Human Torch fan art by Terry Huddleston (http://thuddleston.deviantart.com/)
Black Johnny Storm aka The Human Torch Explains Code-Switching
The catch phrase: is bullshit
thought, you'd want to hear that
from me. They sell toys off it, makes a
nice sound bite for children to yell
while winning foot races on the playground, but I don't
need it to
turn my skin into a cremation.
I am on fire by default, I wake up, on fire. I brush
my teeth, on fire, watch the news, on fire. When I
throttle back, cover myself in ash, it is for those not
comfortable with a man willing
to walk around unapologetic like the sun, because, I am
the fucking sun. Maybe I'm just the closest to a dying
star these people will ever see.
I never asked for their orbit. Never went to bed wondering
whose house of worship I would burn down
the next day, but I do know that eventually, every straw--
house and ideology look
like gasoline eventually. I know, I've been called
brash or cocky. Some approach me
with bridges, some offer their bodies in atonement
and some want to pull me into the ocean: You don't
think I know that they will all offer me a body of water
eventually? You don't think that even when I push
the flames down into my stomach,
that they don't look at me
and pray for rain?
Django Sonnet #3
Alone in the theater, it is not the first 2 hours
that bother me, I cringed at the Mandingo
fight, let the dogs ripping apart a man turn sour
in my stomach but it is the Tarantino cameo I single
out for disturbance. It is the smile, the grin
he fashions holding dynamite as if the slaves
in their cage had not been ripped from their kin,
their humanity, still more to lose if they don't behave.
In all of this, it is the laughter from my fellow
patrons, mostly white, staring at another white
actor laughing at three terrified black cellos
plucked until their ribs have run out of fight.
Afterwards I call my wife, who is prone
to anger, you should wait, it will be better at home.
William Evans is a writer, instructor and performer from Columbus, OH. He founded the Writing Wrongs Poetry Slam in 2009 and appeared on seven National Slam teams from Columbus collectively. His work can be seen online in Radius Poetry, The Legendary, Joint Literary Magazine and other publications.