do this because I believe that very few of us, if any, have read any significant number of comic books and watched any of the many cartoon shows based on this character. Also, there is just way too much information to go through if I based this profile off of the comics and shows. Finally, most of us have seen the two most recent Batman films, and that is what we are familiar with.