tagNon-Erotic PoetryAn Ode To The Ninja Turtles

An Ode To The Ninja Turtles


As a child,
I wanted to be a teenage mutant ninja turtle

In the vast modern city of Zalifornia,
they follow their Master Splinter:
an aged man-sized rat
who wears a purple cloak,
and makes his way through their sewer lairs
with a gnarled walking staff

Each of these Reptilian warriors
wears a colored mask
and has a distinct personality.
Like counter-culture aliens,
they battle the masked, conformist foot-clan
with its various leaders and monsters...
depending on the comic book,
T.V. show, movie,
and stage of their very long mythic life

Their most revealing enemy is "The Brain,"
literally a giant animated intelligence organ
pink, wrinkled, fleshy and evil:
controlling a powerful servant robot
and also the whole foot-clan
with its hundreds of robot-men
led by the ruthless ninja Shredder,
who himself worships and obeys the technocratic Brain

Starting with comic books,
these mutant monsters came to life
in my early youth:
in the first primitive video games
in homes, arcades, and pizza parlours,
in cartoons,
action figures,
and a surprisingly artistic movie
(followed by bad sequels)

The original turtles were American warriors:
lean and mean reptillian "Dharma bums"
who bubbled bongs
during commercials,
were wild with enthusiasm for life:
surfing, pizza, and the ninja arts,
and protected capitalist Zalifornia
from the evil corporation that sought
to enslave and square it

With their growing success, however,
the foursome sprouted He-Man muscles
and ferocious G.I. Joe snarls:
the toy line reproduced like rabbits
and became formulaic and dull
(for the most part)

Still, I played with those plastic reptiles
into my early teens
(past when I could admit it,)
and they retained a place in my heart

Over the years,
I was surprised and pleased
to see them surviving:
retreating into the sewers
but returning to the toy aisles
(looking more like themselves)
every few years,
for new Zalifornian kids

Playing as a kid,
we each vied to be Donatello
because in the video games
he was the strongest,
and the back of the toy box
told me he was learned and philosophical

Now, a bohemian decade later,
I identify with the Raphael of the 1st movie
(once rebellious and defiant,
but now grizzled and semi-repentant)
I'm back with family and team,
fighting with the ferocious prowess
that comes only with harsh experience

Very like, this is part mythology,
but I am not a mutant ninja,
I do love pizza, discipline,
jokes, and video games that
let me express my warrior instincts
in a peaceful, modern way

Someday, I hope to be Master Splinter:
wise and revered,
benevolent, fun-loving,
and easily the Ninja superior
even of the powerful Shredder
with his vicious skills
and many-bladed samurai costume

But though my life's journey
has seen hard trials
and amazing happenings,
I have many miles to go
before I am a great ninja rat guru

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