Heroes

Super Friends

It was on the first grade playground
And we’d play Justice League
At first I think it was this intense intrigue
I was drawn to her intelligence
And her ability to get the truth
Give me a magic lasso
And let Superman keep his booth
But that’s when I found out
That I did not have super friends
And there were some gender norms
That even a 7 year old could not bend
See, even when you play pretend
Little boys must be super-men
But Sarah and Katie could play
Green Lantern and Aquaman
A certain level of tom-boy
Was accepted for an aqua span
Fluid…
That is a period acceptable for each Sarah or Katie
Until that first period when she’s expected
To just wake up a lady
If that’s not crazy, I don’t know what is
A life of static expectation
Or overnight metamorphosis
And then I had mine.
But I’m getting ahead of myself…

I still wish I had Wonder Woman’s invisible plane
I’d jet back to that playground
And I’d retrace every ounce of pain
I’d tell that little boy who dressed up like a big girl
“It’s all going to be okay”
I’d tell him not to give any impetus away
To what others say
Not to carry the hurt on his back
From the repeated refrains of faggot
Still I’m glad it happened
Because I stand here today as an advocate
But who am i kidding?
Advocates persuade on behalf of “others”
I am that other that scares your pastor your, priest, your father
And, Rest In Peace, my own mother
It took a lifetime to discover
Me…
Straighten up my fucked up self-conceptual
I’m not straight, or gay, or trans
I guess, I’m just your average bisexual

So I traded in my childhood heroine
For Scarface and Ice Cube
At first it was just macho posturing
Another white boy with an attitude
Coming straight out the double-wide
No one knew what was buried under there
Bumping Ice Cube’s “Predator” in my mamma’s ride
And smoking Newports in the summer air
Pimp that station wagon like a Mercedes
Compensation baby
Antiheroes… maybe?
But what started out as teenage rebellion
Saved me a thousand times from going crazy
‘Cause my home was not happy
Like the Keatons, the Huxtables, or the Braidys
Hip hop saved my life literally not hyperbolically
So shout out to Lupe, Nas, and Shady
Pac and B.I.G. r.i.p.
NYC to CPT
KRS to K.Dot
Now i must proceed carefully
‘Cause I know I am just a Cream-Bob white boy from Michigan
But I did watch LA burn down
Through the eyes of O’Shea
Predator turned out not to be A Good Day
I learned about Rodney King, Dr. King,
The riots, white privilege and Malcolm
I fell asleep every night for a year
Listening to that album
And seldom would a day go by
That Geto Boys were not in my tape deck
Scarface put me up me on crooked officers
And brothers & sisters 6 feet deep
Beneath urban train wreck
These MC’s were for me teachers…
Heroes
They saved me from church & family’s xenophobia
But still they filled my young undiscerning head
With sexism and internalized homophobia

So I’m back on that playground of life
I’m trying to forge my own justice league
Some say gangster rap ain’t done shit for that
But i can’t forget what it’s done for me
I’m not kidding when I say
I sit beneath the lilac tree in the cool breeze
While Ice Cube spit hot ash
And that’s why I sought a seminary degree
Because despite a thousand sermons
He was the very first person
I heard preach about Justice
But sorry cube we’re not there yet
‘Cause this world is still full of bigotry
And in truth some of your songs
Were full of misogyny and hostility
Till this day, stealing our sisters’ dignity
And I think we need a new liturgy
Because the ancient calligraphy
Too often co-signs hatred
With the name of some divinity
I’ve ripped my broken heart free
From religion and tradition’s ugly sutures
I stand here today well aware of my past
Present in my present
But my eye is on the future
Because I have a 5 year old son
And a daughter in the first grade
And I want them to be free
To be who they want to be
When they go outside to play
But more importantly
I want for them a world where they can love
And be loved in return
A man or woman god and neighbor
But without that old fear of being burned
For eternity
So I fervently
Strive to be the Hero I am in their eyes
Because fatherhood came with great power
And responsibility
But no cape and no disguise
I’m just…
Their Hero

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