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Ode to Azrael And a World Completely Changed

The Legend of The Bat looms big in my head, even though I started out as a Marvel Comics guy, when Frank Miller's industry-changing Dark Knight Returns graphic novel came out in 1986, I held my nose and switched to DC and followed a number of Batman titles—few of which made a bigger impression on me than the one of Azrael of The Order of St. Dumas who went into fugue states to make gadgets. It's how poetry works with me.

Exploring the Mythical White Knight in a World Completely Changed

By Michael Levin

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

There was a superhero, or perhaps an anti-hero, in the Batman comic books when the venom-throbbing mobster Bane first appeared and broke Batman’s back. Azrael was the not-so heir-apparent to the mantle of the Bat, which really pissed off Robin (before he was cool) who thought he was a shoe-in to be tapped to cover for his mentor, so he stomped off to be Nightwing. But I digress.

Azrael was a knight of the Order of Saint Dumas, and he was a bit of a zealot. His thing was after a night out on the town of Gotham fighting crime in his fancy neo-bat armor, he would return to the batcave and go into a fugue state where he would crank out the exact right high-tech gadgets for the next night’s adventure, giving him precisely what he needed so as to not repeat the same mistakes.

Fugue states are an altered state of consciousness where you’re awake, but your subconscious takes over. They’re a totally real thing. The purpose of this journal is to get me into that state.

So as you might imagine, I loved and related to this story, because that’s exactly how poetry works for me. Not like all stuff, but poetry for sure. I do not write in verse quite so much as I wake up to find the verse asserting itself. In a way, having to go have a place to do my Azrael gadget-making is the origin story of this YAMLchop journaling system.

This little ditty for example I found needing to be freed from my head and actualized this morning. Being superhero related, and my having just been in the Gotham office, uh I mean the Manhattan office, for the first time in years, I thought I’d tell the comic-book backstory of this journaling system and my poetry.

Vocation of the Mythical White Knight

When a founder makes a promise
And it turns out quite inflated
There’s a reckoning a coming
Though it could be quite belated
Because exits, angels holler,
Aren’t nearly what they need
Merely pennies on the dollar
Couldn’t satisfy their greed.

So they make an invitation
That is written without sight
Meant to conjure the vocation
Of the mythical white knight
Who then gallops to rescue
For the mission he is born
Waving banners buzzing askew
A big purple unicorn.

And the cheers are heard to echo
Through the halls in great elation
Patting backs they took the reco
To swap out that affectation
Without slightest thought around
Of how totally deranged
Abhorrent battle cries sound
In a world completely changed.

Copyright (c) 2023, Mike Levin, SEO in NYC

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