Flammeus Gladius

Carmina et Verba pro Discipulis Meis

Tag: Kara

Prelude to a Defeat

Prelude to a Defeat



(for Regina Phelps)



I missed your birthday, Supergirl. The weight
of villainhood was heavy on me then.
A list of petty evils was my fate,
none of them such that you, bright citizen
of solar skies, would need to fight me. When
that list was done, another list ensued.
To drudgery I had to say amen.
I reined in an expansive attitude.
But now it’s time our battles were renewed.
I’m planning to destabilize the space
in which all words exist. I know it’s rude–
but I so want to see your earnest face!
You have to stop me, right? The same old story:
defeated, I shall gaze upon your glory.



–Tom Riley



(Second place, Napa Town & Country Fair, 2015.)

Cry to Heaven

Cry to Heaven

(for Regina Phelps)


To Supergirl I’m crying out.
Yes, if I whispered, she would hear:
Of that there can be little doubt;
Her wits transcend the stratosphere.
To her, the distant too is near
Enough – and she can fly there fast.
And, if my cry were just sincere,
My troubles would be quickly past.
Yet mortal subtleties are massed
Within me, and my ironies
Are intricate and triply vast.
Oh, something in me disagrees
With what is honest in my cry!
Supergirl doesn’t leave the sky.


–Tom Riley

Krypton Eye

Krypton Eye



(for Regina Phelps)



I’m looking through the pupil of an eye.

I am relieved: the eye’s not glowing red;

No bolt of energy is set to fly

In the direction of my balding head.

I see the green of Kryptonite instead:

The Supergirl within her eye contains

The very stuff of her defeat, I’m led

To reason with my evil mutant brains.

But to destroy her I’m not taking pains.

The darkness of that pupil is to me

A universe of life while it remains

Part of my villainous reality.

It renders me one helpless evil guy—

Though she and I do not see eye to eye.




–Tom Riley





(for Regina Phelps)



I’m sending you a super-Valentine.

What?  It’s your birthday, too?  That’s super-cool!

The tortured cerebration that is mine

Need never trouble you.  Your soul’s a pool

Of calm reflection.  You’re no super-fool—

But never need to let things get to you.

I shape my super-schemes – which, as a rule,

Are crazy.  Your responding screams are few.

No matter what my latest robots do,

Your super-strength and super-speed defeat

All of my plans.  You snicker at my crew

Of henchmen – and I snicker too, my sweet.

Your triumph gives me hope beyond despair.

It’s somehow comforting to know you’re there.




–Tom Riley

Mutual Admiration Society

Mutual Admiration Society



(for Regina Phelps)



Well, Supergirl and I aren’t really friends.

She’s good; I’m evil: that is our relation.

Faced with such contradictions, friendship ends.

Still, we do practice, both ways, admiration.

Her strength and courage win my adulation.

Viewing her flight, my heart can’t help but fly.

And her good looks elicit adoration

From me, a twisted, squat, and ugly guy.

She?  She admires the brain behind the eye

I fix her with – or so she’s often said

After she’s foiled a scheme supremely sly.

I think I’ve heard it every time I’ve fled

Her goddess-bright and overwhelming powers.

I meditate upon her words for hours….





–Tom Riley





(for Regina Phelps)



Hey, Supergirl, I recognized your face

The way that no one ever recognizes

Your cousin Clark’s.  It came to me like grace—

Or other bright, superior surprises.

We buy enlightenment in different sizes—

But, when it comes as gift, we have to take

The size we’re offered.  Seeing through disguises,

We’re stunned to soothe a constant inner ache.

Wow!  It was you!  My insight came awake:

That babe could crush your skull between two fingers!

Excitement vast enough to form a lake

Rained down on me – and some of it still lingers.

You don’t crush skulls, I know: you’re kind and good.

Still, it’s a thrill to recognize you could.



–Tom Riley







Nobody wants to mess with Superbrat—

And only Clark can really manage it.

She wants her little way in nothing flat.

Clark counsels patience: Kara throws a fit.

And Terran kids?  They make her want to spit.

She’s wary of their sheer fragility.

Into their little cliques she doesn’t fit.

Nobody, she complains, is friends with me!

Someday she’ll learn that no one’s flying free,

That cousin Clark, who’s always smiling wide,

Is laden with responsibility

From which not even Superspeed can hide.

With many fans, I’m waiting for the day.

Until then, I’ll stay out of Kara’s way.





–Tom Riley




Poor Supergirl

Poor Supergirl

(for Regina Phelps)

Poor Supergirl is busy constantly—

Fighting some mechanoid in Tokyo,

Hauling a helpless panther from a tree,

Teaching the edgy Flash to take things slow.

Folks need her help – and she just can’t say no,

Not to the conscience gnawing at her ease.

She does what’s right, not just what gives a show.

She aims to rectify, not just to please.

When she shows up, the supervillain flees—

Most of the time.  But, if he stands his ground,

That’s more time from her day.  Oh, Clark agrees:

Superhood doesn’t just thrill and astound!

Superhood can be trying and exhausting!

She’s super.  Keep in mind, fans, what it’s costing.

–Tom Riley