Bad Survivalist Poetry: “The Dark Knight Contemplates the Metaphysics of Pleasure” by Raza Ijaz

“You’ll leave me?” —Bruce to Alfred, The Dark Knight Rises

What is pleasure, I think, as I beat up this goon of Bane.
(I’ve been thinking a lot these days, as I beat people up, since Alfred kept his word and left).
Is pleasure
something I felt when I first started beating this deadbeat thug, when I punched
the first two teeth out and choked him to prevent him from shouting,
like shushing a lamb as I sharply smiled across its throat?
I throw him backfirst onto the dumpster silhouette, his teeth
are chalkmarks left everywhere on this blackboarded alley. They turned off the Bat-Signal hours
ago, and I’ve partook in my off-duty, once-a-week ritual, but

I find myself thinking, what now? What comes
after pleasure? Let me rephrase that: What comes
after you have physically peaked, tasted the limit of pleasure, and turned the other way?
Something tells me that if instead I
headbutt and crash right through that limit the next time it
won’t be pleasure at all that I find
lifting my ankles

and that’s funny, I think, because this corpse is re-inflating itself now
with life, sliding off of the dumpster silhouette, growing out more teeth for me to break
tonight, trying to put weight
onto its ankles.
The nose is shoved back with a crack, the shoulders rolled into their sockets, and protruding
vertebrae re-thumped into the spine.
Erect, it stands before me, used, renewed—never

Should this ritual resume then, after such a brief limpness? And can pleasure be experienced
to the same limit, in the same way, at the same pace
as the last time, (with the same wonder) as the first time
one experienced it, in the hopes of shattering that limit and finding more? I ask myself that

the way I asked myself this same question as a child
who used to ritually masturbate in the shower and stare
at the streaks of glazed sugar on his toes, as they disbanded into flecks of white
floating upon the dark tiles of memory
like his mother’s pearls,
scattering the last moments
of his mind.

Raza Ijaz is a writer based in Lahore, Pakistan. His poetry is forthcoming or has appeared in The Aleph Review, The Collidescope, Clade Song, and Rogue Agent.


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