Young Lex Arrives
in the Great State of Kansas
Papa keeps the old Russian label --
"Alexei Luther" -- but that won't do
for his son, who chooses
an American version
of their name instead.
"Lex Luthor", he is called.
Watch this new-world double-L rise
to address Smallville's town Council.
Listen to him seduce the assembled
citizens with Gain's not-empty promise:
-- My good people, you know of me:
I am the son of a businessman,
of a man in the business of rebuilding
the towns on the outskirts of the fields
where his men do their drilling.
My father comes from an old school,
one that has kept communities
in the old country intact,
that keeps peoples' bellies full
despite starvation all around them.
This salvation can be yours as well:
Give us your work, your toil
and our checks will set you free,
will break your chains of poverty.
Vote for this contract, my friends! Pull
Smallville out of the pit she's in,
pull her back from this Depression's
cruel and cutting edge.
With a flourishing gesture
of hand and arm and head, he closes,
saying, "Say 'Yes!,' my friends,"
and not one elector hedges
his or her bets: In unison
they all applaud the son,
the papers are signed, and,
ten days later, the drills begin
pressing into Smallville proper.
Luthor's men fix the old church too.
Its pews fill fast -- a few dollars
well spent will waken dormant faith
-- the flock flocks back the next Sunday,
is enervated by a Company-
approved meditation, after which it
floods out, penitent and replenished,
to work another week for him, and bread,
by which alone most men can too live.
Lex is pleased, but cannot forgive
his much praised father for stranding him
here with "these damnable farmers".
"Unkempt lot!," he thinks, "And me left standing
here every night with nothing but wheat
and my own drills and derricks for miles
and miles and miles around me. Nothing but wheat
and girls who, though they feel the heat
in my hungry glances, stay chaste --
they flirt, but I've no real chances
with them! -- and there's not half-a-brain
in the neighborhood even worth
the challenge of cheating;
nothing but bright, blinding,
bloody, damnable wheat!"
When he was but a lad, Papa had said,
"You were born to rule, my son."
He had believed the promise, then,
and been at Papa's beck and call
ever since. He had obeyed all
his father's orders, even that
to pick up his "lead feet" and march
south happily to meet the Heartland's
denizens, that middling sort, the dull
peasantry. Once there, he had engaged
their labors, and engaged himself
in their quaint local pleasantries
to the point of enraging his pride,
thinking all the while they'd be grateful
for all he had done to save
their starving province. They are,
but not to his satisfaction.
Nothing can ever suffice
for one such as he: neither wife
nor work will ever be
enough to ease his maudlin heart
or sate its dreams of glory.
Proof? He feels this all must be
someone's fault, then decides whose.
Hear him rave the plan he thinks will be
his treacherous path into History:
Papa! You've had it all so long.
It's not fair! It's not fair!
Power's been yours long enough,
so now...I dare! I'll dare to lure you
to your own fields of black gold --
I and my allies! -- dare to stuff
gunpowder down a dry well shaft myself
-- I can see the fear welling up
in your tearless eyes! --
I'll stuff it down the spout,
and before it blows, I'll get out,
I'll get out with savoir faire!
I dare! I'll dare seize all you hold,
all the stocks and bonds and men
and precious metal pure: I'll dare!
And who will care?
Who will care, now that Mama's not here
to be your protector and paramour?
Who will care? Who will care!
He looks out from the veranda
of the colonial mansion
his men built him on a hill
overlooking this his fiefdom,
his Smallville. Suddenly, all that
'bright, blinding, bloody, damnable wheat'
he sees waving to and fro every day
takes on a different cast to him.
He sees rivers of liquid gold
roaring toward and past him,
and the vision ends with him
riding their waves as they swerve.
God helps them that help themselves,
but not who helps himself
to another's bounty.
A man cannot serve
both God and Mammon.
He who raves
and will stoop to serve no-one
shall not be saved.
Still we pray for the maybe-damned,
for the vile, for all the warped betrayers,
we pray for the ravers and naysayers.
Have no doubt who, in all the contests
yet to come, shall best whom,
nor who be declared the winner.
But, still, pray for Lex Luthor.
Pray for one more poor deluded sinner.